At first glance, viewers of the Season 4 premiere of The Masked Singer may have been extremely confused when host Nick Cannon was talking to what appeared to be a live studio audience full of people not wearing masks.
Turns out, it’s all arranged to appear that way, but rest assured that the show is just going through extreme lengths to make viewers forget that COVID-19 is still here.
There is no live studio audience this season of ‘The Masked Singer.’
The Fox series has managed to pull off something very interesting when it comes to television shows filming and airing during this global pandemic. In between performances and feedback from the panel of judges, the camera cuts to reaction shots from in-person audience members. Here’s the trick: The footage of the audience is from past seasons.
Executive producer Craig Plestis confirmed in a September interview with Yahoo that this season of The Masked Singer would definitely have a different vibe to it.
“You’ll see a lot of differences this season too with the virtual reality stuff, with the animation, with adding America’s votes — since we couldn’t have a full audience of 300 people, though we’re utilizing some audience footage from past seasons to get that audience feel,” he said.
He also added that sounds like clapping will be augmented similarly to what professional sports and fellow reality show Dancing with the Stars are doing right now. Host Nick Cannon, the judges, and the contestants specifically do not acknowledge these changes or COVID-19 during the broadcast.
The goal of ‘The Masked Singer’ is to make viewers feel as normal as possible.
There is a reason why Nick Cannon and the other members of The Masked Singer cast are keeping quiet when it comes to COVID-19. The show’s producers intentionally instructed them to act this way, so much so that it will appear as though the show is not following proper protocol.
Fox Entertainment’s President of Alternative Entertainment and Specials Rob Wade spoke with Deadline about how the show navigated COVID-19 challenges. “You’ll notice that the audience will feel like it’s behind the judges. The one thing I’m expecting is for people to say is ‘How come they’re not COVID friendly? The audience aren’t wearing masks.’ Through various quarantining and various camera tricks, we’ve managed to do it.”
Deadline also reports that the “audience” was a small group of people who stood behind the panelists Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger.
Fans were confused about the live audience during the Season 4 premiere.
When Season 4 of The Masked Singer premiered on Fox, fans took to Twitter to voice their confusion over the appearance of a live audience. One fan wrote, "They have a full studio audience? When was this taped?"
The official The Masked Singer Twitter account reached out to many viewers confused with the set up and explained that it’s just some television magic. They tweeted, “It's called Masked Singer magic,” alongside a winking face emoji.
Catch new episodes of The Masked Singer on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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