The Masked Singer has become one of the most popular and unique reality TV singing competitions. Fans tune in week after week to see celebrities perform in disguise so they can have the chance to guess the singer’s identity before a big reveal. But what really goes on behind those masks? A common question among The Masked Singer viewers is whether the celebrities are lip-syncing or really performing live as advertised. Thankfully, the contestants have provided answers — and even some proof. Here’s what we know.
Are contestants on ‘The Masked Singer’ lip-syncing or singing live?
It may be hard to believe that the contestants can sing clearly under those elaborate costumes. In the past, The Masked Singer fans have theorized that songs are pre-recorded for performances. However, the cast and crew have all sworn The Masked Singer does not allow lip-syncing.
Back in January, Todrick Hall — who was disguised as the Bull in The Masked Singer Season 6 — shared proof to back up that claim. He posted a video from a rehearsal where he had to fall from a platform while singing. Viewers could hear Hall’s voice crack a bit as he fell.
“For anyone who asks if we lipsync on @maskedsingerfox here is your answer lol,” Hall captioned the video. “Timing how to fall mid-sentence to avoid millions of people hearing this was a STRUGGLE, but I figured it out though!”
Other stars of The Masked Singer have also shared their experiences with singing live on the show. For example, season 3 winner Kandi Burruss (a.k.a. Night Angel) revealed in a YouTube video that she was surprised to learn she wouldn’t be lip-syncing on The Masked Singer.
“In my mind, I was thinking, ‘It’s gonna be fine, like, they’re pre-taping or something like that.’ But then when I got there and they were like, ‘Oh no, you’ve got to really sing,’ I was a little nervous,” Burruss said.
‘The Masked Singer’ contestants have the option to disguise their singing voices
The Masked Singer contestants do live, but they don’t necessarily have to sing in their own voices. The Masked Singer executive producer Craig Plestis recently told People that contestants can manipulate their singing to throw off listeners.
“Some contestants try to disguise their singing voice and do songs in a different genre or a different style,” Plestis shared. “We leave that up to them. … Everyone’s trying to outsmart the panel and the rest of America.”
However, Plestis assured that lip-syncing is prohibited on The Masked Singer.
“No one is allowed to pre-record anything,” the EP added. “When I first started the show, I didn’t want to have anything fake … What you hear is what you get!”
The costumes can make it difficult to sing live
Of course, singing live in a big costume comes with challenges, even for professional singers. Contestants get to choose costumes that are specifically designed for performances, but that doesn’t always make it easier. Terry Ellis, Rhona Bennett, and Cindy Herron-Braggs of the group En Vogue, who collectively posed as Queen Cobras in The Masked Singer Season 7, shared why.
“They assured us that the mask would not be super weighty. And then the bodysuits. I mean it wasn’t a lot of weight. [But] We had to suck in our stomachs, be careful not to push the diaphragm out,” Herron-Braggs shared on Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef. “When we were trained as singers, you have to expand your diaphragm like a tire.”
“We weren’t used to having our shoulders restricted. Or having this kind of weight sit on top of our head or having our peripherals, just kind of blocked and not being able to feel each other on stage,” Bennett added.
The Masked Singer Season 8 premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.