Alex Rudzinski Interview: ‘The Masked Singer’ director
“We were very lucky to be wrapped, done and dusted before everything shut down,” says Alex Rudzinski about “The Masked Singer” being able to air Season 3 before the coronavirus pandemic fully took over Hollywood. In his exclusive interview with Gold Derby the director adds, “In these times it’s great to have an entertainment show such as ‘Masked Singer’ that everyone can just extricate themselves from the reality and the craziness of the current world and just have great, multi-generational family fun.” Watch our exclusive interview with Rudzinski discussing directing the hit Fox reality TV competition series above.
Rudzinski credits the much of the success of the series to the costumes created for each celebrity. “We have an incredible design team from the get go,” he explains. “We pitch a load of different ideas to the network every season as to what characters could be. We have a pool of creatives within the show that dream up ideas. The Taco! Who would have thought about that? The great thing about ‘Masked Singer’ is that you can embrace the weirdness of it all. We pitch the ideas to the singers themselves to make sure they’re comfortable with that character and that they resonate somehow internally with the story of that specific characterization.”
The director has won Emmys for working on live productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Grease,” but would he ever consider going live for “The Masked Singer”? “We’ve definitely talked about it,” he responds. “It’s on the cards. Whether the whole season would be live is a different question. The show has been very successful in different territories and I think Germany is one they actually run it live. We’ve been laser focused on how it does in other territories and what we can pinch from each other. There’s definitely potential to do a part of the show live. Sometimes being able to edit helps us be able to tell the story.”
With so many moving parts on a competition series such as this, Rudzinski shares with us some of the work that goes into filming each episode. “It’s a tight turnaround,” he emphasizes. “They do vocal training. The singers are part of the editorial discussion about choosing the tracks that they want to perform. They start rehearsing that song within the week leading up to the taping of that episode. As a creative team we decide how to stage that song. Some of the most powerful moments of ‘Masked Singer’ have been individual characters. I think of T-Pain, I think of Monster just being in a singular spotlight and just having the intense power of the voice can be the most powerful staging. But I also think of T-Rex this season and we were doing huge Bollywood numbers with dinosaurs jumping all around the stage.”
Looking back over the first three seasons, there is one celebrity who instantly stands out as someone Rudzinski was shocked to discover was on the show: Sarah Palin. “Here’s the thing, I, as the director of the show, do not know who these characters are,” he reveals. “I swear to God. Which is great for me because I get to play along in the control room.” So how many people on set are actually aware of their identities? “There are probably about 16 people,” Rudzinski explains. “A lot of them are from the network or from legal. Obviously one or two close stage managers and one audio guy because they have to mic them up. But the majority of the crew of 150 people have no idea so we’re all playing along in real time, which is fantastic! Sarah Palin blew me out of the water, I had no idea.