Post Mortems

Masked Singer Skeleton's Top 10 List: Reasons the Surreal Singing Show Is a Blast — Even When You're Unmasked

Despite getting unmasked Wednesday, the man in the Skeleton costume has no bones to pick with The Masked Singer.

In fact, former Late Show With David Letterman band leader Paul Shaffer says the experience was one of the best of his life. (Read a full recap of Wednesday’s episode here.)

Shaffer has had stints on series as varied as Saturday Night Live, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Schitt’s Creek. But in the spirit of his most famous gig — playing Letterman’s sidekick/musical director for decades — we grabbed some choice bits from TVLine’s chat with Shaffer on Thursday for…


10. IT PROVES YOU’RE QUINTESSENTIALLY YOU | “I was trying my best not to do my usual mannerisms,” Shaffer says. “But you end up doing them, anyway.” So much so, in fact that both Letterman and Shaffer’s best friend Martin Short — whom judge Ken Jeong was sure was underneath the foam skull — both phoned Shaffer after Season 2 began and said they knew it was him. (Contractually obligated to silence, Shaffer says, he confirmed nothing.)

9. THE COSTUME DEPARTMENT IS ON IT… | The show’s costuming team makes sure that singers don’t have to spend a minute more than is necessary inside their giant get-ups. “When you come off [stage], they rush you out of that thing,” he says. “They know you’re uncomfortable in there.”

8. … BUT SOMETIMES YOU’VE GOTTA SUCK IT UP | The exception to the above? When a singer must do a later-in-the-show Smackdown performance, as Skeleton did in Episode 1 against Egg. Then, “you’re stuck in the suit.”

7. IT KEEPS YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT |”The strap under your chin has to be tight so the big head doesn’t rattle around,” he recalls.

6. THE JUDGES DON’T REALLY MATTER (IN A GOOD WAY!) | Shaffer says he was neither surprised nor disappointed when some of the judges guessed his true identity early on in the season. After all, “The game doesn’t hinge on that.”

5. THE RIGHTS-CLEARANCE DEPARTMENT? ALSO ON IT | Had he progressed to the next episode, Shaffer would’ve sung The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” “which appealed to me,” he says, “because you never hear anybody but the Stones do that song. It costs too much.”

4. WHAT YOU HEAR IS WHAT YOU GET | Shaffer says as far as he knows, there’s no sweetening of the singers’ vocals between when they tape and when they air: “They certainly didn’t do anything to my vocals. It’s all the way live.”

3. NOT ALL HEROES WEAR MASKS | Shaffer had high praise for “how nice everybody was” on set. (Wait, was he a sugar skeleton? Because that was sweet.)

2. IT TESTS YOUR BRAIN | Shaffer memorized the lyrics to “Rapper’s Delight,” which he performed in the season premiere — partly because he knew and loved the song (“I was around” when it came out, he reminds us) and partly because he couldn’t see the Teleprompter through his mask’s eyeholes.


1. YOU GET TO KEEP THE HOODIE (BUT NOT THE VISOR) | While walking around on set, singers are made to wear visors that cover their faces and hoodies that say “Don’t Talk to Me” — all to keep their identities a secret from everyone, even each other. The facewear stayed in Shaffer’s dressing room, he says, but he’s a fan of the sweatshirt he took home. “It would be good on Halloween, if I get invited to a party,” he adds.

Watch video of Shaffer’s unmasking below, then hit the comments: Were you surprised to see who was under Skeleton’s mask?

TAGS: , ,
GET MORE: Post Mortems