The Masked Singer is pretty much what you'd guess from the title. A group of celebrities each perform songs in front of panelists and an audience, all while in costume. But how does The Masked Singer keep its contestants secret? As executive producer Craig Plestis explained to Variety, there's a lot of thought that goes into the show's costumes.
As fans who've watched the show's premiere can tell you, the "masks" in question aren't just Phantom of the Opera-style face coverings. The singers are covered in elaborate costumes from head to toe, even wearing gloves to hide any inch of skin.
And for the show's costumers, coming up with full-body costumes is tricky enough. But it's even more impressive when you think about the fact that the costumes also need to allow for the contestants to, well, sing. Their entire faces and necks need to be covered — but the sound can't be muffled under the masks, either.
"A lot of research and a lot of energy was spent on sound quality and testing out these masks," Plestis told Variety. "It's about constructing the mask so there’s not an echo; it's about making sure there’s enough screens in front of the mouth — there are certain ways to construct these masks so the voice can come out and project the voice properly."
Of course, there are still some giveaways with the costumes; the contestants' heights, for example, are fairly significant clues. But thanks to the costumes' bulkiness, even the singers' builds are fairly obscured. (It wasn't apparent from the costume, for instance, that Antonio Brown was an athlete, though some of the Hippo clues hinted at his career.)
The other part of keeping contestants' identities secret, though, is making sure they're not seen in connection with the show when they aren't on stage. The Masked Singer's premiere showed someone outside the studio wearing a giant cone around their face and a shirt that said "Don't talk to me," and it sounds like that's a show-wide policy.
According to Variety, the masks went beyond the contestants themselves, too. Apparently, family members and friends, as well as agents and family members, were also disguised while heading to and from the show's set. And the contestants weren't even picked up at their homes, instead "meeting the drivers at a neutral location" to ensure visits to the show were kept under wraps, the outlet noted.
In the age of smartphones and social media, it's pretty difficult for reality TV producers to keep things under wraps before the shows air. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, for example, always seem to get spoiled, whether it's by sources close to the show leaking info or fans spotting the contestants about town. So if The Masked Singer manages to reach its season finale without the singers' identities being revealed, it will have achieved a feat that's become more and more rare among reality series.
The Masked Singer's premise isn't exactly a highbrow one. But there's clearly a lot of effort that's gone into keeping the show's contestants a secret. And based on Plestis' statements to Variety, it sounds like the producers' efforts to keep the series spoiler-free may really work.