What started as a Masked Singer spoof on The Ellen Degeneres Show is now a full-fledged competition show. FOX's The Masked Dancer, which premiered Dec. 27, features 10 disguised celebrities dancing in costume as judges Ken Jeong, Paula Abdul, Brian Austin Green, and Ashley Tisdale try their best to guess who's under the mask. It may prove difficult, as the contestants could be just about anyone: collectively, they have 20 Emmys, 20 Grammy nominations, five New York Times best-selling titles, four Olympic gold medals, and three Broadway show appearances. Here's everything else we know so far.
Masked Dancer Clues
Because the show's creators knew viewers might have a hard time guessing the Masked Dancer contestants' identities, the format is slightly different from The Masked Singer. "It is harder. This show is harder," Green told journalists at Fox's Television Critics Association event, per CinemaBlend. "The clue packages, there's a lot more information in them." The clues will also be in the costumes, stage decorations, and choreography. Additionally, they've added a clue segment called "Word Up" in which you'll be able to hear the dancer's real voice.
Masked Dancer Theories
This new way of delivering clues has already led to some early Masked Dancer theories, with fans guessing everyone from Taylor Swift to Jordin Sparks.
Cotton Candy has a pastel palette and is described as "someone sweet as candy," leading to early guesses like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Amber Riley. Another Instagram video shows that Cotton Candy dances with an aerial hoop, leading to theories that she could be an Olympic gymnast, like Simone Biles, or singer Pink, who's known for performing aerial stunts.
However, Cotton Candy's recent clue package said she was “an all-around whiz kid." There were also images of gold three-pound hand weights, cupcakes decorated with eyelashes and lips, and the word "B!RD" in a cloud. Her "Word Up" clue was "primetime." This led some to guess that Cotton Candy is Olympian Gabby Douglas, and the weights are her three gold medals. Ken Jeong guessed Julianne Hough, and Good Housekeeping pointed out that Cotton Candy responded immediately when host Craig Robinson said, "Hey Julianne!"
"I'll be home, not alone, for Christmas. You can count on me," read Cricket's early clue. Jonathan Taylor Thomas was in the 1998 film I’ll Be Home for Christmas, while the Home Alone reference suggests Macaulay Culkin. Still, others have guessed Bruno Mars and referenced his old "Count on Me" song.
His Episode 1 clues included a Las Vegas jackpot of $90,210,000 and gold bar icons on a slot machine. Cricket said that “when it came to love, it always felt like I was getting Punk’d.” He also noted that he "never thought I would do a show like this. Me, Cricket, dancing? No way. But I've always bet on myself." The judges guessed Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carrey, and Ian Ziering. Kutcher was the host of Punk'd, while Ziering was on The Apprentice and of course, 90210.
Disco Ball's clue said that "this fast and furious disco ball loves to breakdance!" This led to fans guessing Vin Diesel, Ludacris, or Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift star Lucas Black. But on the Dec. 27 premiere episode, Disco Ball was eliminated and revealed to be Tracy Lauren Marrow, aka the rapper Ice-T.
Marrow told Entertainment Weekly that he only had two hours to learn his dance and was more focused on not toppling over with the heavy costume head. "I threw all the choreography out the window," he said. "I just don't want to bust my ass on national television like that. That would be the nightmare."
Exotic Bird's brief preview showed she's covered in bright colors and is into Latin dance moves, which could hint at her background. Both Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have worn feathered outfits during performances, and both have been nominated for (or won) Grammys.
But Exotic Bird's clue package said that she's "an athlete" who has been competitive since she was a teenager. She was "lucky enough to win big pretty quickly" at 17, but feels like she's been attacked a lot for her relationships and for being "a big bird." Her visual clues included a glitter gun, perfume, and a carton of eggs labeled "best by '07."
The judges guessed Khloé Kardashian and Mariah Carey, while fans have guessed Exotic Bird is Venus Williams or American Idol star Jordin Sparks. Sparks was on American Idol in 2007 and won the show was she was 17.
Hammerhead sports a big "Hammer Time" necklace and gold and silver grills. His early clue said that he "bought someone I love a car for Christmas and it Jingle Bell ROCKed." Naturally, everyone guessed the dancer is Dwayne Johnson.
Hammerhead's Episode 1 clues said he's a workaholic who has always had to make things happen. He mentioned that becoming famous too quickly changed him and made him unhappy. Now, he's "pumped the brakes" and is "visiting everything I missed out on." His "Word Up" clue was "dramatic," and his visual clues included a burger with a soup spelling out "talk" and a "Joe" mug.
The judges guessed Joe Jonas, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne. But fans on Reddit are pretty sure Hammerhead is Saturday Night Live actor Mikey Day or Jersey Shore personality Vinny G. Per Good Housekeeping, Vinny bought his mom a Jeep for Christmas last year and has danced with the Las Vegas Chippendales.
Ice Cube is decked out in denim and blues. While it's pretty on the nose, some assumed he had to be either Vanilla Ice or Ice Cube. But Ice Cube was eliminated on the Jan. 6 episode, and was revealed to be Bill Nye.
Miss Moth's early clue said, "All I want for Christmas is you...with a side of salt," leading to guesses that she's a culinary show personality or Cheryl James from Salt-N-Pepa. But her Episode 2 clue package included clothes everywhere, tabloids, and the Capitol building. She said that "moths don't seek out the spotlight; it draws us in whether we want it or not. That's the story of my life." She also said that she was a regular moth until one day she was "making headlines with the president," and that she had a "traumatic experience" but now uses her fame to "shine a light on the things I care about most."
The judges guessed Megyn Kelly, Monica Lewinsky, and Marla Maples, who was the second wife of Trump. Per Insider, Miss Moth is probably Monica Lewinsky. She was thrust into the spotlight after the Bill Clinton scandal in the '90s and now runs a successful handbag business, which could be what the clothes allude to. She's also stated that knitting is what kept her calm, and Miss Moth holds her knife and fork like knitting needles. Lewinsky now uses her platform to speak out against cyberbullying.
Sloth is a colorful creature who "has a very special love for...The Nutcracker," according to his early clue. That could literally mean he has a background in ballet, or even that he's someone who's known for, well, getting into fights.
His Episode 2 clue package mentioned that he had a bad accident when he was a kid. People said he was "just a Mickey Mouse operation," but now he uses his platform to "inspire a whole new generation to never stop chasing your dreams." However, he added: "no need to call the feds, OK?"
Sloth's visual clues included a D.R. name tag, toothpaste labeled "Glee," and a laboratory. Sloth also mentioned he moves fast.
The judges guessed Matthew Morrison, Kevin Federline, and Jason Derulo, while one fan guessed that Sloth is John Stamos, who played a dentist on Glee. Others guessed that he's actually Grant Gustin, who has been on both Glee and The Flash.
Based on the amount of promos centered on Tulip, she may be one of the dancers who gets pretty far in the competition. It's difficult to tell who she could be, but guesses have included tap dancer Chloe Arnold and comedian Liza Koshy.
In her clue package, Tulip said she used to be teased all the time, so she found a "new, sunnier" place to call home where "people were chill with the stranger things about me." She ended it by saying, "We're all in this together." The visual clues included the number 11, an acrobatic club photo, and an "AL to DC" bus ticket.
The judges guessed Millie Bobby Brown for the Stranger Things reference, as well as Addison Rae, Charli D’Amelio, and Ariana Grande. But fans on Reddit think Tulip is Dance Moms star Mackenzie Ziegler. She was part of the Abby Lee Dance Company — hence "AL to DC" — and has spoken in the past about being bullied.
Zebra's early clue said that their favorite song is "Feliz Navidad," so some have guessed Mario Lopez. But Zebra's clue package hinted that he's someone older who "you haven't seen in a while." He's "fallen out of the limelight" and grew up in a tough neighborhood. He mentioned "new kids moving onto my block" and that there was only "one direction to go: up." He also wanted to "become larger than life" so that "the president knows my name." He wore a bronze Olympic medal with the number three on it, drove a red car labelled "os," and showed the number 11.
The judges noted that there were a lot of boy band references, but guessed Ricky Martin or Pitbull because they perceived Zebra had an accent. Fans meanwhile think the Zebra is boxer Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya fights in an orthodox stance — "OS" — and has won 11 world titles.
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