‘The Masked Singer’: Rita Ora to Return as Panelist in Place of Nicole Scherzinger Again in Season 12

Ora made her debut on the U.S. version of the show in Season 11

Rita Ora
Rita Ora on The Masked Singer (Photo Credit: Fox)

Nicole Scherzinger isn’t returning to “The Masked Singer” just yet. Rita Ora will once again be filling her spot on the panel next season, TheWrap has learned.

Ora first joined the panel alongside Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke — who are all returning for Season 12 — last season, after Scherzinger had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.

The Pussycat Dolls singer starred in the West End revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” last year, with performances beginning in September 2023. The show ran for 16 weeks, which conflicted with production of “The Masked Singer.”

So, after having previously been part of “The Masked Singer UK,” as well as “The Voice Australia” and “The X Factor UK,” Ora was tapped to step in. According to an individual with knowledge of the show, producers are happy Ora’s schedule worked out for her to do another. 

Scherzinger has been vocal about her love for the Fox show, and starred as a panelist for the first 10 seasons of it. At this point, it’s unclear if she’ll return in the future, as the same individual noted that no decisions on casting have been made beyond the upcoming season.

Ora correctly guessed the identity of Season 11’s winner of “The Masked Singer,” when she picked up on emotional clues left behind by her friend Vanessa Hudgens. In fact, Ora’s guess actually spoiled plans Hudgens had hoped to keep with her for dinner.

“I was just like, ‘Ugh, there goes our dinner plans,’” Hudgens told TheWrap with a laugh after her reveal in May. “Because I cannot meet up with her and keep my mouth shut, and like, just glide past that major reason as to why we’re both in L.A.”

EW first reported the news of Ora’s return.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays on Fox.

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