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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Sarah Robertson

Masked Singer's Joel Dommett reveals naughtiest judge and why it's best season ever

As the host of The Masked Singer, its dance spin off and the National Television Awards, Joel Dommett has millions of eyes on him.

But the presenter confesses his A-list gigs are easier than performing for peanuts as a comedy unknown.

Joel, 37, says: “I come from the world of stand-up which is an entirely different ­pressure when you’re under real scrutiny there and then.

“Whereas TV pressure is easier in a strange way, because when I go on and do, say, the NTAs, there’s a huge pressure being in front of 15,000 people and five ­million people watching at home, and all these celebrities are in front of you.

“But, at the end of the day I’ve got a little screen that I can read and I’m not alone up there having to come up with it out of nowhere like stand up.”

The actor, presenter and funnyman says his long career, which started with small parts in TV dramas and sitcoms, was all good training.

Joel Dommett and Scissors in the hit ITV show (ITV)

He adds: “It’s just not happened out of nowhere. I’ve been doing stand-up for almost 14 years, which is absolutely ridiculous.

“I do feel quite relaxed about it because I feel like lockdown really changed me in that way that it really made me take stock, and sort of take a step back and realise what I have achieved, and how lucky I am to be living this life in a job that I love and enjoy.”

Joel’s big telly breakthrough came in 2016 when he came second in the 16th series of I’m A Celebrity, behind Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt.

Joel Dommett really made his name in 2016's I'm a Celebrity (ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

And these days, the Masked Dancer host doesn’t panic about trying to sustain his career – because there’s room for all his TV rivals.

He says: “It’s so lovely to look at all of my generation of comics, like Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan, James Acaster, Josh Widdicombe. I did A League Of Their Own recently, and I and Romesh were like, ‘Oh my God, how mad is it that we’re doing this?’

“Because we all know about the reality of us once doing gigs in front of eight people together in a dingy venue in the middle of nowhere for no money.

“We’ve been there together, and now we’re all on TV together being hoisted to the top of the studio in front of Jamie Redknapp!”

Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall, Joel Dommett, Rita Ora and Jonathan Ross (ITV)

The gradual build has made the presenter even more grateful for his career success.

He says humbly: “I think what’s lovely about comedy is it makes you appreciate those moments because you’ve kind of gone on this really long ladder that has sort of brought you to where you are today.

“Sometimes, it’s really hard if you go into a show and then suddenly you become famous.

“You go from being a plasterer to being the face of Boohoo and the biggest thing around – it’s really difficult and it’s a mad thing to sort of adjust to. I’m glad I came up the way I did.”

Joel Dommett reveals Adam Garcia to the viewers last season (ITV)

The Masked Singer returns today, with Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall, Rita Ora and Jonathan Ross on the panel – and Joel reveals they have the best ever showbiz contestants.

The wacky costumes are back, with characters including Rubbish – a recycling bin – Jacket Potato and the first duo, Cat & Mouse.

Joel says: “I think, by far, this is the best season we’ve done. The calibre of the people. Everyone just feels huge.

“They’re all massive and relevant, as well. It’s someone that you’re like, ‘Wow, this is a huge star’.

“When you’re stood next to someone for an entire series, and then they get revealed as someone that’s absolutely legendary, you’re like, ‘They’ve stood next to me the entire time’. It feels so weird, to be that close to someone who’s such a legend.”

Joel Dommett is the host of The Masked Singer (ITV)

Rita Ora is the naughtiest on the panel, Joel divulges. “It’s so funny in that unfiltered, childlike nature that she has. This series, we’ve gone through a lot of her trying to figure out what a pun is, because we realised she doesn’t understand – even though it’s series four, and I do puns constantly on the show.”

His celeb mates beg him now to get them on the series – but it wasn’t always the case.

Joel recalls: “I remember when I first did Masked Singer, and it hadn’t been on ­television yet. I was doing Soccer Aid, everyone came up to me and were like, ‘Oh, yeah. I got offered that show that you’re doing, Masked Singer... Yeah, I didn’t want to do it’.

“And then, the next year when I did Soccer Aid, loads of people came up to me, and were like, ‘How can I get on Masked Singer? Can you get me on?’”

Joel Dommett is joined by Cat & Mouse (ITV)

While the season airs, Joel keeps a low profile to stop being quizzed by fans – and even celebs desperate to know who is who.

He admits: “I have to stay in my house during Masked Singer or Masked Dancer records because it’s not worth going out, really.

“I remember Rob Brydon saying to me at the NTAs, ‘If Queen Bee isn’t Charlotte Church, I’ll give you my house’. And it turned out she wasn’t Charlotte Church and he still hasn’t given me his house. So technically Rob Brydon owes me a house.”

The Masked Singer starts tomorrow on ITV and ITVX from 6.30pm

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