YOU would be hard-pushed to compete with the extravagant costumes worn by contestants on The Masked Dancer, but Davina McCall has taken up the challenge.
Ahead of tonight’s final of ITV’s Masked Singer spin-off, the judge is even hoping her daring outfit will cause the same controversy as telly’s most risque dresser, Amanda Holden.
In recent years, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda’s low-cut frocks have been criticised by viewers and garnered hundreds of complaints to Ofcom — and Davina, 53, is hot on her showbiz pal’s heels.
She said: “I’ve been plunging my little heart out. I plunged on show two and I had the cleavage to match. Now it’s a ‘plunge-off’ between me and Amanda.
“But I haven’t had an Ofcom complaint yet. I’ve got to work harder. If I get one I’ll be a little bit pleased, if I’m honest. There was always that red latex dress I wore on last night’s show.
“Amanda and I have to have some kind of a duel. I feel like The Sun could organise that. Handbags at dawn!”
But Davina’s daring dresses are far from a new pairing. Ever since those “ladette” days in the Nineties, she’s been flashing her cleavage and midriff. And she isn’t about to stop now.
But Davina insists she is not trying to offend anyone — rather, she wants to avoid being labelled “boring”.
She said: “It’s not about trying to shock or be offensive — I just like to wear things that are a bit edgy or a bit different.
“I always said to my stylist, ‘I’ll try anything but don’t let me be boring’.”
Rather than trying to steal Amanda’s thunder, Davina considers the 50-year-old radio presenter a kindred spirit.
She said: “I’ve actually known Amanda for ever and she’s one of the women in my age group who are still living life to the full.
“And in a funny kind of way it’s us saying to all those pert 30-year-olds, ‘It’s going to be OK. Don’t worry — you’re still going to be having a blast in your fifties and we’re going to show you how’.
“We both feel really proud of that.”
Davina says The Masked Dancer, and the Singer series from which it originated, have given her another chance to indulge the sexy and silly side of her personality, which saw her presenting career soar in the Nineties.
Both series see judges and viewers try to guess the performing celebrities in bizarre costumes.
Davina says that despite having a week’s worth of clues to draw on, it won’t be easy to work out tonight’s finalists.
Me, Zoe and Claudia were the ladettes but look at us now and we’re kind of ageless
She said: “Lots of people have been saying, ‘Oh my God, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be as good as The Masked Singer but this is even more fun because it is even harder’.
“What I love is that The Masked Dancer is not a talent show, it’s a guessing game.
"But what’s really brilliant about tonight’s finale, above anything else, is the sheer quality of the dancing. You’ll be blown away.”
This week “Llama” was revealed to be Radio 2 Breakfast Show’s Zoe Ball, 50 — the BBC’s highest-paid female star.
For Davina it was a defining moment. She said: “I do feel like there is a whole generation of post-50 women that are coming up now.
“There were the ladettes — me, Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Claudia Winkleman — we were all of an era where, I feel like you look at us now and we’re kind of ageless.
“You know, we’ll go out clubbing, but we also like growing our own veg. We still have a toe, or a foot or maybe even a leg in having a laugh.
“We are a different generation of women, possibly the first generation of women, who are now slightly timeless. But it was a surprise I got the job because I didn’t see that coming, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Davina could not believe her luck when producers offered her the judging gig, promising a return to the light-hearted entertainment of Big Brother, which she presented from 2000 to 2010.
She said: “It is so nice to be able to have that kind of fun again. I’ve missed it.
“There were times in my life where I think, ‘I was the Big Brother girl’ with quite rude, saucy scripts. And then I got asked to do ITV’s Long Lost Family.
"And I was so grateful because I thought, ‘Wow, it’s so nice to do something in a different vein’. It’s just really nice to be offered another opportunity where I can be myself, to be a bit silly, have a laugh — and wear really nice dresses.”
But Davina admits she has to be careful not to get too carried away on the show, particularly as she is joined on the panel by jokers Jonathan Ross and Mo Gilligan, as well as host and comedian Joel Dommett.
Davina said: “We are quite careful because we are aware that in our studio audience there are little kids and our microphones are on all the time. The outtakes on that show!
It is so nice to be able to have that kind of fun again, and I have missed it
“Bearing in mind it takes us three hours to record it and we’re just jabbering on, we laugh non-stop.”
But Davina, who has her own fitness empire, has an extra-special connection with fellow panellist Oti Mabuse.
Last week, the two-time Strictly winner told The Sun she had a girl crush on Davina.
She said: “When Oti said that, I was so chuffed because I feel exactly the same way about her. I love her to death and we’ve bonded in a really big way.
"She’s very funny, smart, sassy — my kinda girl. Oti is such a tonic. We get on very well because we have a very similar outlook on life — very grateful and hard-working.
“In television I’m grateful for every single job I get and I always have been since I was 25.
“Because like anybody who’s self-employed, you always think, ‘My last job was my last job’ — until you get the next job.”
On the right we reveal which stars are the bookies’ favourites to be behind the crazy costumes, together with their odds, and which celebs have already been given the boot.
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