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Series / The Masked Dancer (UK)

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The Masked Dancer is a British reality dancing competition Talent Show television series hosted by Joel Dommett that began airing on ITV in 2021, and is a spinoff of The Masked Singer (UK).

Twelve contestants dressed in elaborate costumes go head-to-head with each other, with a panel of judges (Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall, Oti Mabuse, and Jonathan Ross) and an audience voting for their favourite performance. The losers of each match-up gather at the end of the episode, and the judges decide which contestant will be eliminated and revealing their identity.

The first series was commissioned to fulfill a gap in ITV's schedule that had been left by Britain's Got Talent going on hiatus that year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a result, the show aired across a whole week (except for 2 June 2021 due to football coverage) rather than several weeks. This series also featured a virtual audience, since the show was filmed during the UK's second lockdown.

The second series returned as a weekly broadcast, and it is also the first series to feature a live audience. Mo Gilligan was unable to return for this series, and his place on the panel was given to ex-footballer Peter Crouch (although Gilligan did get to be a guest judge in the sixth episode).

This show provides examples of:

  • Animate Inanimate Object: The first series has Zip, Scarecrow, and Carwash. The second series has Candlestick, Scissors, Odd Socks, and Pillar and Post.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Knickerbocker Glory and Beetroot in the first series, and Prawn Cocktail and Tomato Sauce in the second series.
  • Back for the Finale: The final opens with a dance performance featuring all the contestants, including the ones who have already been eliminated.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Mo Gilligan was unable to return for most of the second series, but rejoined the panel as a guest judge in Episode 6.
    • John Bishop returns as a guest judge in the semi-final of the second series after previously being one in the first series. He also fills in for Jonathan Ross in the final when he was unable to attend.
  • Costume Porn: Like the other versions of the show, the contestants wear costumes that cover their whole body. Since this show focuses on dancing rather than singing, the costumes are all ones they can move around in more easily, therefore looking more like suits and dresses than mascot costumes. Some of them also show off more of their body shape.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: The same as in Singer: "Who's behind the mask? Take it off!"
  • Elimination Statement: The unmasked contestants are asked why they did the show, and they also do a reprise of their dance routine from earlier in the episode.
  • Exact Words: It was stated in Series 2, Episode 5 that three celebrities would be unmasked. However, one of the contestants was a pairing, and the phrase "triple elimation" wasn't used, indicating that said pairing would be unmasked. The phrase "double elimination" wasn't used either, indicating that they would be withdrawing rather than getting voted off.
  • The Host: Just like in Singer, Joel Dommett returns to host this show.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In Season 1, Episode 6, when the panel are trying to guess Zip's identity, guest judge John Bishop brings up that Zip's clue package talks about space. He then proceeds to explain that zips don't work in space and that only velcro works as a clothes fastener—so therefore, Zip must be astronaut Tim Peake.
  • Living Toys:
    • Rubber Chicken. Some scenes from his clue packages even take place in a toy shop.
    • Frog's performance in the third round invoked this by having a backdrop of a toy shop, along with some props and backup dancers of large toys.
    • The second episode of the second series also had that episode's group of dancers portrayed as living toys.
  • Mutual Masquerade: The dancers have no idea who they're competing against, and don't get to find out until the show has aired on TV.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: Pillar and Post in Season 2 were forced to withdraw after Pillar suffered an injury during rehearsals.
  • Red Herring: There are many hints that can apply to people other than who the dancers really are, and the "Two Lies and a Truth" game also sometimes has lies that describe other celebrities.
  • Running Gag: Jonathan guessing Mary Berry for the contestants when it's not logically possible, even more so than he does on Singer.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Mostly averted, as it's quite easy to tell from the body shape that Llama and Frog are both women, as well as their pitched-up disguised voices. Not that this stops the panel from guessing that they might actually be men anyway.
    • Downplayed with Scarecrow, whose outfit is baggier, but she also has a high-pitched disguised voice, wears a Head Girl badge in one of her performances, and even refers to herself as a girl at one point.
    • Gender inverted with Knickerbocker Glory, who turned out to be Craig Revel Horwood; although despite the feminine-sounding disguised voice, the panel's guesses included men from the beginning.
  • Secret Identity Vocal Shift: Some of the dancers disguise their voices even with the distorted effects. For example, Frog speaks with a fake American accent. In one round, they have to say a word or phrase without the disguise effect applied, but that doesn't stop them from still putting on a fake voice.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening of Series 2, Episode 5 stated that three celebrities would be unmasked. However, this notably was not referred to as a double or triple elimination, Pillar and Post's mention on the lineup used a shot that clearly wasn't taken from a performance, and Joel mentioned at the beginning that the rehearsals were particularly difficult for one of the dancers; from these, it wasn't hard to work out that Pillar and Post would be leaving the competition without being voted off.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:
    • In the first series, Knickerbocker Glory, Beetroot, Squirrel, and Flamingo all have eyelashes as part of their costumes. There‚Äôs also a more subtle example with Scarecrow, where the stitching around their eyes is more prominent at the top to emulate eyelashes. Downplayed with Llama, whose eyelashes look closer to those of an actual llama, and averted with Frog.
    • In the second series, Pig has some noticeable eyelashes.