Netflix’s social media competition show The Circle has returned for a fourth season, and there are some surprising celebrities among the players. Spice Girls members Melanie “Mel B” Brown and Emma Bunton (aka Scary Spice and Baby Spice) are on this season as special contestants, and they’re going through the full Circle experience, living together in a stylish, camera-filled apartment for their time on the show.
It turns out both of the iconic singers are massive fans of The Circle, and in their time on the show, they show off some savvy social media and people skills. If you want to know more about their run on the show, read on.
Who are Mel B and Emma playing as?
The two members of the most famous girl group of all time are pretty well-known among all ages, so if they entered the show as themselves, they would’ve had a big hurdle to overcome. (They probably would have been eliminated quick, à la faux-Lance Bass in season 2). So instead of playing as themselves, they joined the season as a catfishing team.
Their character, chosen for them by the top influencer at the time, is a 28-year-old children’s author named Jared. Besides the age, occupation, and some photos, the pop stars build the profile and the character’s backstory themselves, which leads to some fun strategizing.
“We need to think of what our books are called, and how many books have we written,” Bunton says after they enter the game. “I feel pretty nervous about making sure we know everything about Jared. We gotta write it all down, we just gotta be clever about it.”
Are Mel B and Emma playing for a prize?
The short answer is no, the two Spice Girls aren’t playing for money. Instead, they’re on a catfishing mission with a limited time frame. If they successfully deceive the majority of the players, with the fake Jared going undetected, the season’s prize fund will increase by $50,000 for the eventual winner (so going from $100k to $150k.
In an Entertainment Weekly interview, executive producer Toni Ireland said that Bunton and Mel B were game to play because they were both fans of the show and “loved the challenge of creating a character.”
She added, “The whole plan was that they would never stay for the duration, and they didn’t want to be in the chance of winning or anything like that. They were just special guests there to create a bit of mischief, which is exactly what they did.”
What happens to Mel B and Emma on the show?
Spoilers for The Circle season 4 ahead. The pair hit the ground running once their avatar entered the competition, making alliances with some players and even getting flirty with one, sex therapist Alyssa. They kept details about Jared’s work vague, saying that his books are about animals and poop, and that “kids dig it.”
Viewers also get several sweet moments of Bunton and Mel B just living together in their Circle apartment, cooking for each other, and taking care of Mel B’s pup Cookie. Ireland told EW that the two celebs were treated like the rest of the cast as that’s what both they and the crew wanted.
“They were a pleasure to have on the show,” she said. “Everything you see is exactly how it was. They were just a joy. They were so much fun and they had such a laugh together and it was great to hear all the tour stories that they were talking about… And as a Spice Girls fan myself, I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m watching this.'”
Eventually, the show begins dropping hints about the celeb catfishes—and providing some excellent fan service—with all the contestants, including Bunton and Mel B, having a ’90s dance party where they all dance to “Wannabe.” It turns out that several of the players, especially marketing consultant Yu Ling and paranormal researcher Rachel, are huge fans. So once the pair reveals themselves with a pre-filmed video introducing themselves as catfish, there are some top-notch responses. (Yu Ling says she wants to wash their feet, which, fair).
After the big reveal, the players are told that the next night, they will vote on which profile they believe are really Bunton and Mel B. The duo get another day to throw off suspicion, and they even play a Spice Girls trivia game with the players. They claim that Jared’s sister was a huge Spice Girls fan, but they answer an obvious question wrong to keep the players guessing.
The end of episode 4 shows the beginning of the vote, with two players voting correctly and four picking other profiles as the catfish. The pair only need one more incorrect answer to win…and we’ll see if they do when the next batch of episodes premiere on May 11.