The Masked Dancer stars have spilled all on the brand new series ahead of its launch this Saturday on ITV.
The new series, taking place over one week, will see celebrity contestants perform unique dances, whilst covered from head to toe in extravagant, colourful costumes and face masks leaving the viewers and star panel to guess their identities.
Oti Mabuse takes up a seat alongside Jonathan Ross, Mo Gilligan and Davina McCall as they all watch closely to see who knows their sashays from their pliés. Hosting this most unusual of dance parties will be Joel Dommett.
The twelve mystery celebs appearing on the series are Frog, Knickerbocker Glory, Viper, Rubber CHicken, Zip, Squirrel, Beetroot, Carwash, Beagle, Llama, Scarecrow and Flamingo.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's launch, Davina says: "It’s still got your favourite elements of The Masked Singer, it’s still the ultimate game of Guess Who? Only this time there’s a slight change in terms of how we can guess. There’s no guessing by voice. With The Masked Singer, if you knew that person you could guess by voice alone. There are a lot of times on this where we’re close but no cigar or a name has been mentioned once and then not mentioned again and it was in fact that person.
"It is much harder but that’s what makes it fun in a funny kind of way. With the last series of The Masked Singer I remember seeing a lot of people had guessed correctly -which is still fun because it’s nice to be right -but on this it will keep you going night after night which is the fun part of it I think. For the younger members of the audience who don’t necessarily know many celebrities, just trying to guess if it’s a man or a woman in this show is a big part of it."
Agrees Mo: "It is like The Masked Singer 2.0 –so if you think you’re good at The Masked Singer, you’re not going to be very good at The Masked Dancer which is a good thing. It’s a new show, it’s got some of the same things that you love about the other show BUT it’s a little bit harder."
When it comes to trying to identify the celebs, Davina says viewers need to be on the lookout for clues at every turn.
"They’re in the backdrop, they’re on the costumes, there’s one person who has got apples everywhere... or they might be cherries and we can’t figure out at all what the relevance is. It must be a big clue though," she reveals. "We love all these added layers of clues. Me and Mo –we’ve got no idea what’s going on at all! Oti has started strong. And Jonathan has got us all second guessing ourselves.
"I love the guessing, I like trying to piece it all together and I like going back through my notebook. I recommend everyone get themselves a Masked Dancer notebook –you will fill it with clues. I’ve got pages and pages. Mo still writes nothing. Still! Honestly, it would give me such anxiety but somehow, he always pulls something out of the bag."
Adds Jonathan: "There are more clues and not just in the packages but also there are clues in the music they’re dancing to and in the props on stage, in the designs on the screens behind them and on what the dancers around them are wearing and on what they’re wearing. The costumes on some of them change every night. For example, if you’re watching Beagle –look out for the badges on his arm."
Meanwhile Oti says: "I’m not looking for high kicks and legs and splits, I’m looking for the clues. I’m looking to find out whether I can guess who the person is and the nice thing about this is that everything is a surprise.
"If one of the characters is coming out as a Beetroot you are never going to expect in a million years that someone can dance in a Beetroot suit and yet they are coming out and doing the most incredible things.
"I’m not looking for anything particular but just enjoying the show and every time the characters exceed my expectations and get better from show to show.
"Whether it's their dancing skills, their dancing styles, their choice of music -which is so important because the songs that they dance to mean something to them. When you get to relate to them and get to know them that way and they are dressed as they are -it’s just bonkers and I love it."
And despite the big costumes, Oti says that many contestants still managed to pull out some impressive routines.
"My mind has been blown," she enthuses. "You just don’t expect that level of dance so it’s really hard to guess who these people are because they are known for other things, not just their dancing skills. You don’t expect to see a Carwash doing backflips in a huge costume, it's crazy but it happens."
Continues Davina: "I will say that about mid-way through the series...something just happens where everybody just ramps it up.
"I felt like all that coaching and practising and work they’d put in and strength that they’d been gaining suddenly meant we had this set of extraordinary performances that were extremely emotional and left us all blown away, clutching our chests and saying ‘wow that was really beautiful.’
"They really moved us, just with movement and even with a massive mask. I think that’s really clever so well done to all of the performers."
"What’s really nice about this dancing one is that you have characters like Knickerbocker Glory who is wearing heels!" adds Mo, "And I’ve seen Knickerbocker Glory run down a ramp in heels. These are the lengths people are going to in a costume. That is very hard in itself – in heels and running around"
The Masked Dancer begins on Saturday, 29 May at 7PM on ITV and ITV Hub and continues nightly throughout the week.
Picture: ITV/Bandicoot TV