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The masked singer: 7 big questions, answered

The year is only two months old, but she already has an excellent candidate for her strangest debut on television. The masked singer, Fox's adaptation of a South Korean reality show about celebrities playing pop hits dressed in ridiculous costumes.

If you have not watched it yet, the two-hour finale will air on Wednesday, Feb. 27 on Fox, and there will remain three singers, though they're still known only by "Peacock", "Monster" And "Bee". the honor of the really ridiculous outfits worn by unidentified celebrities. Internet being what it is, many people have understood with a reasonable degree of certainty who these three singers were, but I dare not ruin the pleasure.

The masked singer certainly has the look of a show that no one really expected to become so big. Indeed, once the Internet searches have largely decrypted who is who, the series has lost some of his pleasure for me, especially since it never had quite another thing after the 12 competitors and their weird costumes were introduced. (For reasons that I can not understand, The masked singer is a American idolafter abandoning the musical duel format of the Korean series.) But it is also difficult to over-criticize with a series that has given the world such a magnificent thing.

The masked singer

The monster gets up.

Still, I have so many questions: how were these costumes chosen? How did the show keep its secret after producing all its first season last summer in front of a studio audience? And was all this really filmed during a long weekend of sweating in a high school gym, as I had already speculated?

To answer these questions – and more! – The executive producer of the series, Craig Plestis, telephoned with me on the phone. Here are seven mysteries of The masked singer, resolved.

1) The series secrecy commitment was so intense that almost everyone on the set was in costume

I had not thought that in a city like Los Angeles, anyone from The masked singerThe audience can determine who is one of the masked celebrities on which managers, agents or publicists rely when recording, not to mention friends and family. But Plestis and his team did it, and they not only encouraged celebrities, but also their entourage to stay costumed from the moment they left the house to go to the studio. (Now let's take a brief moment to imagine the entourage of entourage having to dress in costume because Johnny Drama was competing in the series.)

Unfortunately, the show did not prompt all the respective celebrity trainings to dress up with costumes having thematic links to celebrity costumes. It's a shame, because it would not have bothered me that LA is suddenly filled with monsters.

"Our security team was almost as large as our production team, and you have to add it all to a secret complex in which we keep people, and to the security guards that guide those people. [from the compound to the stage]Plestis said, adding that it was the guards' duty to make sure none of the stars in the series had left their trailers without a mask.

Other security measures put in place to reinforce the secrecy around the identity of celebrities included asking drivers to follow long, diverted routes between the masked stars' homes and the studio, in order to evacuate any queues. possible.

Plestis says that these measures will be intensified only during season two, now that people know that the show exists.

2) The series was filmed for about a month in the summer of 2018

The masked singer

The weirdest show of young talents of all time.

Part of The masked singerThe charm is how crazy it can be. And although its production cycle was much longer than my assumption of "a weekend in a gym," it was much shorter than most TV production cycles: The masked singer spent about a month filming his 10 hours of competition (spread over nine episodes). (Most networked reality shows have production cycles of at least a few months, not to mention prolonged post-production.)

This compressed production cycle has also helped to protect the secrets of the show. At the moment someone was quite aware of The masked singerThe existence of perhaps trying to spoil him, he had long since stopped filming.

"The luxury of doing season one was that it was not considered by anyone. Even when it was not visible to anyone, we really spent a lot of time and energy keeping things secret, "said Plestis.

3) Several costumes were redone during the season to help singers see and breathe

Prior to the start of the production season, selected celebrities were presented with a series of potential costumes – 20 in total. Each competitor then selected his favorites and the costume department of the series began making selected designs a reality.

However, during the first shooting season, these costumes had to be redesigned here and there, sometimes to move – if you watch the first episodes, you can see dancers and machinists second from time to time help the costumed celebrities to sneak out of the scene – but more often during visibility and for what Plestis calls "filtration," meaning "breathe."

Because the singers had only one shot at each performance – the show did not shoot several shots – it was important that their costumes allow them maximum oxygenation and visibility. After all, said Plestis, the producers did not want singers to faint or fall off the stage. And yes, I think it's good that no celebrity was hurt during the filming of the series, but I'm not sure I can say that I wanted nobody to fall from the stage …

4) The costumes also required adjustments to make the voice of the singers as comprehensible as possible – especially the monsters

Just ensuring that singers are heard – so viewers and judges of the show can guess the voice behind the chase – has proved more difficult than expected. "We had to make sure we had the best vocal ability with these masks," said Plestis. And this process took a surprising time, especially for Monster.

The giant cylinder at the heart of Monster's costume eventually amplified everything the star inside the suit said and sang, leaving a strange, resonant sound in the first suit tests. The costume had to be redrawn several times before it could get a consistent sound level, said Plestis.

But that's true for all costumes and Plestis says a lot of what The masked singerThe season 1 production team helped them design costumes.

5) Plestis is not sad that the Internet has made very good assumptions

Another great lesson the Masked singer People learned from the first season: how to give viewers fair cues without giving up the game.

If you watched the first two episodes of the show, you may have noticed that the very first part revealed the respective heights and not burned of the six singers presented, while the second did not. (The filterers sent to the critics before the start of the season still included this information, which suggests to me that the producers did not realize until later, what a gift it was.)

It's part of the process for the upcoming show, Plestis said, and at the heart of what the show has learned during the first season, namely that it's important to give good clues to the public, but these clues can not give either. too far.

However, admitted Plestis, when it comes to Terry Bradshaw, the costumed singer dubbed Deer, there are only a few things the show can do to disguise someone with such a distinct way of laughing and laughing. speak.

In the end, says Plestis, it is difficult to prevent internet detectives from doing what they do. What is more important to him, is to preserve the feeling of a zany party taking place on the screen every week, for the majority of viewers who are not jumping immediately on Twitter to try to decipher who is who.

6) Recruiting celebrities was not difficult, but some stars declined to see what the season would look like.

"We were very lucky that everyone who participated in the show had the idea instantly," Plestis said. "We had an amazing sizzling reel cut, and we used images of [other versions of the show] around the world, explaining the process, explaining how the show works. "

Nevertheless, some celebrities that Plestis and his team approached were intrigued but did not want to risk their image in a series that could make them ridiculous without any real benefit. But now that The masked singer is a success, these celebrities might be more interested in additional seasons.

Plestis also did not exclude the possibility of making small single episodes or special series of guest stars if the big celebrities have a taste of Masked singer fever. The original Korean series, for example, saw Ryan Reynolds make an outstanding appearance while on the set. Deadpool 2 advertising circuit. But until now, the series has no immediate plans for such cameos. (Although it's not like Plestis is saying, "Oh, hey, Tom Hanks is going to give up for the second season," so who really knows?)

7) These big revelations are not as wild as they are shown on TV

The masked singer

You've covered this article in depth, so I can admit that I think the bee deserves to win and that I seem to have strong opinions on this stupid and stupid show.

Every episode of The masked singer was filmed in a big theater, filled with people who, all presumably, could spoil the identity of one of the singers through an informal tweet or bulletin board message. And yet, the spoilers of the first season have usually never materialized. How on earth and Plestis Masked singer team manage this?

Confidentiality agreements for all members of the public were involved, but the show also sent much of the audience to the venue before the final unveiling of each episode, leaving behind only a small team of people working for the series or attached to this week's mysterious celebrity. Each revelation therefore took place in front of a skeleton audience.

The last detangling you see on TV is carefully done through a judicious editing. Indeed, many members of the public watching in shock and surprise were not even present when the singers finally emerged under their heads of elaborate costumes. This can contribute to the feeling of overwork and nervousness of the assembly. (I know, I know – if you can not trust The masked singer, who can you trust?)

But finally, the secrets of the series remained secret, at the end of the day, thanks to people eager to preserve the pleasure. At one point, all Plestis could do was ask members of his audience to play and hope they listened.

"Fortunately, they did it," he says. Now, we'll see if this continues in season two.

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