(Warning: This post contains spoilers through Episode 102 of Fox's "The Masked Singer")
Are you one of the many U.S. viewers entranced by "The Masked Singer," Fox's new wacky celebrity singing competition series based on a popular South Korean format? If so, are you wondering how the rest of the already-smash-hit show's nine-episode first season is going to work now that all 12 disguised contestants have made their debuts and two -- poor Pineapple (Tommy Chong) and Hippo (Antonio Brown) -- have been eliminated and unmasked?
You are? Great, because we have answers.
TheWrap spoke with "The Masked Singer" showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra earlier this week to get the lowdown on how this oddball "whosungit" (Fox's pun, not ours) will work from here on out. And yes, you will be getting additional clues to work from while trying to figure out the identities of Raven, Alien, Poodle, Bee, Rabbit, Deer, Peacock, Monster, Unicorn and Lion.
"Basically, the show moving forward you'll see Group A again [the contestants from the premiere] in Show 3 and they will -- essentially we give you a whole load of new clues," Ibarra said. "They will perform individually, and the panel and the studio audience vote and the person that was not everybody's favorite -- the worst singer of that night, the worst performer of the night -- will go home and be unmasked. And that format will follow on until the seventh show and on Show 7 we combine the cast essentially for the first time. So you'll be down to six singers in Show 7 and they'll be the remaining six from the series."
Ibarra tells TheWrap there are a total of nine competition episodes, with one singer being unmasked every week, except for in Episode 8, which will see two singers get the ax. That leaves three singers appearing on the finale.
Now, we know you are wondering about more clues -- and so were we -- so here's the deal with all that.
"Yeah, there's lots of different new clues," Ibarra said. "I mean, one of the great things about the show when we were taping it was everybody was so convinced that they knew who somebody was -- on the panel and the production crew as well -- they'd go, 'Oh, we all know who it is.' And then a whole load of new clues come in and suddenly it throws your first guess completely out the window for somebody."
"So we worked really, really hard on the clues," she continued. "We had a whole team of people trying to create and craft the clues and the information we gave out and when we gave it out. There are things people may not know about some of the singers. You know, the clues have really been embedded everywhere and you have to kind of pay attention because a lot of the time you may not realize that's a clue that's just gotten past you, but they are there."
Ibarra said the extra clues were essential "so the narrative can move forward" -- obviously.
"We can't just have the panel sit there and give clues in the first two shows and then expect everybody to stay engaged throughout the series," she said. "So, you know, we had additional ways of giving clues. For example, in one of the episodes, the singers brought an object onto the stage from home that was a clue as to who they might be. So we were doing different things as we went along, adding new stuff all the time."
"The Masked Singer" airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.