It’s one big extravaganza! Over-the-top costumes, singing, dancing and sleuthing is all part of the reality show The Masked Singer that’s just started with its second season on M-Net (DStv 101).

In this reality show, a group of famous people hide their identities with lavish, ridiculous, brilliant and colourful costumes as a panel of judges try to guess who they are from a series of clues, as well as through their performances. But really the competition is mere window dressing for the costumes that the famous peeps wear. They are exotic, elaborate, weird and oddly specific, especially in S2, and we’ve got all the juicy details from series designer Marina Toybina.

Watch The Masked Singer now on Catch Up

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The Famous Faces

But before we dive into the costume craziness and sewing machine madness, meet the presenter, judging panel and some celebs that will star in S2.

Fun-loving muso-slash-actor Nick Cannon is steering the show as the host, with sexy singers Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke joined by actors Jenny McCarthy and Ken Jeong on the judging panel.

And without giving too much away, viewers can look forward to singers Seal, Chris Daughtry and Michelle Williams making their debut as contestants. There is also TV personality Kelly Osbourne and Whose Line Is It Anyway? sketch comedian Wayne Brady miming to the music in head-to-toe kit. But as to which costume they’ll be hiding behind, viewers will have to wait and see. Don’t ruin the fun by Googling either – the surprise element is what makes this show hot!


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The Costumes

Marina says that going into S2 of The Masked Singer, her “main goal was to elevate the overall construction of the costumes, as well as the characters in an entertaining way”.

It takes up to four months to create these complex costumes, and Marina and her team must send between 20-25 sketches to the producers for approval before they can make their first stitch.

This season there are 16 contestants and they each get a say in which characters they like – even proposing changes to fit their own personalities and backstories. Then it’s a month-and-a-half of construction, explains Marina. “That becomes the most challenging creative part for me. It’s great once it’s on paper and everything looks magical, but then how do you make these pieces become life-sized and also wearable art?”


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Leopard

Marina and her team had fun with the leopard, who’s less the sleek hunter and more the flamboyant pussy cast with a period-costume collar. “Most people would expect a leopard costume to be very animalistic and have print all over, but I wanted to create something that was Victorian and was vintage and did have this big presence onstage,” says the costume designer. She took inspiration from the Cate Blanchett 1998 movie Elizabeth for this costume.


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Butterfly

The butterfly is striking and oh-so tight across the hidden celeb’s body. “I decided to hand-bead and hand-stone the entire costume,” says Marina. “As much as there’s a little bit of that sex appeal and darkness to the costume, onstage it really becomes the beauty of what a butterfly represents.” With 10,000 sequins to dazzle you, that’s a lot of beauty. “We wanted it to be very mythical and magical,” says Marina.


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Flower

Now this costume must have taken Marina and her team time to make perfectly. “I played around with the idea of a face than just a character,” says Marina. “This mask sits inside a theatrical environment made up of petals.”


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Tree

In making all of the masks and costumes, Marina also had to take the acoustics into consideration which she tested out with the vocal coach during fittings to make sure the contestants can still hear everyone clearly. Like the domed tree…


Watch The Masked Singer on M-Net (DStv 101) at 19:00, and stream the latest episodes with DStv Now and Catch Up.

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