More than 200 Gold Plate winners, three holders of the Federal Medal of Merit, in addition to many Bambis and other awards: according to moderator Matthias Opdenhövel, under the masks is a kind of “Germany's best” again. But would a Federal Service recipient dress in flip-flops and sing “La Vida Loca”? Or ride across the stage like a flea on a snail?

The “Masked Singer” is back and puzzles can be solved again. But that's not all: “The new season is about change,” producer Fabian Tobias had announced. This is not only because of the joy of change, but also because the viewership numbers have been steadily declining since the second season. The principle of “bread and circuses” does not work alone with old bread crusts and last year's concepts.

A mystery from an opera

New for 2024 is an advisory team featuring permanent cast members Palina Rojinski and Rick Kavanian, who receive weekly support from a prominent guest (this time: Max Giesinger). Comedian Kavanian has a clear advantage, he started as “Roostes” in the 7th season and knows the tricks of masked men from his own experience.

The “mystery” figure is also meant to be a fresh hit: every week there is a new VIP hidden under it, which is sure to be revealed. After all, you always wait for these minutes: the emotional moment when the mask falls or is removed. And the sweaty, exhausted star looks out from under the heavy costume. The more these moments are created, the better the ratings.

“Mystery” wears a Venetian carnival style hat and mask. And sings Queen's hit “Somebody to Love” with an operatic vibrato. This time there is no evidence of his true identity, the guessing team has to rely entirely on their ears. “Classic vocal training,” says Max Giesinger expertly, as the whole puzzle hits all the high notes. Hence his tip: Max Raabe.

When will Stefan Raab finally come?

“Thomas Hermanns,” believes Palina Rojinski, “Erwin Schrott,” suspects Rick Kavanian. And the council community through the app? In all seriousness, rely on Stefan Raab. The mystery drags out the revelation to the max, but in the end it comes out of the hot cage in the shape of a bird's head: the opera star Rolando Villazón! Next week the mask – hopefully cleaned – goes to a new person. Maybe it's Stefan Raab then.

Baby lion and Robodog, couch potato and crocodile: Pro Sieben makeup artists did their best again. For the stars below, however, even something as fluffy as dressing up as “casual” means hard work. “Our celebrities run marathons and sprints at the same time,” claims producer Tobias. For example, the crocodile looks like only a bodybuilder could wear heavy leather clothes. But can Arnold Schwarzenegger sing? And does he have a federal license?

In addition, live production weeks are a time of emergency for everyone: you can't tell anyone about your participation, everything is done under the strictest of secrecy. ProSieben even reportedly sought the expertise of a former SEK employee for the top-secret concept. Tension is a very fragile thing – and revealing the participants prematurely would completely ruin the success of the season.

Couch potatoes are the first to be attacked

Karaoke meets a colorful carnival: Despite all the innovations, it is this simple formula that makes the “Masked Singer” work for its tenth year. The singing can't always keep up with the power of the costumes, but it's not necessary, after all, we're not looking for the “Voice” here, but “only” the person behind the mask.

This time, the first real revelation hits the couch potato, recalling Palina Rojinski as Florian David Fitz, Giesinger from Reiner Calmund and Rick Kavanian from Matthias Schweighöfer. And the viewers? Count on Stefan Raab again. But after the couch potato has struggled to peel himself out of his shell, Hugo Egon Balder suddenly appears on stage: “I'm 74 now and I've already noticed how it is inside the coffin,” he describes his claustrophobic costume experience. Why did he participate anyway? “Because I like the format.” It's that simple with The Masked Singer. Even in the tenth year.