The Masked Singer star thought Alien might really be his wife Hannah!
Joel Dommett is the man with the sharpest gags and the sharpest suits on Saturday night TV right now, as host of ITV's The Masked Singer.
While he might be closer to the secret stars than anyone else, he's just as in the dark as the rest of us when it comes to working out who's hiding inside those costumes.
We chatted to Joel Dommett, 35, about his biggest surprises so far on The Masked Singer...
Davina guessed that Alien might be your wife Hannah Cooper - how did Hannah react to that?
JD: "She absolutely loved it! She is very much enjoying the publicity, let me tell you that. The mad thing about it was that as soon as she said it, I was like '...I don’t know whether it isn't her?'. There was a very odd moment where I felt quite rude, because I sort of had to look Sophie Ellis-Bextor [who was unmasked as Alien] up and down and be like, 'is that my wife's thighs?'. It was very strange. I got off stage and I texted Hannah, 'how's it going? It's a really great show, really enjoying it today', and I didn’t get a reply for ages. Usually she replies straight away, and I was like, 'oh my God, it might be her?'. I really genuinely thought it was her! There’s a Finnish version where the host’s wife was in one of the costumes, so it has happened!"
What do you think is the secret of the show's success?
Joel Dommett: "It's so wildly different, and it's arrestingly bold, and I think we've needed it for a while. I think television gets stuck in ruts a lot of the time, and it's scary to think outside of the box with these huge Saturday night TV shows. Full credit to ITV for putting everything on the line and putting a real budget behind such a mad show! The entire family can watch it - it's nice to have a show that brings everybody together, especially on lockdown!"
Have you watched many of the other international versions?
JD: "I watch as many of them as I possibly can on YouTube! It's really interesting how different it is. Again, credit to ITV, they've really thought about it a lot and put a lot of money behind it. A lot of the other ones just don't look as good - the guests they have on the American one are incredible, but I don't think the sets or the costumes are as good. I think we can be really proud here that it's one of the best versions in the entire world."
You stand closer to the contestants on The Masked Singer than anyone else - do you pick up any extra hints?
JD: "I can fully tell you truthfully - it doesn't help! I am so bad at this game. I am just so glad that I'm the host and not a judge, because my guesses would be worse than Rita's!"
Some viewers have been using your height compared to the contestants as an extra clue...
JD: "I'm going to throw everyone off next year by wearing a Cuban heel! But what's very funny about the costumes is that you don't know where the head is - you have no idea where in the costume they are!"
Which unmasking on The Masked Singer was the biggest surprise for you?
JD: "I know there's been people like Kelis and Mel B and Cee-Lo Green, but genuinely, it was when Glenn Hoddle was the Grandfather Clock! Because it's such a mad idea that Glenn Hoddle would be doing a show like this, it was the same with Teddy Sheringham [Tree] last year. And he was so good, and all of the producers said that more than anyone, really, he really got into it and he was a pleasure to work with. The England manager from when I was a kid was stood next to me the whole time - mad!"
Is it weird for you having to interview someone whose identity you didn't even know until they were unmasked?
JD: "Yeah, it's really bizarre, because often I'm just like, 'I can't believe that they've been stood next to me!'. Especially in the first series, I could touch them more. With Duck, we interacted and we hugged a lot and then when it was revealed to be Skin from Skunk Anansie I was like 'oh my God!'. I loved Skunk Anansie when I was a kid, they were the first gig I ever went to. I was like, 'I cannot believe I’ve been hugging Skin from Skunk Anansie!'. Also, I was holding Katherine Jenkins's [Octopus in series one] hand a lot - she used to get really nervous and so she would hold my hand when it was a decision. I was like, 'I can’t believe I've been holding her hand, it's mad!'"
Your suits have been a big hit with viewers - do you enjoy getting dressed up?
JD: "I love them - it's such a massive part of it for me! I've genuinely always really love putting it all together. The designer of the suits, Joshua Kane, loves the frilly shirts and bold colours and all these amazing accessories. It's fun to take his wild ideas and my boring ones and put them together to make a good compromise. What’s really nice now is that they trust me with it a little bit, so I don’t need to run things past everyone quite as much. His suits are so amazing, they really are, and every time you put it on you really feel like it’s Saturday night, you know? We've got some great ones coming up!"
The Masked Singer continues on ITV.
Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com (opens in new tab), who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.
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