The Masked Singer returned for its fourth series on New Year’s Day, with a host of new eccentric characters competing to win the unusual ITV talent show.
As ever, there’s going to be a lot of speculation as to who they all really are under the mask – could this finally be the year that Meryl Streep is taking part? (Probably not, but you know.) And, as ever, there’s also going to be a lot of speculation as to where they’re really under the mask at all - do you believe it’s all staged? In our recent Screen Babble podcast, Kelly Crichton explained her grand Masked Singer conspiracy theory.
Here’s everything you need to know about the contestants on The Masked Singer 2023, from their costumes, some of the hints the show has given about them, and the prevailing theories about who they might be. Each week, we’ll update this piece with all the new information we get from each new episode, so be sure to keep checking back to this article as the series unfolds.
What’s their costume? Fawn is dressed as a baby deer (or a fawn). Hopefully they’ll get a fawning audience reception!
What hints have we received about them? The performance began with Fawn drinking a cup of tea, and taking five sugars. The riddle was “I live in a cottage and not in a palace, I’ve visited wonderland but my name isn’t Alice.”
Who could they be? Rita Ora suggested Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham, Davina McCall thinks Mel C, and Jonathan suggested former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (a fawn, like a deer in headlights). Amongst fans on twitter, Emma Bunton has been suggested - but there’s argument as to whether you’d use sugar as a clue to a Spice Girl.
Cat & Mouse
What’s their costume? The first double act to perform on the UK show, Cat is an orange cat dressed as Sherlock Holmes, while Mouse (the shorter of the two) is dressed as a robber, complete with a swag bag.
What hints have we received about them? It was suggested that Cat is a detective - the number 20 million was thrown around, and Cat said they were used to dealing with legal matters. Mouse, meanwhile, was seen with different spices and their riddle was: “I’m on the case, I’m not afraid, you stole the cheese, and some jade.”
Who did people think they might be? Jonathan took the spices to mean Mouse was a former Spice Girl, but wasn’t sure who Cat could be. Meanwhile, Davina suggested Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard, Mo thought David Walliams and Matt Lucas, and Rita suggested McFly singer Tom Fletcher and his wife Giovanni. Some fans thought it could be Tom Fletcher, but paired with his sister Carrie Hope Fletcher (this is how I learned they’re related).
Who were they? In the end, it was revealed that Cat & Mouse were husband and wife Martin and Shirlie Kemp (taking part to embarass their son Roman).
What’s their costume? A cool and trendy Jacket Potato, complete with sunglasses, a silver jacket, and melted cheese for hair.
What hints have we received about them? Jacket Potato first performed in Week 2 of The Masked Singer. Their riddle was “Hey it’s me Jack, Jacket Potato. I’ve got quite the collection, so big, you’ll say ‘woah’.”
Who could they be? A range of responses here: Jonathan thought Ray Winstone, Rita thought Mickey Rourke or David Dickinson (two very similar choices there), and Mo Gilligan suggested Jack Whitehall. Amongst the audience, the popular theory seems to be Shane Richie.
Piece of Cake
What’s their costume? Piece of Cake is a slice of red strawberry cake, with berries for hands and cupcakes for feet. Quietly one of the scarier costumes this year, I think.
What hints have we received about them? Piece of Cake was the second singer eliminated by the judges, and soon revealed to be...
Who could they be? ... the singer Lulu.
What’s their costume? Pigeon is, well, a pigeon, wearing a pink cardigan and gold pince-nez spectacles. (It’s funny, because birds’ eyes are on the side of their heads, so the pigeon isn’t actually looking out of the glasses.)
What hints have we received about them? In a supposedly strong Essex accent, Pigeon read out the riddle: “I’m an old pigeon mama and I’ve such a warm heart, let me share some of my wisdom - life imitates art.” Earlier in the evening, they also described themselves as “unflappable”.
Who could they be? Jonathan suggested Camilla Parker-Bowles, Rita Ora thinks Maya Jama ahead of the new series of Love Island, Davina argued it could be Emily Atack, and Mo highlighted Gemma Collins as a possibility - which a lot of twitter fans agreed with.
Who were they? Pigeon turned out to be the comedian and actor Katherine Ryan (currently starring in Sky’s Romantic Getaway). The weekly clue - naming a new food item each episode, carrot, cauliflower, gravy, etc, building up to complete a roast - was in reference to when Katherine judged a show called Roast Battle with Jonathan Ross.
What’s their costume? Rhino is wearing a red cowboy hat, a red shirt, and red cowboy boots.
What hints have we received about them? After making their debut in the second episode of The Masked Singer performing Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, Rhino read out the following riddle: ““I’m chief in this town and happy-go-lucky, but one of you guys might think I’m quite muggy”.
Who could they be? Mo Gilligan thinks Rylan, because of how tall Rhino is, while Rita Ora suggested Freddie Flintoff. Joel Dommett, meanwhile, made a rare guess of his own, insisting he knew because he was a huge fan of this person, writing his guess on a piece of paper and folding it up in his pocket for later. On twitter, people are thinking Rhino could be James Arthur. Who do you think Rhino could be?
What’s their costume? Rubbish is a trash monster, peering out of a green recycling bin – which I think means technically speaking it’s not rubbish, but maybe I’m just confused on the terminology there.
What hints have we received about them? Rubbish walked past a red bin with a big “#1” on it, while saying that their biggest skill was cleaning up. Their riddle was ““Inside my bin is trash I’m compiling. As a person I’m happy, but you won’t see me smiling.”
Who could they be? Mo Gilligan took the #1 and the reference to cleaning up to mean Rubbish is someone who’s won a lot of awards - perhaps a former band member? Meanwhile, Jonathan took a different route, and suggested Rubbish might be Dean Gaffney.
Who were they? Rubbish was eliminated from the competition on Saturday 21 January, and revealed to be snooker champion Steven Hendry - just moments after Jonathan had guessed a different snooker icon, Ronnie O’Sullivan. So close, and yet so far.
What’s their costume? Jellyfish has a bulbous silver head, with orange tendrils flowing out beneath them.
What hints have we received about them? Describing herself as “all about love”, Jellyfish revealed she has “unexpectedly won” something before. Her riddle, meanwhile, was “Give me good vibes only, that’s a great salutation. Let’s love and not hate, like a funny animation.”
Who could they be? Rita guessed X Factor winner Alexandra Burke (was that an unexpected win?), while Mo Gilligan suggested Judi Love (”all about love”) or Ellie Goulding (the lights on the costume referencing Goulding’s song Lights). Jonathan thought it could be Michelle Keegan, while Davina guessed Michelle Visage.
What’s their costume? Pink and blue wool, in a roughly anthropomorphic shape, held together by knitting needles.
What hints have we received about them? Knitting sang in a Lancastrian accent, with a “good morning” banner in the bakcground behind her - perhaps meaning she works in breakfast TV? Knitting’s riddle clue was: “Knitting is easy, it’s the crossing of sticks. Count all of your stitches, there should 26,” which Jonathan took to mean Knitting had run a marathon.
Who could they be? Jonathan suggested former Blue Peter host Konnie Huq, reasoning that knitting = crafts = Blue Peter, while Mo thought that the love of crafting combined with a Lancaster accent pointed to rumoured Big Brother 2023 host AJ Odudu. Some fans, meanwhile, have taken the crafting to mean it’s Stacey Solomon.
Who were they? Knitting was revealed to be Claire Richards at the start of February - which was slightly controversial, because Richards had been tweeting her own theories about who Knitting could be across the past few weeks!
What’s their costume? Otter is an otter, wearing a blue wetsuit and snorkelling gear. Presumably real Otters don’t actually need that, but you never know. (Unless you’ve seen an otter, in which case you might know.)
What hints have we received about them? There’s a lot of swimming and splashing imagery - is Otter an athlete? We were also shown a four leaf clover, maybe suggesting they’re Irish, and told that Otter is known for “their resilience”. Otter’s riddle was: “Children, some say, should be seen and not heard, but of this Otter, I’d say, opposite is the word.”
Who could they be? A range of guesses from the judges so far - Mo thinks it could be Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Davina suggested Fion Shaw, and Jonathan thinks Pauline McLynn. Meanwhile, Rita Ora suggested Una Healy, because she was on Splash (you know, that frequently referenced pop culture staple). At the moment, fans are lining up behind Pauline McLynn as an option, with Dawn French and Laura Whitmore also being suggested.
Who were they? Otter turned out to be This Country’s Daisy May Cooper (no idea how some of those clues suggest her, but still).
What’s their costume? The Phoenix is a mythological creature – a bird that bursts into flame when it dies, and then is reborn from the ashes.
What hints have we received about them? Phoenix’s riddle was “I’m all flame and fire, my feathers ablaze, it may intrigue you to learn, I’ve been a catchphrase” - could it mean this is host of Catchphrase Stephen Mulhern? Other clues included the reveal that Phoenix is “hot”, can “follow a trail”, and has apparently reinvented themself to rise from the ashes.
Who could they be? Jonathan thinks David Tennant (with a Phoenix’s rebirth like a Doctor Who regeneration), which a number of fans agree with. Otherwise, Davina thinks Nicholas Hoult (reinventing himself as an adult actor rather than a child acotr), Rita thinks Jason Orange (because Phoenixes are orange), and Mo thinks Jo Sugg, because he surived a fire once (which seems a bit tasteless, but hey).
What’s their costume? Ghost is a spooky spectre, with a costume that looks a little like someone stood under a bed sheet wearing red boots.
What hints have we received about them? Ghost - who performed Michael Buble’s Save The Last Dance For Me - was the first singer to be voted off. When they took off the mask, it was revealed that they were...
Who is Ghost on The Masked Singer? ... Chris Kamara! He said he was taking part to surprise his grandchildren.
Who are the judges on The Masked Singer?
Comedian Mo Gilligan, presenter Davina McCall, musician Rita Ora, and chat show host Jonathan Ross are each returning as part of The Masked Singer’s judging panel, trying to work out who’s behind each mask.
Meanwhile, comedian Joel Dommett will once again be hosting, as he has done since the show began.
Who won The Masked Singer last year?
Natalie Imbruglia won The Masked Singer Series 3, competing while dressed as a Panda. Previous winners of The Masked Singer UK include Joss Stone and Nicola Roberts.
When does The Masked Singer begin?
The Masked Singer 2023 begins on ITV1 on Sunday 1 January at 6:30pm.
New episodes of The Masked Singer will continue weekly on Saturdays thereafter, with the second episode of Series 4 airing on Saturday 7 January. You’ll also be able to watch the show on catch up on ITVX.