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Rita Ora Joins Judges’ Panel on ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 11, Replaces Nicole Scherzinger

Rita Ora Joins Judges Panel on The Masked Singer
Rita Ora Michael Becker/FOX

After years of being an incorrect guess on The Masked Singer, Rita Ora is joining the show — as a panelist.

Ora, 32, will join Ken Jeong, Robin Thicke and Jenny McCarthy on the judges’ panel in season 11 of the Fox competition, which is set to air in 2024, per a Wednesday, September 13, report from TVLine. She’ll be temporarily replacing Nicole Scherzinger, who has been part of the show since it premiered in January 2019. (Scherzinger, 45, will still appear on season 10, which officially premieres later this month.)

Aside from occasional guest stars, Ora is the first new celebrity to join the panel in the show’s history, though she is not a stranger to the Masked Universe. She has been a host on The Masked Singer UK since 2020. Most recently, she helped preside over season 4, which ended in February with musician Charlie Simpson taking home the Golden Mask trophy.

Fans of Sherlock Scherzy, however, need not fret — her departure from the show isn’t permanent. Scherzinger is simply taking a break to star in a West End revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Sunset Boulevard. She will play Norma Desmond, the aging silent film star struggling to come to terms with the end of her career.

Rita Ora Joins Judges Panel on The Masked Singer
Nicole Scherzinger Michael Becker/FOX

“After our reappraisal of Evita at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, I’m very excited to rediscover another iconic Lloyd Webber musical — and Sunset Boulevard is one of his most thrilling, complex and atmospheric scores,” director Jamie Lloyd said in a statement in May. “We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to create a new production of this fascinating piece with the extraordinary Nicole Scherzinger.”

While the current season of The Masked Singer hasn’t officially started yet, host Nick Cannon and the panelists teased fans on Sunday, September 10 with a kickoff special that introduced — and quickly unmasked — a new character named Anonymouse (Demi Lovato).

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The hour-long special also offered fans glimpses of a few other new characters, including Diver, Gazelle and Royal Hen. While each performer only revealed one clue about themselves, Diver’s hint immediately sparked speculation that he is none other than Vanderpump Rules star Tom Sandoval.

“Usually, I’m pretty pumped, but lately, I’ve been lost in the abyss,” Diver said during his intro. “I might be the most hated creature in the ocean right now.”

Get it? Pumped, like Vanderpump Rules? And hated, because of the Scandoval of it all? Worse guesses have been made before!

The Masked Singer season 10 premieres on Fox Wednesday, September 27, at 8 p.m. ET.

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