HID­DEN TAL­ENT

Hit re­al­ity show The Masked Singer is just what we need right now, Dan­nii Minogue tells Cameron Adams

Sunday Territorian - - TV -

DAN­NII Minogue’s cu­rios­ity got the bet­ter of her on the set of The Masked Singer last year. The star de­cided to try on at least one of the cos­tumes the show’s celebri­ties are dis­guised in. She fig­ured the diminu­tive per­former Nikki Web­ster’s alien suit would be the best fit. She was wrong.

“I’m re­ally, re­ally claus­tro­pho­bic,” Minogue said.

“I got the alien head on and took it straight off. Peo­ple have asked if I’d do the show as one of the singers in an­other coun­try, and there’s no way. The cos­tume Deni Hines wore last year was so heavy. I don’t know how they even walk out on stage, let alone sing and do a dance rou­tine.”

The Aus­tralian de­but of the hit global fran­chise ( based on a South Korean con­cept) was a rat­ings smash for Chan­nel 10 last year, cul­mi­nat­ing in 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple watch­ing singer Cody Simpson un­masked and crowned the win­ner.

US movie star Lind­say Lo­han was the show’s sur­prise packet, join­ing Minogue, ra­dio host Jackie O and co­me­dian Dave Hughes on the guess­ing panel.

But COVID-19 re­stric­tions have seen Lo­han stuck in lock­down in Dubai; with co­me­dian Urzila Carl­son an­swer­ing the call to help from New Zealand this sea­son.

Minogue says she’s be­come

“ob­sessed” with her new co- star’s posts on so­cial me­dia.

“We let Lind­say know we’re gut­ted she’s not there,” Minogue ex­plains.

“We re­ally bonded and have all kept in touch with her the en­tire time since the show. But we didn’t want Urzila to feel that she wasn’t part of the team. So there’s been phone calls and mes­sages, we want to build up a friend­ship and trust.”

Minogue says of Carl­son: “She was born with that abil­ity to see the funny side in things. We’re so lucky to have Hugh­esy and now Urzila on set. Jackie and I are like book­worms, head down, study­ing, com­pletely nerdy. They help bring out the fun side in us.”

Minogue’s re­turn to the set wasn’t with­out its own dra­mas.

While The Masked Singer has moved from film­ing in Syd­ney to Mel­bourne this year, the singer and TV star was in Los An­ge­les when her home town went back into lock­down.

It re­quired Minogue and her son Ethan to fly into the Gold Coast, and they were given a gov­ern­ment ex­emp­tion to self- quar­an­tine in a pri­vate res­i­dence rather than the usual 14- day ho­tel stay en­forced on most trav­ellers.

The news was seized upon by a Chan­nel 7 crew, who ac­cused the star – who worked on the net­work’s re­al­ity shows Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent and The

X Fac­tor be­fore join­ing Chan­nel 10 – of get­ting spe­cial treat­ment.

While her self-funded pri­vate quar­an­tine was ap­proved by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment, which grants ex­emp­tions to in­dus­tries in­clud­ing fi lm, TV, sport­ing groups, con­sular of­fi­cials, mar­itime work­ers and fl ight crew, the usual sus­pects on so­cial me­dia were typ­i­cally out­raged.

Minogue, who was granted the ex­emp­tion mainly for health rea­sons, was hav­ing none of it.

“I’m the same per­son, I haven’t changed, I wouldn’t ask for ‘celebrity’ treat­ment or to have any­thing spe­cial granted to me. I went by the book,

I’ve added ex­tra things into (the COVID-19 safe plan) so I know that I can sleep at night.”

Still, the re­ac­tion was dis­ap­point­ing for Minogue, who has grown up on our small screen.

“I thought peo­ple knew me a bit bet­ter by now, but there’s more be­hind that news story. I felt like that wasn’t about me, it was more a net­work piece that was re­ally un­fairly skewed,” she says.

And just like Ni­cole Kid­man’s film­ing in New South Wales, Minogue is thrilled The Masked Singer will em­ploy peo­ple in the TV in­dus­try who have been hard hit by the pan­demic.

“I’m su­per pumped to get back to work and I’m su­per happy all of our cast and crew can get back to work. I’m happy that peo­ple are talk­ing about all of the pro­ce­dures in work­places … and un­til we have a vac­cine, that’s our re­al­ity,” she says.

“It is so good for any in­dus­try to try to get back on its feet. So many peo­ple in the arts have suf­fered who re­ally need to be back on set.

“I’ve grown up in this in­dus­try, it’s not the peo­ple you see on the screens, it’s the peo­ple be­hind the scenes, they re­ally need to get back to work.”

THE MASKED SINGER 7.30PM, MON­DAY, AU­GUST 10, ON 10

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