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The Masked Singer

How George Calombaris kept his appearance on The Masked Singer Australia a total secret

Did you guess he was hiding under the Duster mask?

By Catie Powers
The Masked Singer Australia is off to a whacky start, with fans left scratching their heads over the identities of 12 new contestants.
One of them was 'Duster' who performed Ray Charles' Shake Your Tail on this season's second episode and had the judges throwing out wild guesses about the celebrity under the mask.
Sporting legends Shane Warne and Michael Clarke were Dannii Minogue and Dave 'Hughesy' Hughes' picks, while Urzila Carlson guessed Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
Jackie 'O' Henderson took a stab in the dark and guessed English chef Gordon Ramsey - and her guess turned out to be the closest!
It was actually former MasterChef judge George Calombaris hiding under the Duster mask, shocking the judges and audience when he revealed himself.

George, who is more acclimated to a kitchen than a stage, revealed to New Idea that the pre-performance nerves were actually akin to his first moment at culinary school.
"I was so so so so nervous. It was sort of like my first moment at culinary school, nervous but so excited. I haven't felt this way in a long time; you're suddenly doing something you're not comfortable with.
"Put me on stage cooking, no problem, but to get up and sing, and also you've got to dance, and wear this costume, it's a real daunting thing."
But nerves were soon replaced with relief once it was over, as well as the joy of witnessing his kids' - Michaela and James - faces after seeing their dad on stage.
"To see the reactions on my kids' faces last night was mind blowing, wonderful stuff," the 42-year-old gushed to New Idea.
Despite George confessing he was "dying to tell so many people", the only people who were allowed to know about the chef's Masked Singer gig were his wife Natalie and his manager.
The MasterChef alum told the outlet how he and Natalie hid the stint from his kids.
"It was tough because I had to go to Sydney for two weeks. Luckily enough I was filming something else at the same time so I used that as my decoy excuse.
"I persuaded them by sending myself an email on the weekend saying that we'd been asked to audition for Gogglebox so we need to set up an iPad in our lounge room. So that was genius," adding that it was his wife's idea.
The one downside of the experience is that George is now known as "the duster" to his best mates. But the professional chef insisted he was "rapt" with his costume, even if he didn't get to pick it.
"Very smart by the producers, they've got to pick things that don't give too much away. I reckon if they stuck me in a pavlova or a kebab it would have been a bit too obvious.
"As soon as I heard I was going to have a duster costume I was wrapped because I'm a bit OCD and a little bit of a germaphobe so, for me, cleaning is a daily thing I love doing. I've always said it, a clean chef is a great chef. I enjoyed being in my costume."
As for singing, George revealed he had a bit of experience in his school choir (as well as his shower and karaoke) but relied on his vocal coach and school friend Gary Pinto to get him performance ready.
"I remember walking out on stage and looking at Gary Pinto, who was my vocal coach, going 'Gaz, I think I'm going to forget my words' and he's like 'You're not'.
"And you just sort of get pushed out, like literally you're free falling, you're jumping out of an aeroplane and just going 'Right, let's just go for this, come on you can do it'."
As for the clues, many of the hints led the judges and viewers at home down the same path – that the Duster was a cricketer. George explained how his clues came to be and why so many people jumped to the same conclusion.
George Calombaris was unmasked on episode two of The Masked SInger Australia. (Ten)
"In the clues package there was David Beckham - I've cooked for him. There was the Swiss flag – I was a Swiss ambassador.
"There was the Australian coat of arms, that's why they thought I was a cricketer – I've represented Australia in the culinary Olympics.
"They (the producers) basically go through your life which is quite a weird thing to do. I'm never one to be sitting there talking about any of my past because I'm not really a past person I want to look forward. Seeing that package was even quite surprising for me."
And while none of the judges correctly guessed George's identity, the MasterChef alum revealed that he actually does have an interesting connection to Urzila's pick of Sachin Tendulkar.
"I got to cook for him in India a couple years back," the chef told New Idea, explaining he is "one of (his) cricket idols".
"To be thought of as him was quite cool actually, I was quite chuffed."
This article originally appeared on our sister site New Idea.

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