Ever since The Masked Singer graced our screens, we’ve been singing and dancing along with the quirky characters. From their smooth moves to their soulful voices, it’s hard to believe someone is capable of pulling off such a grand performance while wearing a giant baby head.
But what we don’t see is the immense work that goes on behind-the-scenes, before the celebs take the stage. This is where The Squared Division comes in.
Working alongside big names such as Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue, Antony Ginandjar and Ashley Evans are the choreographers behind the explosive performances on The Masked Singer.
POPSUGAR Australia had the chance to speak to the duo to find out exactly what happens before a Mask performs on stage.
POPSUGAR Australia: First off, tell us about how The Squared Division came about.
Ashley Evans: So, Antony and I were both performers when we first started our careers in the entertainment industry, and we actually met on a musical — we were touring with The Arena Spectacular Group. So, we met then, we connected and we were both kind of dabbling in different areas of choreography, production and styling. Then we got asked to do a project, and we said, “Oh, should we join forces?” So we did, and the rest was history and everything from that point on was under The Square Division umbrella.
PS: How long do the celebrities on The Masked Singer get to rehearse on the set/in the costume and have there been any mishaps along the way?
Antony Ginandjar: The singers get about 30 minutes to rehearse in their costumes on the first day and then on their second day they get to be in their costume again and we do a camera block and then they film it. So, it’s super quick and they need to be super on it to be able to pick up all of their choreography and all their staging as well as their vocals obviously.
AE: Yeah, they have a lot of fittings prior, and they do have some movement time, and some other time on stage prior to the show starting to film where they get to workshop their costumes to feel it out. But it is something where you grow more comfortable over time, as the show goes on.
AG: And have there been any mishaps? Um …
AE: You see all the mishaps! You see the mishaps on the air. Not really actually, everything went quite well.
AG: Look, sometimes some of them get really ambitious with the moves. And they’re heavy, so there have been a couple of falls here and there.
PS: If you were to compete on the show, what characters would you want to inhabit?
AG: Oh, so many for so many different reasons, like probably something more in line with Professor because he looks like he’s a little easier to move in, but then hands down my favourite is Kebab.
AE: Look, I’m a fan of the darker characters. So this season is Vampire and last season it was the Queen, so I think I’d do something really mysterious and brooding.
PS: You guys have worked with a wide number of celebs in the past. Who would you say has been your favourite?
AE: I think favourites are hard because everyone we work with, we believe in for different reasons and connect to for different reasons. So, one of the first people we really were taken back by earlier in our career was Kylie Minogue. She’s just a workhorse, she’s collaborative and she’s just beautiful. She’s Australia’s darling really. And now, we’re working with Katy Perry and J Balvin, and both of them are just wonderful people, so trusting and so grateful to be collaborating.
PS: The costumes the celebrities wear on The Masked Singer are quite bulky. Do you keep that in mind when choreographing the performance?
AG: Yeah, when we’re thinking of anything for the show, and we’re coming up with a creative that goes on stage, whether we’re directing the choreography, whatever we’re doing, we’re definitely basing it around the costume. I mean, there are some that are just not as mobile as others, and then there are some that are super mobile. Then it also comes down to the performers comfortability in the outfit, so it really depends on how much they can do in it. As we work through the season, we start to realise who is really great in their costume and can move better, and the ones that aren’t. It’s kind of a give and take. So, it’s definitely all about the costumes.
PS: When working with celebrities such as Katy Perry and Britney Spears, who has the majority of the say? You or them?
AE: 100% them! They are the boss, they’re our boss and we work for them so everything is 100% on them. At the end of the day, they have to go out there and they have to sell it. This is their brand, so they have to believe in it, they have to know what they’re doing, they have to be a part of the profits.
AG: But having said that, Ash and I, one of the reasons we’ve kept going in this industry, is because we have a strong opinion so that’s why people keep using us for our opinion.
PS: Some of the celebs that appear on The Masked Singer have no prior experience when it comes to singing and dancing. How do you push them out of their comfort zone?
AE: It’s all about positive reinforcement and holding their hand and making sure they feel comfortable, definitely pushing a lot of people out of their comfort zone. But the more they practice in their suit and the more that they feel confident and able, they definitely shine. And they’re the ones that really take it to the extreme and laugh through the competition.
Watch The Masked Singer at 7.30pm on Channel 10 and 10play.