You know The Masked Singer, now get ready for The Masked Dancer. The new Fox reality series premiered on Dec. 27 and is, in many ways, just like 2019’s Masked Singer — except this time, the anonymous, costumed celebrity contestants are performing dances instead of songs. With judges Ken Jeong, Ashley Tisdale, Brian Austin Green, and Paula Abdul at the helm, we should have enough Masked Singer vets and dance experts to make this work, right? Well, Abdul gave us the scoop in a new exclusive interview with SheKnows about taking on this dance show, and revealed what we all found out last night courtesy of inscrutable contestants like Cricket or Hammerhead: guessing who the celebs are behind these costumes is no joke. Luckily, Abdul can spare one clue about why contestants opted to come on that may help narrow down our guesses.
While Abdul may have cemented her icon status as an American Idol judge, she tells SheKnows that her time on Masked Dancer is nothing like the intense competition and analysis of Idol.
“This is about us being in awe of people, sometimes for the first time, getting up on the big stage and performing,” she says. “I mean, we will say things that point out the obvious — like if they have dance training or not. But the coolest thing is that some of them are really well-versed and trained in dancing, and sometimes it’s the entertainers that have little to no experience that are even more interesting because there’s no holding back.”
When we asked whether Abdul could hint at the identity of some of the performers we saw last night, here’s what she could offer. “They were drawn to the show and they wanted to do it because they wanted to fool their kids and have fun with that,” Abdul hinted.
And according to Abdul, these stars aren’t just giving their kids a laugh in the process of appearing on the show: “Every time one of the celebrities is revealed, they just say it’s the most fun they’ve ever had. And it was so freeing, being able to kind of hide behind a costume, but also be creative on how to fool us.”
Asked whether she’d ever want to give a show like The Masked Dancer a try herself, the Idol alum is all for it: “It would be so much fun to be in one of those costumes,” she admits. But truthfully, being back on set with her co-panelists to film was a welcome turn for Abdul in any form, who’s been supplementing her pandemic-suppressed social life with new hobbies like the rest of us.
“I miss human interaction and connection,” she says. “What I’ve been doing to try to combat that is online dance and fitness classes. I’ve done online cooking sessions. I have done coloring books. I’ve taken my dog for many walks around the neighborhood.”
Still, it’s no match for the typically über-active Abdul’s schedule, who had just come off her Las Vegas residency Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl when COVID-19 hit and the country went into lockdown.
“I still stay active but this time it was just a little trickier,” she says of those first few months; she’s learned, as a dancer, that not moving can be just as dangerous as moving too much. “I have to remind myself that even though I’m not moving as much, I still need Voltaren [Arthritis Pain Gel] to lubricate my joints, in addition to movement. I always say this and this is the truth, Voltaren has been my lifesaver for years now. And especially now, if I’m not constantly in performance mode, which I’m not right now, I have to take more care of my body because I can’t take it for granted and just stop cold turkey.”
For all her dance knowledge, though, Abdul still found herself stumped over and over again on The Masked Dancer, and loving it. “They’re enjoying themselves so much,” she says of the contestants. “The show’s about celebrating.”
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