Interview by Paul Salfen
The fifth season of the American reality competition streaming series The Circle premiered on Netflix on December 28, 2022. Michelle Buteau returned as host. The season is the first to have a subtitle, known as The Circle Singles. Players compete without ever actually meeting in person; they communicate through a simulated social media interface, portraying themselves in any way they choose.
The Circle (American TV series) Format
The players move into the same apartment building. However, the contestants do not meet face-to-face during the course of the competition, as they each live in their own individual apartment. They communicate solely using their profiles on a specially-designed social media app that gives them the ability to portray themselves in any way they choose. Players can thus opt to present themselves as a completely different personality to the other players, a tactic otherwise known as catfishing.
Throughout the series, the contestants “rate” one another from first to last place. At the end of the ratings, their average ratings are revealed to one another from lowest to highest. Normally, the two highest-rated players become “Influencers”, while the remaining players will be at risk of being “blocked” by the Influencers. However, occasionally there may be a twist to the blocking process – varying from the lowest rating players being instantly blocked, the identity of the Influencers being a secret, or multiple players being blocked at one time. Blocked players are eliminated from the game, but are given the opportunity to meet one player still in the game in-person. Then, the day after a blocking, a video message is shown to the remaining players to reveal if they were real or fake.
During the finale, the contestants rate each other one final time, where the highest rated player wins the game and US$100,000. Also, fans of The Circle are able to vote for their favorite player. The player that receives the most votes is known as the Fan Favorite and receives US$10,000.