The Masked Singer revealed its sixth celebrity contestant at the end of tonight’s episode, and I was very surprised, because it absolutely destroyed one of the key criteria I’ve been using to exclude potential singers.
(This story reveals what happened on the “Friends in High Places” episode of The Masked Singer season 3, the final episode to focus on group B singers.)
The four remaining singers in group B were Kitty, Taco, Banana, and Frog, and it was Taco who had the least amount of votes from the studio audience.
Each contestant had a friend appear in their clue package, and also gave friendship bracelets to a judge they had a connection with. Taco’s concealed friend turned out to be Bob Saget—who’d come up as a potential candidate for the person behind the mask.
But no one guessed who it actually was, including me: Tom Bergeron, host of Dancing with the Stars and former host of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
That was a great surprise, but also completely wrecked criteria I’ve been using to guess: I’ve assumed that none of the contestants would be someone who’s actively part of another network’s reality show, especially not a host.
When judges guess massive, A-list stars, like Lady Gaga, I just scoff. It’s far more likely that, say, Howie Mandel would appear on The Masked Singer than Lady Gaga, but every time his name comes up, I’m like, No! NBC would not let Howie Mandel appear on Fox’s breakout reality show hit, duh. Because Howie is one of the judges and stars of America’s Got Talent, which is a huge hit for NBC in the summer.
My expectation is that the masked singers will be people who are looking to find their way back into the spotlight, or to at least redefine themselves, not be actively starring on another network’s major reality competition.
More importantly, I just couldn’t imagine NBC, ABC, or CBS allowing one of their stars to appear on The Masked Singer, which has been the big break-out reality show hit for the past year, with ratings that consistently beat Survivor.
But clearly, ABC did!
On Twitter, Bergeron explained how he was cast:
“I was the last person cast for Group B. The exec-producer, whom I had worked with on @DancingABC years ago, saw that I recorded a song for a Fred Rogers tribute album and asked if I’d like to do it. Only two costumes remained. The other one was a jellyfish.”
He also posted his “Unmasked” video (above) explaining why he said yes to being on the Fox show. He said, in part:
“To be honest, the reason I wanted to do the show is because so many of the people who work on this show, I’ve worked with. And the prospect of doing something in their midst and fooling them was too good to pass up.”
I suppose my theory might have been destroyed by last season’s Masked Singer winner, Wayne Brady.
He’s appeared on So You Think You Can Dance and RuPaul’s Drag Race as a guest judge, and on Hollywood Game Night and Drop the Mic as a contestant.
But he has hosted CBS’s Let’s Make a Deal since 2009, and is also one of the stars of another network’s show: The CW’s Whose Line is it Anyway, a show that he’s been on since 1998.
Still, neither of those feel equivalent to Dancing with the Stars, or at least they don’t feel like direct competition.
None of the other Masked Singer cast members have been actively part of another major TV show, unless I am forgetting someone.
As Bergeron pointed out after he took off his tomato head mask, The Masked Singer panelists have direct connections to Dancing with the Stars:
- Nicole Scherzinger won DWTS season 10, and since she danced to a Kiss song, Bergeron gave her a friendship bracelet with “kiss” on it (a clue that really threw her off; she had to ask him what it meant)
- Robin Thicke performed “Living In New York City” on the DWTS season 27 finale
Since DWTS has cast many, many B-, C-, and D-list stars over its 15 year history, it feels like even more direct competition to The Masked Singer, which is looking for similar talent—though The Masked Singer has been getting bigger stars this season, especially.
Perhaps now Phil Keoghan or Jeff Probst, Julie Chen or Ryan Seacrest, Terry Crews or Simon Cowell, will now appear on The Masked Singer. Or perhaps not!
Recommended for you: Answers to all your Masked Singer questions