In a year when all of us have been wearing masks, 12 mysterious celebrities are taking to the stage sporting the most elaborate ones of all, hiding behind feathers, glitter and sequinned costumes to perform songs and reveal clues, while we try to guess who on Earth they are.
Yes – TV's wildest guessing game is back, as The Masked Singer returns for its second series in the UK.
Joel Dommett has returned for hosting duties, while the four panellists guessing along with the (masked) studio audience are returning judges Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora and Davina McCall, along with new recruit Mo Gilligan (taking the place of Ken Jeong, who's been focusing on his judging role on the US series due to travel logistics).
The format remains the same, with the celebrities facing off against each other (during the first and second week, they compete against each other in pairs). The judges (separated by COVID-friendly Perspex screens) try to guess who they are, and a celebrity is unmasked at the end of the episodes.
In the first Boxing Day episode, six contestants – Robin, Alien, Swan, Dragon, Sausage and Badger – took to the stage, with the remaining six – Seahorse, Viking, Blob, Harlequin, Bushbaby and Grandfather Clock – following in episode two.
So, who do you think they are?
Hints: As the costume may have already teased, Blob described themselves as "big, bright and loud" during their introductory VT. It was also hinted that they wear glasses IRL.
Blob sang Mark Ronson's 'Uptown Funk' for the first performance of the series.
Any more clues? Blob revealed that they had once recorded a demo for Simon Cowell.
Who is Blob? The celebrity panel named Richard Osman, Romesh Ranganathan, Taskmaster's Greg Davies and Andi Peters as possible suspects.
Viewers seem pretty convinced that Blob is Sir Lenny Henry.
Hints: From the off, Bushbaby got everyone talking about their Australian accent. They said they're a "nocturnal creature" that is "cheeky and full of mischief."
During their intro video, Bushbaby attempted a magic trick which also revealed a potato – leading the panel to question whether they might be a TV magician, or a famous chef.
Bushbaby belted out 'Delilah' by Tom Jones for their first sing-off.
Any more clues? "A lot of my wardrobe has been seen on screen," Bushbaby told the audience.
Magician Dynamo has done little to squash the rumour, cheekily responding on Twitter:
— Dynamo (@Dynamomagician) January 2, 2021
Audiences at home are wondering whether Bushbaby could be Jason Donovan, or former Dancing on Ice contestant Mark Little.
Hints: There were three lions included in Grandfather Clock's introduction video, leading many to believe that they had once played for the England football team.
"During my career I've had the good fortune of spending many of my hours looking after a great estate," they teased.
Grandfather Clock sang 'Rock Around The Clock' by Bill Haley.
Any more clues? "I've never been an academic, but I have been called a genius," they told the audience.
Who is Grandfather Clock? The judges have suspected David Seaman, Des Lynam, The Chase's Bradley Walsh, and David James.
Viewers have put forward Ian Walker (a former goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspur), Joe Hart (current goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspur), and Gary Lineker.
Hints: Self-described as "a bit of a clown" and "a bit of a joke", Harlequin gave their clues against the backdrop of a stately home.
They described the thought of going onto the Masked Singer stage as "terrifying", before saying that "you might even have to push me on there."
Harlequin performed 'Diamonds' by Rihanna for their first performance.
Any more clues? Harlequin revealed that they once played the male lead in a musical.
Who is Harlequin? The judging panel dropped a number of possible names, including Beverley Knight, Justin Timberlake, Scarlett Moffatt, and Tracy Chapman.
Those watching at home think it could be music icon Gabrielle, Sheridan Smith or Tameka Empson.
Hints: The word "King" was heavily used during Viking's intro, including a written message on a cliff (which read "King's rock") and an emphasis on Vi-king.
They were also described as "curious", and also teased: "As in my career, throughout this competition I'll be looking for a voice".
Viking did a version of 'Songbird' by Fleetwood Mac.
Any more clues? They also wear "another kind of armour".
Who is Viking? The judges have so far guessed James Blunt, Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson, A-ha star Morten Harket and Justin Lee Collins.
Viewers have put forward Game of Thrones star Kit Harington or King Gary actor Tom Davis.
Hints: Despite trying hard to disguise it, Seahorse's Northern accent was rumbled by the judges.
Any more clues? Seahorse teased that they had once stolen toilet paper from the house of someone famous.
She sang 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' by Kylie Minogue.
Who is Seahorse? Before it was revealed to be Spice Girls legend Mel B, in the second unmasking of series two, the judging panel also named Trisha Goddard, Jessica Ennis and Debbie McGee as possibilities.
Hints: Robin is "fast, light on my feet, and ready to go the distance", and added: "no-one is going to knock this robin off his perch". The clue package had the bird walking past a sign for Albert Square in a (perhaps too obvious) nod to EastEnders.
In their second appearance of the series, Robin revealed they had always known they would be a footballer, and claimed that they've played alongside some sporting legends.
Any more clues? Robin has been known "to fly without wings".
Two lies and a truth: Their real name is out of this world, habitat is more tropical than you'd think, and they started out by doing impressions.
Who is Robin? The panel speculated from the first clue package that Robin could be an athlete or boxer, but when he started to sing, they guessed he was a natural performer.
Mo suggested Bruno Mars, Davina went with Amir Khan, Rita said Dean Gaffney, and Jonathan threw out a lot of Joe suggestions including Joe Wicks, Joe Swash and, erm, Joe Pasquale, before deciding the final clue about flying without wings meant it was Noel Edmonds, who once qualified as a helicopter pilot.
On Twitter, lots of people agreed Robin is probably a boxer, with suggestions including Amir Khan, Anthony Joshua and David Haye.
Olly Murs is also a name that has come up a few times on social media – and The Voice UK judge recently responded to the rumour by exiting an interview early!
Other suggestions have included Peter Andre and Richard Blackwood, while the most popular choice among viewers was Aston Merrygold from JLS.
We agree – the "light on my feet" clues could be about football, which Merrygold plays, and JLS did duet with Westlife, singing – you guessed it – 'Flying Without Wings'.
Robin is Aston Merrygold, convince me otherwise! #MaskedSingerUK
— Michael King (@MiichaelKing) December 26, 2020
Hints: The clue package showed Alien outside in a yard that looked very similar to a Doctor Who set, and when she began talking she said "I, I, I, I" which could be a clue…
Alien has "travelled faster than the speed of light, tripping the light fantastic" to come to earth, and mentions "spectacular fashion", earth being a "tiny toy" with its population as "tiny models".
Any more clues? "I have never been invaded but I have been part of an epic battle," Alien said.
Alien sang Dua Lipa's 'Don't Start Now' during episode one.
Who is Alien? Some of the clues led the judges to wonder whether Alien is a model, and Sophie Dahl was mentioned along with Joel Dommett's wife Hannah Cooper.
As one part of the clue package looked like a crime scene, guesses included actresses who have played detectives such as Gillian Anderson and Jonathan Ross' out-there suggestion of Brenda Blethyn. Meanwhile, Mo wondered whether a wedding dress featured in the clip was a clue to Lily Allen, who got married to Stranger Things star David Harbour recently.
Twitter guesses included Paloma Faith and Ellie Goulding, but most viewers thought it was Sophie Ellis Bextor, especially since the crime scene could be a hint about her hit 'Murder on the Dancefloor'.
Alien was the first celebrity to be unmasked and many viewers were right, it was Sophie Ellis Bextor – the clue about being part of an "epic battle" being a reference to her cameo in Game of Thrones' final season.
JaackMaate's best friend, Ellie Goulding, is definitely the Alien #MaskedSingerUK
— 🔥 The God of Deception 🔥 (Commissions open) (@747xbastards) December 26, 2020
Alien... hmmm Paloma Faith? #MaskedSingerUK
— Hannah McGahan 💙 #HELLO2021 (@HanSparkle86) December 26, 2020
Crime scene - Murder on the Dancefloor? #MaskedSingerUK
— Alfie Sheldon (@AlfieS12) December 26, 2020
Hints: The beautiful black swan talked about "loyalty, strength and independence" and having the freedom to spread their wings. Swan walked through a ballroom and onto a red carpet while mentioning being "royal" and coming "full circle" from where it all began.
Any more clues? Swan's career has been "very honoured".
Swan sang a cool version of Shania Twain's 'That Don't Impress Me Much' on episode one.
Who is Swan? The panel was completely stumped, but Jonathan picked up on the clip's references to liberty and independence, suggesting Swan is someone American. Guesses included Michelle Visage, Pussycat Dolls' Kimberley Wyatt and Ashley Roberts, Ruby Wax, and, taking into account the clue about being "very honoured", former Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell.
Viewers agreed with the panel's picks of Ashley Roberts, Michelle Visage and Darcey Bussell, though we quite liked the idea of Cheryl…
It turns out, we were all wrong! Marking the third unmasking of the series, former EastEnders legend and Love Actually star Martine McCutcheon was revealed to be Swan.
Hints: Cute and cuddly Dragon – complete with rainbow tummy – was, of course, shown at a castle, but Dragon isn't scary and "just wants to be loved". The clip included the dragon knocking over dolls' houses to reveal bundles of cash, and mentions of having "two left feet", wanting to "conduct" themselves better, and of deals and promises – and that they're not usually thought of as a big character.
In Dragon's second video intro, they revealed that being in the colourful costume allowed them to perform in a way that they'd never be able to normally. It was also said that it had been a dare that first got them started in their career, and that the Dragon outfit was helping to hide a belly...
Any more clues? "I might be cute but sometimes I have a fiery temper."
Dragon sang a sweet version of Randy Newman's Toy Story theme 'You've Got A Friend In Me' during episode one.
Two lies and a truth: Their name is their biggest clue, once had an embarrassing incident with a famous shoe, knows their own IQ backwards.
Who is Dragon? Davina thought that Dragon sounded like a woman when singing, but guesses from the panel ranged from Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud and Homes Under The Hammer's Dion Dublin, as well as Sandi Toksvig.
Later guesses have included Katherine Ryan and Lily Savage.
Masked Singer fans reckon it was either Michelle Visage or Courtney Act behind the mask (and the Drag Race and Celebrity Big Brother star has since responded to this rumour).
Everyone agreed, however, that whoever Dragon is – they are utterly adorable.
Dragon has to be Michelle Visage #MaskedSingerUK
— Karlos International (@Karlos_Int) December 26, 2020
— Edward Vickers 🐝 (@edwardgvickers) December 26, 2020
Hints: Sausage – wrapped in newspaper, with chips, of course – was filmed at the seaside and described themself as "a little bit of everything". Sausage took a trip to Billie's Burger Bar, with a menu which had the words 'Because We Want To' written across the bottom – an obvious nod to Billie Piper's chart hit of that name? Sausage also likes glam, and describes theirself as a bit of a "silly sausage".
Any more clues? "My performances are something of a balancing act."
Sausage impressed the audience with a version of Rag 'n' Bone Man's 'Skin' during episode one.
Two lies and a truth: Hair colour is certified by law, someone once said they look and sound like a pop star, career is owed to a horse.
Who is Sausage? Panel guesses included Maya Jama, Billie Piper, Ella Henderson, Meghan Trainor and Stacey Solomon, while Jonathan got some boos from the audience for suggesting former MP Edwina Currie.
After hearing about the hair colour clue, Sheridan Smith was put forward as a guess.
Meanwhile, guesses on Twitter have included Zoella, Stacey Solomon, Catherine Tate, Emeli Sandé and Jessie J.
I’ve got a strange feeling that it’s Stacey Solomon#MaskedSingerUK
— DylanJ1402 🎉 (@J1402Dylan) December 26, 2020
Billie's Burger Bar is where Lauren worked on Catherine Tate.
Comedian, actor, presenter - it's Catherine Tate. firming that one. #MaskedSingerUK
— Matty I D (@MattyID) December 26, 2020
Ooh I’m thinking Stacey Solomon now for Sausage #MaskedSingerUK
— 🌿 Gucci Harry🌿 (@HouseOfLaurels) December 26, 2020
Calling it, Sausage is "Emile Sande" #MaskedSingerUK
— Gdisc Karaoke (@GDisckaraoke) December 26, 2020
Jessie J, she's from Margate, do it like a dude ......the clues are all there.....#MaskedSingerUK
— Malayneee (@marcylayne1) December 26, 2020
Hints: Biker jacket-wearing Badger was filmed fixing a motorbike while chatting about being used to "being hidden" and "anonymous", and being able to be out on the streets surrounded by people with no-one knowing their identity.
In their second appearance, Badger said they were shy.
Any more clues? Badger sees things "like a virtual world".
Badger sang the classic 'Feeling Good' – while it was originally recorded by Nina Simone, Badger's version had more similarities to Muse's cover.
Two lies and a truth: Good at dodging furniture, often found in green when working, dancing is something they're known for (strictly speaking).
During the first intro package, Davina wondered whether Badger could be The Stig from Top Gear. The panel was blown away by Badger's vocals, and completely stumped as to who it could be – but suggestions included David Myers of Hairy Bikers fame, actor Andy Serkis, Jay Kay from Jamiroquai, and Idris Elba.
Later guesses have included Alan Titchmarsh and a rather hilarious mention of Alan Partridge from Rita Ora.
Good Morning Britain presenter Ben Shephard has responded to rumours that he could be Badger, choosing to remain coy.
Twitter detectives loved Badger and thought that the anonymity clues could be a reference to Daft Punk, or a guitarist in a band or even drummer Dom Howard from Muse – while the biker references led to motorcycle racer Carl Fogarty's name being thrown into the mix.
However, many viewers ignored the clues entirely and thought Badger sounded a lot like Will Young…
I think Badger is Dom Howard from Muse:
Anonymous-often drummers get forgotten/or put at the back
Singing Muse Version of feeling good
Muse had an album called Simulation Theory (virtual)@MaskedSingerUK @RitaOra @ThisisDavina @wossy @MoTheComedian @joeldommett #MaskedSingerUK
— Emma (@emsmusicalmind) December 26, 2020
IDEC who Badger is, he has PIPES FOR DAYS #MaskedSingerUK
— Tia Owen (@BlazingOptimist) December 26, 2020
Is this the guitarist from a band? Would make the anonymity thing make sense and they have an unreal voice #MaskedSingerUK
— Hayley Minn (@hayleyminn) December 26, 2020
Missed all the clues but I know badger is Will Young #MaskedSingerUK
— Billie (@billster__) December 26, 2020
Carl foggerty, loads of motorbike references #maskedsingeruk
— david king (@jambomiller79) December 26, 2020
The Masked Singer airs on Saturday nights on ITV.
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