Nick Cannon Talks on-Set Secrecy of ‘Masked Singer’ and Addresses ‘Systemic’ Issues on ‘America’s Got Talent’

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The action behind the scenes of "The Masked Singer" sometimes resembles an episode of "Get Smart" rather than a first-class talent competition series.
The producers of Fox's undisclosed prime time hit go to great lengths to keep celebrities' identities secret during production, Masked Singer moderator and executive producer Nick Cannon said during an extensive interview with Variety, including his previous ones Appearance as a moderator touched on NBC's summer staple "America's Got Talent".
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"We had quarantine before the corona virus," said Cannon of his work on "Masked Singer." “All the secrecy is so impractical. Everyone is kept separate in their own small areas. I can't see the talent. You arrive in secret places. "
Cannon doesn't know the identity of the celebrity who sweats it out under the elaborate costume until it is revealed at the end of the crazy sing-off series. This is due in part to the stringent FCC rules that govern the series' competitive elements. But it's also because Cannon wants to experience the show as much as the audience - he's trying to guess who's under the mask based on clues that were lost during his performance.
"It wouldn't be so much fun if I knew who it was," Cannon said. Since the show is a hit, it was flooded with requests from friends who want to be there.
"Masked Singer" is expected to begin production this year on its fourth cycle on Fox. The craziness of the concept - celebrities dress in exaggerated costumes to take part in a singing competition - appealed to Cannon. After finishing an eight-season run on "AGT", he wasn't looking for another network variety show. But the boldness of "Masked Singer" made him take the plunge. The show was a surprising success from its debut in January 2019.
"I was very meticulous about what I would like to host again in the area of ​​non-written diversity since I had done it at the highest level with 'AGT'. I didn't want to jump in and do another talent show," said Cannon.
In the early days of "Masked Singer," Cannon's main concern was safety for participants trying to dress up in heavy costumes. "From day one, I was on needles and pens hoping that no one would fall off the stage in those costumes," said Cannon.
Cannon's farewell to "AGT" made headlines in early 2017 after he publicly claimed that NBC was preparing to sanction him for telling nervous jokes about the show and showtime comedy special "Stand Up, Don't Shoot" the network had made.
In the past few months, the former “AGT” judge Gabrielle Union has publicly criticized what she termed racism and other problems with the “AGT” set. Cannon said he was "not apologetic" for his decision to leave the show, but he also quickly noted, "I was never upset with anyone at NBC."
Cannon added that he still "loves" AGT, but that Union's complaints reflect "a really systemic problem in my head." Cannon said he had deep concerns about the way participants were treated if they were voted out of the show.
"Everyone is so busy with this great TV show that they forget that there are people, feelings, and cultural concerns," Cannon said. “When you make a show so big, the machine can often get a bit too big and people forget that it is people. As soon as you hit them with these four X-es, they broke. "
Cannon said he often tried to emotionally support candidates who were overwhelmed by the experience after the performance. He would remind her of his own story when he broke into Hollywood as a warm-up comic when he was a teenager.
"I would tell them:" Don't let this ("AGT" -Oust) influence you. Don't let that stop you. This is just a moment. This has nothing to do with you, your gifts, or your talents, ”said Cannon. "Sometimes it takes a Gabrielle Union to remind people:" Yo, humanity is going on here. "
(Image: Nick Cannon in "The Masked Singer")
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