From Johnny Rotten to Lil Wayne ... there have been some truly surprising reveals
The Masked Singer welcomes celebrities of all kinds to the stage -- from professional singers to social media stars to politicians.
When a new costumed contestant steps out to perform, it could be almost anyone. And even though the possibilities are numerous, there are still some competitors that truly surprise the panels and fans alike. Whether it’s a former punk rocker or a talking frog, these masked singers kept everyone on their toes.
Look back on these surprising Masked Singer contestants below…
When former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin hit the stage in a pink and purple bear suit for a performance of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” the panelists were stumped. She got eliminated after just one performance and when she was unmasked, her identity came as a big surprise. Looking back, Sarah says joining the show was “the craziest” thing she's ever done and a “middle finger to the haters out there.”
“It was weird, it was wild, it was fun. Believe it or not, it was a lot of my personality, who I really am. Just wanting to live life vibrantly and take those risks because that’s how you grow,” Sarah said during the aftershow.
She added, “I’ve been working for like, 12 years with all these intellectual, political, commentaries and all this -- no reaction like I got from The Masked Singer. It was so positive. It was so encouraging. I just absolutely loved it.”
Caitlyn Jenner made her Masked Singer debut in 2021, performing as the Phoenix. While the panel was able to easily identify the former reality star thanks to some helpful clues, she was still an unexpected addition to the show. While Caitlyn admits she was hesitant about doing the show at first, she says she’s glad she took part.
“It was a time where I wanted a challenge and to do something out of my element, which this certainly is. Hey, why not? Give it a shot, have a little fun with it. I love a big challenge. Any celebrity out there that gets asked to do it, I would suggest do it. You're going to learn a lot about yourself,” Caitlyn told People.
Politician Rudy Giuliani may have been one of the most controversial contestants in Masked Singer history. In fact, after his performance of “Bad to the Bone” and his big reveal to the panelists, Ken Jeong got up and left the stage. Despite the backlash to having the disgraced attorney on the show, Rudy said he took the opportunity to teach his new granddaughter that “you should try everything, even things that are completely unlike you and unlikely.” Meanwhile, FOX executives expressed “no regrets” about the controversial casting.
Having YouTuber Ninja on The Masked Singer was a first for the show. When the professional gamer and streamer stepped out as Ice Cream, he was the only internet celebrity to have ever taken the stage. His identity stumped the panelists, although Ken Jeong got close when he guessed fellow YouTuber PewDiePie. While Ninja thought the clues were “obvious,” it clearly wasn’t enough for the panel.
“I think that they have never had someone like me on the show so they needed to make the clues more obvious. I knew the kids would figure it out. If anyone knew of me or any of my quirky dances, they would know immediately it was me, which is cool,” he told EW.
5. Johnny Rotten
Former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten seemed to have put his days of anarchy behind him when he suited up as the Jester on The Masked Singer. During his run on the show, he performed a cover of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” by Soggy Bottom Boys -- leaving the panelists dumbfounded. After being revealed, Johnny said he thought the whole thing was “hilarious” and he took part because of his wife.
“It was the oddest thing in the world to ask me onto a show like this. But the way I am and my nature is I like challenges. This was a challenge to see if I could somehow piledrive through this with proper, proper dignity,” he told Billboard.
He continued, “Someone contacted my manager and we discussed it and I thought it would be really good because it meant my lovely wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, might get a great sense of fun out of it if she managed to guess who it was. We’ve lived together for 47 years, Nora and I, so she must have some clues as to who I am and what I can get up to.”
Mickey Rourke only had one performance as Gremlin on The Masked Singer before bowing out of the show. The Oscar-nominated actor did a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” as a tribute to his late friend Willy DeVille and then decided to unmask himself. Executive producer Craig Plestis says he had no idea that Mickey was going to reveal his identity and it definitely caused some panic.
“At a certain point, you just say, ‘Go with it. Just roll with it Nick [Cannon]. Let’s play this all the way through to the very end.’ So, we were scared and excited at the same time that it was happening,” he told EW. “That really comes down to what we try to do for Masked Singer … We really want to keep the idea that it's not your regular competition show. This is something completely different, and we embrace the wacky, the crazy, and also the unexpected. So, when it happens, we're gonna go there, we're not going to direct it, we're gonna embrace it.”
Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk may not have any expertise in the world of singing and dancing but he still gave it his all on Masked Singer. After some tough clues, Tony was eliminated and when his identity was revealed, the panelists were shocked. Tony says the reveal even surprised his kids.
“I built it up in my head of being so scary, but it was an almost cathartic experience. I told myself I could do it. You’re pretty sure you can sing. Let’s just get it done! I definitely practiced probably more than I should have. You have a minute and a half to do it right. I watched parts of it and I remember thinking when I saw the playback, that I sounded okay,” Tony shared with EW.
8. Kermit the Frog
Entertainers from all walks of life have stepped on The Masked Singer stage but it was definitely a first when a puppet entered the competition. During season 5, Kermit the Frog took the stage -- and threw off all of the panelists. Jenny McCarthy even thought the contestant in the costume was pretending to be Kermit to confuse everyone. When it turned out to actually be Kermit, everyone was in for a surprise.
“It was fun being mistaken for those amazing iconic comic actors, and refreshing, too. Being green, I'm usually mistaken for Yoda or the Hulk's little brother," Kermit joked in an interview with EW.
A rapper like Lil Wayne is probably the last person fans would expect to appear on a family friendly reality show like The Masked Singer. When the rapper was revealed, Robin Thicke even said it was the “most shocked” he’d ever been on the show. It turns out that Wayne is a big fan of the series and has been wanting to take part for quite a while.
“I’ve been watching since the first episode, because the first episode, when it came on I knew it was T-Pain. Because of that I told [Young Money president Mack Maine] to call them. I told him, ‘Let ‘em know I’m a huge fan’ and I wanted to get Nicki [Minaj] on there. I was like, ‘Tell ’em I would love to get Nicki on there.’ And it came back like, ‘Man, they want you on there,’” Wayne told MTV.
10. Logan Paul
Controversial YouTuber turned boxer Logan Paul appeared on The Masked Singer in 2021 but didn’t make it very far in the reality show. After two performances as Grandpa Monster, including a rendition of “Bad Reputation” that impressed the judges, Logan ended up getting eliminated.
“It was nervous fun at first, but I ended up falling in love with the show and the moment I fell in love with being on the show, I got eliminated!” Logan told ET, adding, “I was excited to be able to be semi-vulnerable in a costume, because the anonymous nature of the show is nice. You feel free in a costume that is incredibly restrictive. It’s hard to move, it’s hard to see, it’s hard to speak, let alone sing and dance. It was crazy. It was a challenge."