'The Masked Dancer' Premiere: See Which Costumed Contestant Wows With Their Fancy Footwork
By Zach Seemayer
After a lot of anticipation, The Masked Dancer is finally here! The Masked Singerspin-off series premiered on Sunday, and gave fans a long-awaited look at Fox's new costumed guessing game.
While functionally similar to its megahit sister series, The Masked Dancer is wildly different in several key ways. First and foremost, the dancing. Fans will get to see 10 costumed celebrity contestants face off by showcasing their fancy footwork.
Additionally, since The Masked Dancer doesn't feature singing at all, one thing they've added as a sort of clue is the chance to hear the contestants say one word without their voice modulators. This "Word Up" clue might be the most telling indicator of all -- even more than the show's elaborate clue packages.
Just like in The Masked Singer, it was almost instantly apparent whether or not the contestants are professional performers or celebs in some other field. Sunday's performances from Group A -- which included Hammerhead, Tulip, Cricket, Exotic Bird and Disco Ball -- proved to be a fun slate of routines that ran the gamut from "seasoned pro" to "never stepped foot on a dance floor before."
Host Craig Robinson's charismatic charm kept the competition fun and engaging, while the panel of "celebrity detectives" -- including Brian Austin Green, Ashley Tisdale, Paula Abdul and Masked Singer panelist Ken Jeong -- did their best to pick apart the clue packages and figure out the dancers' alter egos.
Hammerhead hit the stage first, delivering an energetic routine set to Backstreet Boy's "Everybody" that brought a smile to the panel's faces.
After a strong start, Tulip raised the bar with an impressive number that included some skillful tap dancing, thus cementing her place as a likely finalist.
Cricket held his own and Exotic Bird closed out the show with some real flair. Inbetween, Disco Ball hit the stage, giving off an older vibe. It was clear Disco Ball wasn't totally comfortable showing off his dance skills, but still tried his best.
Ultimately, despite a lot of charm, when it came time to vote, Disco Ball ended up getting the axe and cutting his Masked Dancer journey real short.
Before getting unmasked, the judges made their final guesses. Green suggested it could be LL Cool J, Jeong guessed Smokey Robinson, Abdul offered MC Hammer and Tisdale closed out the segment guessing Lionel Richie.
Ultimately, all the panelists were stumped when it turned out to be actor and hip hop legend Ice-T!
"This was absolutely the craziest thing I've ever done," he explained with a laugh. "I'm very excited to be here, this was very cool and a fun experience."
When asked why he did the show, Ice-T said his daughter loved The Masked Singer, and after he saw Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes do Masked Singer, he figured it would be a fun chance to get to participate in something similar.
Next episode, we'll get a chance to see Group B hit the stage!
If you're trying to crack the mystery of the costumed contestants like the rest of America, check out our running list of spoilers, hints and best guesses, where we break down all the clue packages and make wild predictions about the dancers' secret identities.
After Sunday's premiere, The Masked Dancerairs at its usual time of 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.