• TV Ana Obregón returns to television, Mask Singer returns

Only 15 people from a team of hundreds know the biggest secret of television in Spain: Mask singer: guess who sings, which returns tonight to Antena 3 with its third season. Neither the designers of the famous masks, Cristina Rodríguez and Raúl Madrid, nor the members of the producers Atresmedia and Fremantle, nor the team that makes the program, nobody, absolutely nobody, knows who is hiding under masks in which they work more than 5 months for their creation.

Raúl Madrid says that it is "absolutely like a state secret" in which those who participate in the whole process to shape the program sign "bestial", in the words of the director of Entertainment of Atresmedia, Carmen Ferreiro, confidentiality clauses. "The ugly thing would be that in a program that is based on masks and secrecy it was broken by a slip. Ojito to break confidentiality contracts!", warns the designer.

Even the driver who transports celebrities to recordings or costume tests has fascinating codes for not recognizing who is in the back seat. All the characters and their representatives wear helmets and are given a blackboard so that they can address the driver during the journey. They don't want them to be able to hear the voice and identify who the man or woman is under the helmet. Production picks them up with a car that they open themselves with automatic keys and the driver, who does not know the route, enters when they are already in their seats.

They are even ordered to disable the Bluetooth of their phones so that no one can track them. And when they are the recordings they throw all the audience from the set that is then seen in the broadcast, and they throw out the whole team and only the judges remain, which this year are Los Javis, Ana Obregón and Mónica Naranjo, and the cameraman.

Giving life to one of the masks of Mask singer 3.FREMANTLE

A process of custody and confidentiality that also happens when creating the masks. It is "a completely blind job, but we love it," say Raúl Madrid and Cristina Rodríguez. What Fremantle moves to them is an object, an animal, a character. For example, a chair. And only with that do they begin to work. They do not know if a man or a woman is going to go under it, or what measurements it has, or what number of feet, or what radius of head. They only have the object and from there it is time to create the personality, the visibility that the person who puts it on will have, the spectacularity, the grandeur and, for some time, "also the comfort".

"The first thing we do is decide the personality that each mask will have. That is, if it is going to be playful, unruly, sweet. For this we always look for references everywhere because to create you need to see, look and travel. you don't think you're sitting in the armchair at home," explains Rodríguez. When they have the sketches on paper, they transfer them to the different workshops -one in Portugal and two in Spain- to which they also indicate the type of fabrics, makeup, colors ... And it is not until almost the end of creation when Raúl Madrid and Cristina Rodríguez become a kind of 'moles'. The workshops can no longer give them data such as height or waist contour because, again, they would give details that can reveal what everyone wants to discover. "I swear I have no fucking idea who's inside," says the designer.

They don't tell us anything. They are watertight compartments so that nothing leaks

Cristina Rodríguez, designer

Neither of them knows more than what they send themselves to the workshops, and they protect it almost with their lives. "I do not teach anything to anyone, not even my husband, he only sees cutouts on the table in a serial killer mode," says Cristina Rodríguez, who also insists that "we do not know that underneath there may be a man or a woman, we do not know how they test them, they do not tell us anything. They are watertight compartments so that nothing leaks out."

That is the key to the success of Mask Singer that in its first season made an average audience of 26% of screen share and the second 21%, that the viewer has no idea who can hide under each of the 12 masks. That's why confidentiality is so important. First, with the masks themselves, only designers and a few workshop workers know which ones and how they have been created. And, then, with the characters, who agree to become an alien with two heads, a giant baby or a real pharaoh.

The final drawing of the mask of the aliens. ATRESMEDIA

In fact, two of these masks – the alien and the baby – have been the most complicated to create this season because, as Cristina Rodríguez explains, "it is very easy not to think about the comfort of those inside". "At the beginning we made the masks super spectacular and each time we had to go to more discreet masks so that the character can move because it is impossible for you to dance and at the same time be spectacular and giant," he says. And it is that the giant baby of this season is one of the most huge masks that have been made in these three seasons: "It cost us a lot to give birth. We did a lot of sketches because he didn't have the personality we wanted, because he was either too naughty or too naughty."

It takes a week to create the sketch of each mask, Cristina Rodriguez and Raul Madrid, who are also designers of the Netflix series Elite. They don't have any more time. In creating the 12 masks, more than two months, in which they take shape, half a year. And although they recognize that working blindly is complicated, they also praise that they have "never" found so much freedom when it comes to designing. "There are people who see it as if we designed costumes, but it's not like that, it's an incredible process," says Madrid. "You never get the chance to make a chaladura like the opportunity Mask Singer gives us. It's playing, imagining and drawing like when you were little," he concludes.

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