Entertainment

The Security Situation on 'The Masked Singer' Is Terrifying

The show uses NDAs, a secret cloth system (?), and something called a "shame sash" (???) to keep its contestants' identities secret.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
January 31, 2020, 6:54pm
The Masked Singer
Photo courtesy of FOX

Part of what makes watching the chaotic fever dream that is The Masked Singer so fun is the sense that, just like you, the judges really have no goddamn idea what B- to D-list celebrity is performing for them. It seems like keeping their identities a secret would be impossible—they're all hanging out on the same lot; their publicists probably know each other; they must talk in their regular voices from time to time—and, by all accounts, it should be. But the show manages to keep things under wraps by using some ridiculously intense security procedures, which sound more fit for a bizarre cult than a family-friendly singing show.

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In an interview with Billboard, The Masked Singer's showrunner, Izzie Pick-Ibarra, detailed just how far she goes to make sure no one finds out who the Raven or the Dragon or the Creepy Taco or whatever actually is. First off, she makes every contestant's manager and publicist sign a non-disclosure agreement, something that ostensibly extends to the crew, too. So, NDAs: not that insane. But she also refuses to let anyone use their cell phones while they're working—and if they really, really need to, she forces them to wear something called a "shame sash."

"We'll humiliate anyone who wants to use their phone on set," Pick-Ibarra said. "Everyone tries to justify their need to use their phone, so if they want to do that, they have to go through the humiliating task of wearing this pageant sash. We can't ban them entirely, because then people couldn't do their job on show days, but we do humiliate them with the sash, so they only ask if they need it."

The celebrity contestants aren't allowed to come onto set without a mask. They can't talk in their normal voices. They can't even use their real names at the security gate. There are only a "select few" members of the crew who have the privilege of knowing who they are—and to make sure the contestants only ever speak to those handlers, they each wear a weird, secretive cloth on their backs, which changes every season.

"With the others, [the contestants] won't speak," Pick-Ibarra said. "They're really good about it and they all take that very seriously."

As The Masked Singer gets increasingly popular, and our collective desperation to find out who's performing continues to skyrocket, who knows what kind of terrifying new security procedures Pick-Ibarra might put in place. Blindfolds and earplugs for everyone on set? Blood oaths to secrecy? Forty lashes for anyone who dares to enter a contestant's dressing room? Only time will tell!

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