Over the last two years, Joel Dommett has worked with a Dragon, a Badger, a Grandfather Clock, and a Sausage to name just a few — and as The Masked Singer UK Season 3 returns to our screens for a third series, he'll soon be adding a Snow Leopard, a Panda, and a Traffic Cone to that list!
We caught up with Joel ahead of the launch of the new series to find out what it's like to be right at the heart of the nation's favorite guessing game — and which of the celebrity detectives is emerging as a super-sleuth this year...
Joel Dommett on filming series three of 'The Masked Singer'
"The big difference this year is that we've got an audience that actually wants to be there because they love the show! In the first series we did, there was an audience but they didn't really know what the show was because it was the first one. The second series was done with COVID protocols — this is the first time where we've got about 400 people and they just love it. [Note: the series was recorded in the autumn of 2021.]
"Whole families come, and they just have the best time. It's the first time from my perspective that I'm really understanding the demographic of the show: I've seen everybody tweeting about it and all of that, but seeing all these families sat together where there's a granny, a mum and dad, and the kids all enjoying it on completely different levels is mind-blowing. It's really lovely."
Are there any changes to the format this year?
"There is a slight tweak — we have a couple of shows that have themes, which is nice. We've never done that before, and from my perspective it made it easier to write because you could do some specific intros for the theme, I thought that was really fun."
What did you make of the characters for series three?
"We've got some amazing characters, really cool. Like, from the sublime to the ridiculous — there's one called Robobunny, which is huge. Apparently, it takes three people to help them get into it, and it's literally a robot mixed with a bunny, it's so mindboggling — the whole concept is mad!
"On the other side, you've got someone like Panda who is the sweetest, smallest, tiny little package of a person, and they stay in character the whole time. They're so funny and so sweet — it's a much simpler costume than Robobunny, but so effective in a completely different way, it's great."
Have you seen a lot of people really getting into character this year, like with Dragon [who was eventually unmasked as Sue Perkins] last year?
"Yeah, because I think people are figuring out that even if you're not the greatest singer in the entire world, you can stay in the competition by really embodying whatever suit it is that you're in. Dragon was a great example of that last year, and Panda is a great example this year — although Panda's got a great voice too!
"Because it goes off the audience vote, you can really play to the kids in the audience and stay in the competition even if there's an absolute belter of a singer next to you."
Do you play along and try to work out who the singers are as the series goes on?
"I really try and guess, but I'm terrible at it — really, genuinely bad, and I'm so grateful that I host this show and I'm not on the panel! I'm so over the place with all my guesses. I listen to other people too much, so if someone says in passing that they think it's this person, that's in my head now and you make all the clues connect to your guess. That's what's great about this show, and why it's so confusing!"
Have you got more snazzy suits lined up for this series?
"We've gone pretty crazy with them! It's hard to know where to go with it now, but we've gone for stuff like this velvet number, which I think might be my favorite suit ever on the show. We might do more of that next series!
"I'm just loving it, it's a big part of the show for me — it's something I never thought I would enjoy doing, but I really love just mood boarding it all, getting all the swatches, and putting it all together!"
Which of the panellists has been the best at guessing this time?
"That's so hard, it's like picking between your children! They all have such different techniques: Davina [McCall] is very meticulous, she writes all these notes down — and then you've got Rita [Ora], who just literally throws every name at it and somehow manages to figure it out! She'll come out with all these terrible names and you're like, 'what are you doing, Rita?' and then she'll go, 'I've got one more, it might be this person" and everyone's like "oh my God, that's a great guess!'
"Jonathan [Ross] has been great, it's by far his best series — he's wearing some incredible outfits, he's more focused, he's not guessing Mary Berry every time, he's really switched on! Jonathan Ross is on fire this series — there's a spoiler for you!"
The Masked Singer UK returns on New Year's Day on ITV at 7pm.
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