The first episode of the new series of The Masked Singer began tonight (December 30) but the panel saw a new member appear.

Usually, Rita Ora joins Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall and Jonathan Ross but she was absent for the start of the series.

Did you spot that she wasn’t in her usual seat? Host Joel Dommett explained that Rita Ora would be missing for just one week – here’s why.

Where is Rita Ora? Singer is missing from panel in The Masked Singer’s first episode of new series

Rita Ora is currently in America so she is unable to be part of tonight’s episode, Joel explained.

In her latest Instagram stories, she has been posting what she's been up to in New York.

One was captioned "Oh New York always so glamorous" as she seemed to be stuck in a traffic jam.

However, Ora’s fans don’t have long to wait until she reappears on the show as she’ll only be absent for one week.

In her place was Charlie Simpson from Busted and it’s not his first time on the show.

The singer-songwriter took part in the show in the last series and was crowned the winner.

He performed as Rhino throughout the series and kept the panel guessing till the end.

The first episode saw characters such as Maypole, Cricket, Dippy Egg, Bigfoot and more perform with guesses from the panel coming in at the end of her performance.

Comedian Mo guessed Maypole was Rita Ora under the mask, despite Joel Dommett saying she was in America, while Davina believes it’s singer Anne-Marie who is a coach on The Voice UK.

Each week the panel are tasked with figuring out which celebrity is behind the mask of each costume.

Viewers also get to play along by tweeting their guesses as the official X (formerly Twitter) account for the series shares some of their suggestions.

At the end of the show, Maypole, Dippy Egg and Weather found themselves in the bottom three. 

The panel chose to save Maypole and Dippy Egg meaning it was time for Weather to 'take it off!'

Weather was revealed to be none other than soul legend Dionne Warwick, 83.

Panellist Jonathan Ross clocked Warwick's distinctive tones early on, leading to Charlie and Davina agreeing while Mo guessed at Bonnie Tyler. 

Music icon Dionne, of Walk on By and I Say a Little Prayer fame, left the panel starstruck as she unveiled herself.