FOX’s super popular guessing game show “The Masked Singer” returns for a ninth season and has some exciting changes. There’s a new game play feature added and an all new stage. One thing, (or four things) remain the same that is the sleuthing panelists. Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger return for another season. Along with highly popular host Nick Cannon. During our set visit, we witnessed Cannon’s popularity first-hand from fans who repeatedly screamed and shouted at him throughout the show taping. There were a lot of “I love you” directed to Cannon from fans. The Battle Royal game play is also included in this new season as well.
Hollywood Junket got the chance to join real-life super fans for one day of filming. “The Masked Singer” fans come from all over Southern California to watch a taping in Hollywood. We met one fan who drove almost three hours to be there. The boarding process was slightly different this season. Once the large audience finished the check-in process and rapid Covid Testing, they are loaded onto a ‘Masked Singer party bus equipped with monitors playing various clips from past seasons of “The Masked Singer” contestants and winners. This bus delivered the audience to the actual studio lot which is about one mile away.
Upon landing outside the lot, there’s more waiting to be done. Approximately one and a half hours until showtime! Anxious fans stood by while munching on snacks and sipping on coffee and water during the down time, along with chatting with other fans. Hey, it’s the only place where we can all join in conversation about our enjoyment of the show without getting awkward looks from outsiders who just don’t get it!
Once inside the newly re-arranged set, a few things stand out. The stage is bigger and takes up the entire center of the sound stage. The now mostly standing audience surrounds the stage in sections of four groups. The addition of past Masks have also been added to the borders of the set. One previous Mask made a cameo appearance during the show taping that we attended. You’ll have to tune-in this season to find out which Mask it is!
“The Masked Singer” season 9, like season 8, will have themed episodes with two masks being revealed at the end of each episode. There were three performances the night we were in attendance which was a night at the movies WB themed episode.
The major change this season is that the sleuth panelists have the power to actually SAVE, that’s right! Save a mask using a new feature added to the game called “Ding Dong Keep it On” bell.
When a panelist – that’s either Robin, Nicole, Jenny, or Ken, decide to ring this bell on a Mask before taking it off, that Mask will be saved from their reveal and get to stay and compete for another week.
The bell is a large gold bell that hangs up high off to the side in the sleuthing panelist area. One super fan told us that the bell could only be used three times. And, it had already been used twice before the taping of that particular episode started. Well…guess what? The bell was used a third time during the episode taping that we attended.
The masks in this episode sang songs from Warner Bros. (WB) movies. “The Masked Singer” has announced some of the masks for the new season that include: Axodil, Fairy, Gargoyle, Gnome, Medusa, Mustang, Dandelion, Fairy, Doll, and we saw Gentleman(tis) during our set visit!
Some of the Masks we saw in action during filming included an edgy rocker who gave hints and clues that he is an icon from perhaps an ’80s band. Some guesses included: Iggy Pop, Gene Simmons, Sebastian Bach. Ken Jeong’s unpopular guess was Austin Butler! Lol!
The other two Masks could be related because one of them was dressed as a Dandelion and the other was a Mantis insect. Guesses from the sleuthing panel included: Sarah McLachlan, Kevin Bacon, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Springsteen.
The clues were presented in pre-taped videos like usual, and one physical clue is brought out onto the stage by a Man in Black. Some of the physical clues included: a guitar case that read “King Status,” red glittery slippers (like Dorthy’s from “The Wizard of Oz”), and a film reel. Other clues given were: Billboard, Loose, Broadway, Silver Screen, and one Mask’s career was launched from portraying a historic figure. Other clues were that one Mask performed with Elton John, Madonna, and Sting!
During the Dandelion Mask’s performance, Jenny said she forgot this was a game show because she wasn’t trying to guess who it was. Jenny was so caught up in the performance. Dandelion Mask, by the way, sounds like a pro singer.
After all three Masks performed, the audience voted. The lowest vote got unmasked. The other two Masks have to compete in a Battle Royale where they sing the same song in a different style. The sleuthing panelists vote for their favorite, and that’s the Mask who continues in the competition for another week. The losing Mask got unmasked, UNLESS the Mask is Saved with the use of the Ding Dong Keep it On bell. As stated earlier, we did see this bell get used during the taping. So, viewers will definitely be excited to see some Masks get Saved this season!
“The Masked Singer” season 9 premieres Wednesday, February 13 on FOX network.
Article updated February 10, 2023