Masked Singer in major judge shake-up as ITV confirms Rita Ora replacement

ITV bosses have confirmed there will be a change to the panel for The Masked Singer.

The hit celebrity guessing gameshow has become a major hit, coming back for a fourth series that will air in the new year. But scheduling commitments mean that usual panellist Rita Ora, 33, has had to pull out of some episodes.

The Praising You singer will have to leave the show during several episodes as she keeps to some other events already in her diary. One these commitments is to fill in for Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger on the American version of the show.

READ MORE: Rita Ora missing Masked Singer UK episodes to replace Nicole Scherzinger on US show

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But whilst she will not be on for the entirety of the British edition, a series of new guest panellists will keep her chair warm. And given that Nicole will be in the UK whilst starring in the new West End production Sunset Boulevard, it could be possible that Nicole repays her musical friend by stepping in for her on the British version.

Now, ITV bosses have confirmed that comedy legend Jennifer Saunders will be joining the panel in Rita's place. The Absolutely Fabulous star, 65, is set to bring some added hilarity to things as she sits down with Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall and Jonathan Ross.

An insider close to the show told The Sun: "Jennifer is only filling in for the one show but everyone involved is really excited about it. She's a national treasure and is bound to go down a treat with viewers. It's a real coup for the show".

Rita will be back on the show for some of the episodes, but a source said that due to a "hectic schedule", the Black Widow singer would have to miss some filming for the new series. "Filming on the new instalment begins in the coming weeks and Rita is going to be there when she can," the source added.

Ora herself confirmed she would be missing during some instalments of the show, writing: "I’m gutted to be missing some episodes on the new season but keeping my seat warm are some great guest panellists who I’m told are also super competitive and will keep the others on their toes, especially Jonathan! Bring it on".

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