Rita Ora Shares Biggest Difference Between Judging ‘The Masked Singer’ in the U.K. vs the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

“The Masked Singer” didn’t have to look far to find a fill-in for panelist Nicole Scherzinger, who spent the fall starring in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard on London’s West End. Singer/songwriter Rita Ora has served as a panelist on “The Masked Singer UK” for several seasons — making it an easy trip across the pond to take Scherzinger’s chair alongside Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg and Robin Thicke.

U.S. audiences will get their first look at Ora behind the panelists’ table as “The Masked Singer” returns on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. The show opens with Ora singing The Who’s “Who Are You?” (one of the signature “Masked Singer” themes).

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In arriving on these shores, Ora said she was immediately blown away by the level of celebrity talent that signed up for the Fox series.

“I think here in the U.S. it’s just definitely bigger,” Ora said of the comparison between the two countries’ “Masked Singer” editions. “I’ve been doing it in the UK for five seasons and it’s such a joy doing it back home. I’ve obviously seen the level of talent on the US version and I just had to be a part of the madness. It feels very similar, but it’s nice because I think there’s a lot more leeway here in the States. Especially this season. There’s so many surprises that I’m like, ‘Oh, is this allowed?'”

In bringing Ora to “The Masked Singer” in the U.S., the producers didn’t have to worry about teaching her the unique aspects of the format. The show’s panelists aren’t judges or mentors, but they do play the critical role of trying to figure out who’s under the costumes.

“I was ready to go in there and really try and win. I tried to really listen to the vocals and see their body movements,” she said. It’s a guessing game, it’s not like a competition show. I want to guess it right because I don’t want to look crazy. The show is so bonkers that you can’t really fail it, you can’t really go wrong. You just have to enjoy the fact that you’re on this show, and go with it.”

Ora had previously worked with Jeong on Season 1 of “The Masked Singer UK,” on which he also served as a panelist. She knew Thicke through music circles, and “Jenny’s been always so friendly every time we’ve kind of crossed paths. And so it just felt like why not.” Nick Cannon is back as host as well.

THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, Ken Jeong and Rita Ora in the season 11 premiere episode of THE MASKED SINGER airing Wednesday, March 6 (8:00 PM - 9:02 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. ©2024 FOX Media LLC.
Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, Ken Jeong and Rita Ora in the season 11 premiere episode of “The Masked Singer” (Michael Becker / Fox)

This season of “The Masked Singer” will feature themed episodes including “The Wizard of Oz,” in celebration of the 85th anniversary of the classic film; “Transformers” (marking the brand’s 40th anniversary) and music tributes including “Billy Joel Night” and “Queen Night.” Additional themes include “Girl Groups,” “Soundtrack of My Life,” “TV Theme Night” and “Shower Anthems.”

Fox Alternative Entertainment is behind “The Masked Singer,” which is exec produced by showrunner James Breen, Craig Plestis, and Nick Cannon. The series is based on the South Korean format created by Mun Hwa Broadcasting Corp.

Here’s a look at Ora as she joins the cast of “The Masked Singer”:

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