The Masked Singer might’ve aired its plush-furred finale Wednesday, but its second- and third-place finishers say the lessons they gleaned from Season 2 will endure.
“It was this very liberating freedom to just perform and not worry about them going, ‘Why would he do a song like that? He’s this type of artist. Why is he moving like that? I don’t buy it,'” says American Idol alum Chris Daughtry, whose Rottweiler came in second; Let’s Make a Deal host Wayne Brady — aka Fox — took the top prize. (Read a full recap of the finale.) “But it made me feel free to fully embrace all of it.”
In separate interviews Thursday, TVLine chatted with Daughtry and The Real host/Flamingo Adrienne Bailon for some inside scoop on the loony singing competition’s lasting effects.
TVLINE | I read that the inspiration for your costume came from a time a Rottweiler bit you when you were a teen?
DAUGHTRY | Yeah. My my mom was taking care of this elderly lady who had a Rottweiler as a guard dog. And she was like, oh, she’s super sweet and it’s okay to pat her. I put my hand at her face, and she snapped at my leg and it scared the living s–t out of me. It it didn’t put me in the hospital, but it definitely left a mark. And from that day forward, I was terrified of Rottweilers. So when I saw the costume, I instantly resonated and connected the dots with it.I thought it was a nice juxtaposition to the scary Rottweiler that bit me versus how cute this thing was. It was kind of like me embodying my fear, so to speak. Like Batman.
TVLINE | Adrienne, you talked a lot this season about how the show helped you find your confidence. Can you explain to the average viewer, who might see you on The Real and think there’s no way you’d have an issue like that, exactly what you meant?
BAILON | I think people don’t realize that when you live a life in the public, yeah, there’s a lot of people who’ll be like, “Yeah, she’s awesome.” But there are going to be people who don’t feel that way. They actually say that the way our brains are set up, which is so crazy scientifically, is that there could be a hundred great comments, and our minds will focus on the one negative. Throughout my career I’ve had to retrain my mind to focus on the positive, and that’s not always been easy to do. It’s worse when you’re your worst critic, and the negative thoughts are coming from yourself. I think that’s even harder. I shared on The Real that I didn’t love the sound of my voice, although I loved singing and I loved music. It’s definitely my first passion. But yeah, it’s really been a struggle, especially after leaving the girl group [3LW]. I really thought that I wanted to pursue a solo career, and then you learn that loving to sing isn’t enough, that it actually is a business. What’s your marketing? What’s your look going to be? What’s your sound going to be? I didn’t really have any of those things; I just loved to sing. That was a weird transition for my career. And then obviously going on The Real. In between that time, I stopped singing and was like, “Yeah, I’m good. I’ll just sing in my shower and for my family.” And that’s really where I’ve been for the past seven years. I really haven’t been performing or recording. My husband did convince me to do a Christmas album, which was so much fun to do. And again, that was the security net of like, “It’s a Christmas album. You can’t be mad at somebody singing about the holidays!”
TVLINE | What was it like the first time a judge correctly guessed your identity?
BAILON | I was like, how the heck does she know me? I know it sounds weird, but when you’re you, you don’t view yourself the way other people view you. So I’m like, “Jenny McCarthy knows who the heck I am?” It’s so random. Even though I’ve been on her show, but that was years ago. You don’t think someone’s going to remember you. That was crazy… I didn’t know what to do in that moment, so just kept shaking like I did the entire season.
TVLINE | Chris, you’re no stranger to being judged publicly on your singing. Aside from the obvious, how did your experience on The Masked Singer differ from your American Idol run?
DAUGHTRY | It was pretty cathartic. You’re forced to be with yourself in such a constricted, isolated avatar… It was very isolating. You didn’t really get a chance to communicate with anyone. And you weren’t sure of what you were up against at any given time. Which was kind of a good thing, because you don’t second-guess yourself and you don’t know, “I’ve got to change my song now because I just heard so-and-so do this. And now I’m you know, now I’m second guessing everything I’ve done at this point.” It’s so easy as an artist to get in your head like that… There were moments where I felt more present than I ever felt, because you’re forced to. [Laughs] I’m sitting on the stage. I can’t talk to anyone. I see the other charcters sitting, as well, and it’s so surreal. I’m like, what is my life right now? [Laughs] I’ve never done acid, but I can imagine this is what it’s like.
TVLINE | What was your most nerve-wracking moment this season on stage?
BAILON | The most nerve-wracking moment definitely was the first time I sang a ballad. I had no dancers and I didn’t have the energy that I’m known for bringing. I just had to stand there and sing and also walk down a flight of steps with no vision. Literally, you’re blind inside of that mask. So walking down a flight of steps, hoping I don’t fall, and trying to hit the high notes of the Loren Allred song from The Greatest Showman “Never Enough” was definitely the scariest moment of the entire season for me. My legs felt like spaghetti, and I was so sure that the weight of my beak was going to take me down at any moment. It was about staying on my two feet.
TVLINE | Did you guess any of the other contestants’ identities?
DAUGHTRY | My trailer was beside the Fox’s the whole season, and I could hear him warm it up. I assume he could hear me. My manager and I were really trying to figure it out. We could never really pinpoint it. And I know Wayne. So it was really funny when I found out it was him.
BAILON | I barely heard what the other contestants sounded like singing. The only time, I was at a rehearsal for sound and production, and Raven — the Black Widow — went right before me and I got to hear the tail end of her singing the Cher song “Believe.” I was like, “Wait a second. There’s no way I’ve done two albums with this girl and not recognize her voice.” I definitely knew that was [my Cheetah Girls co-star] Raven [Symoné]. The other person I guessed was Michelle Williams, who I’m great friends with. Once I figured out it was her, we taped on a Tuesday and later that evening, I attended her 40th birthday, a private dinner. We’re sitting across from each other at the dinner table, no one says anything. We acted like it didn’t even happen. And the next day we were back on set and I knew for a fact she was there. Those are the only two I guessed.
DAUGHTRY | I remember when the Leopard performed, I instantly heard his voice and I go, “Oh, my God, that’s Seal. Oh, my God. I’m on the same show with Seal?!. This is so amazing. I’m such a big Seal fan. I didn’t get any of the other ones. I couldn’t figure it out.
BAILON | Oh, and I guessed Seal.
DAUGHTRY | And then I went to find out that I was up against Patti LaBelle?! I’m so glad I didn’t know that was her. There is no way I would have had the confidence to go out there and do what I did. [Laughs]