‘The Masked Dancer’s Paula Abdul on ‘Salivating’ When It’s ‘Word Up’ Time

Paula Abdul
Courtesy of Fox

Can a Tulip trip the light fantastic? On this Masked Singer spinoff, yes! (See below.) And so can an Ice Cube, a Sloth, a Zebra, and a Disco Ball. In fact, 10 costumed celebrities bring their best moves to win the Diamond Mask Trophy.

Craig Robinson (The Office) hosts, with Singer‘s Ken Jeong, Beverly Hills, 90210‘s Brian Austin Green, High School Musical‘s Ashley Tisdale, and dancer-choreographer Paula Abdul on the Masked Dancer panel. She takes us through the steps:

You judged on So You Think You Can Dance and Live to Dance, but this is a different type of competition. What’s changed for you?

Paula Abdul: I don’t have to say, “You didn’t point your feet on your tendu” and “Your grand jeté didn’t have much airlift.” It’s not about that. It’s about these contestants having an amazing time in their costumes.

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Plus, what's different from 'The Masked Singer'?

Speaking of…how tough is it to actually dance in those outfits? Contestants are doing ballet, tap, even Jazzercise!

Bravo to the costume designers [Candice Rainwater and Gabrielle Letamendi]. The costumes have the same wow factor [as Singer‘s], but there’s a lot of Lycra. Those who needed to kick high could.

Who among the panelists is getting more guesses right?

I don’t mean to pat my back but.… [Laughs] I was pretty good. Sometimes I recognized the walk or stance of the person. As a choreographer, I pick up on the weirdest things. And the clues [can] take you on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Tulip The Masked Dancer Fox Singer Spinoff

(Michael Becker/FOX)

What’s “Word Up”?

It’s the only time the dancer’s voice isn’t modulated. They say one word that’s part of a clue. When Craig says, “It’s time for ‘Word Up,'” Ken and I start salivating like horses at the starting gate.

The Masked Dancer, Series Premiere, Sunday, December 27, 8/7c, Fox