A teaser released ahead of the show’s September 22 premiere introduced five new contestants for the celebrity singing competition: Cupcake, Banana Split, Mallard, Dalmatian and Banana Split. A sixth contestant, Queen of Hearts, made her debut in an Instagram post shared by the Fox show’s official account.
Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke and Nick Cannon have all returned for another season of sleuthing, but there are also a few big changes in store. For one thing, the singing celebs will finally have a live audience again after three seasons of the prerecorded applause necessitated by coronavirus restrictions.
“I think one of the most exciting things for us has been working with a full audience again,” showrunner James Breen told Entertainment Weekly in August. “It changes the dynamics in the studio. I think it’s just been really fun to get fans back into the room and have them experience it with us.”
Secondly, the show’s format has undergone a major overhaul. In season 6, there will be just two groups of contestants, Group A and Group B, who will compete only within their own groups. Once a winner from each group is chosen, those two contestants will face off in the grand finale.
“It’s almost like we have three finales in our show,” executive producer Craig Plestis told EW. “We have a winner from Group A and Group B, and they’ll then be going head-to-head, almost like a prizefight, to see who is the Masked Singer. But the great thing is, they’ll be taking on each other, and they’ve never sat on the same stage together until that moment.”
The wildcard contestants, first introduced during season 5, will also be back for season 6. Last season, wildcard entry Yeti (Omarion) finished in fourth place. Another wildcard, Bulldog, turned out to be Cannon, who returned to his hosting duties after he was unmasked. (Niecy Nash filled in for him at the beginning of the season.)
One major change coming this season is the addition of the Take It Off Buzzer, revealed by producers ahead of the premiere. If a judge is certain they know who’s behind a mask, they can hit the buzzer at any time and announce their guess. If they’re right, the contestant has to unmask immediately and will get eliminated from the competition. The panelist also earns two points toward winning the Golden Ear Trophy at the end of the season.
If the panelist’s buzzer guess is wrong, however, the contestant stays masked and the judge who guessed loses two points from their Golden Ear tally. There’s also a catch: The buzzer can only be used once for Group A and once for Group B, meaning that every panelist won’t get to use it.
For season 6, producers started rolling out clues before the first episode, with an August teaser encouraging fans to “pay attention to the clues.” Officially, however, the journey begins on Fox Wednesday, September 22 at 8 p.m. ET.
Keep scrolling for all the clues from season 6 of The Masked Singer: