The Masked Singer

EXCLUSIVE: The Masked Singer judge Dannii Minogue's hilariously relatable lockdown parenting confession

''I would do live TV any day of the week rather than try to be a teacher for my son.''

By Amber Giles
The list of jobs Dannii Minogue has had over her career is long. But it takes the recording artist and television star just a split second to answer when asked what the toughest gig she's said yes to has been.
"Home schooling is far the hardest," Dannii, 48, tells TV WEEK with a laugh.
"I know it took me a nanosecond to respond, but seriously, I would do live TV any day of the week rather than try to be a teacher for my son."
Like many around the world, Dannii has faced the task of trying to be across maths, English, science and history to help teach her 10-year-old son Ethan, who she shares custody of with her former partner and model Kris Smith.
"I'm Googling non-stop," she says. "I even called his teacher to ask how she does that each day and then go home to two kids, but she reassured me it's always harder to teach her own kids."
But surely with a Minogue –a member of Australian music royalty – as your teacher, the music lesson would be epic?
"Music classes are last on the list for home-schooling," the singer laughs.
"He did have a guitar borrowed from school, but I don't know how to play any instruments, so I'm no help at all with it. I'm a mean Googler."
Dannii Minogue and Kris Smith pictured with their son Ethan, back when they were together. Image: Getty
It's not just the shock of home-schooling that has been a surprise to Dannii. Her recent return to the country and doing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in a private home brought a backlash from some parts of the community.
But a spokesperson for Network 10 told TV WEEK, "Dannii received an exemption from the Queensland government and is following all the protocols required under that exemption."
Dannii is back at home on the Gold Coast. Image: Channel 10
Like many during this time of lockdown, Dannii has had time to reflect on her career and think what might be next. Despite decades of success, she admits she does have the thought that this could be the end for her.
"For the last few years, I've felt with every project, "Is this it? Is this it for me in the industry?" she says.
"I'm nearing 50 – that will be next year. So I do start looking around, thinking, 'How long is this going to go on for?'"
Dannii confesses this self-doubt has been around from early in her career.
"I felt like that when I finished Young Talent Time [in 1988]," she explains. "At the time, I thought "Oh, my God – that was amazing. Nobody ever gets a chance like that again, I'll just go back and try to find something normal to do."
However, the idea of hanging up her stilettos and not being on stage again doesn't sit well with the performer.
"I still want to be challenging my brain," she says. "I still want to be useful; be energetic. If I'm just home-schooling and being a mum, I feel I need a little slice where I can be creative. I just need something I feel like I do fairly well."
The timing couldn't be better than for filming of The Masked Singer to get underway.
"I could not be happier," Dannii says of getting to work on season two.
"This is one of the most fun shows I've ever worked on."
Dannii with her fellow 2019 judges Jackie O, Lindsay Lohan and Dave Hughes. Image: Instagram
Dannii joined the judging panel last year for what was one of the surprise TV hits of 2019.
While some TV critics were sceptical of the concept – a mystery celebrity singing in an over-the-top costume and mask while people guessed who they were – Dannii had no doubt it would be a success.
"I knew it was a hit show, and I'd already watched other [international] versions with my son – just as a punter on the couch – before I was contacted me to be on it," she says.
"So many shows I've worked on I've gone into it as a fan first," Dannii says.
"I was watching Young Talent Time before I was asked to go on it and was a huge fan of X-Factor before being asked to do it. And now with The Masked Singer as well. For me, I want to bring that joy of loving the show to audiences."
This year will be slightly different, with US actress Lindsay Lohan unable to join the panel for season two. Instead, New Zealand-South African comedian Urzila Carlson is coming in to sit next to Dannii and fellow judges Dave Hughes and Jackie Henderson.
But the biggest win for Dannii is being on a panel where three of the four judges are women.
"I've worked on a lot of panels, and I guess I've dreamt of being on panels where there were three chicks," she admits.
"In season one, we brought our Charlie's Angels kind of vibe to it, and this year will be a completely new one. I know Urzila is hilarious!"
Dannii is also looking forward to working with host Osher Günsberg a second time.
"He's just incredible, and absolute the best at what he does," she enthuses.
Dannii admits she's also a huge fan of The Bachelor Australia – another show Osher fronts – and on set he would sometimes switch into Bachie mode just for Dannii.
"He knows how much I was loving The Bachelor last year, so he'd sometimes read some of our scripts in the voice, 'Now say your final goodbyes,' Dannii recalls with a laugh. "I loved it!"
WATCH BELOW: Dannii Minogue addresses The Masked Singer "fake" scandal. Story continues after video.
For those still a tad sceptical about The Masked Singer and not sure if they want to tune in, Dannii urges families to give the second season of the show a go.
"I get what you're thinking – it sounds like it shouldn't work," she says.
"But tune in and then decide."
The Masked Singer airs on Monday and Tuesday nights at 7.30pm on Channel Ten.

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