Spoilers below for anyone who didn't watch The Masked Singer**'s latest double-elimination episode. You have been warned.**
In a double elimination, The Masked Singer unveiled the identity of two contestants. As many fans had suspected, NSYNC’s Joey Fatone was revealed to be the Rabbit (while The Lion was Rumer Willis). In an exit interview, Fatone has shared that he suspected people would figure out his identity. Speaking to how the producers tried steering contestants away from doing familiar things that fans could recognize, Fatone said:
I was putting twangs in there, I was doing a whole bunch of stuff. I think the cool thing about it is other the other celebrities definitely were going outside the box on their comfort zone as far as songs are concerned. And on top of that, they were very strict with that stuff. I was like, 'Can I do ‘Mustang Sally'?' And in the beginning they would literally be like, 'No.' I'm like, 'Why not?' They go, 'Well, if you Google your name, videos pop up of you singing it.'
Talk about thorough research! Joey Fatone revealed these unique lengths that The Masked Singer went to protect his and others' identities to THR. He tried to change-up his vocal execution in general, while the show pushed to have him avoid singing songs he had already performed in public during his long career. A savvy move on the reality competition’s part in a YouTube-documented world.
They took into consideration the chance that online detectives would be hard at work trying to follow every lead they could. That includes searching for artists' covers of popular songs. Despite Joey Fatone and The Masked Singer's best efforts, viewers caught on.
Early on, fans suspected that Rabbit was either Joey Fatone or New Kids on the Block vets Donnie Wahlberg or Joey McIntyre. So, Wahlberg’s intriguing denial ended up being the truth on his part. With Fatone having covered many classic tracks in his career, he revealed that The Masked Singer had to get creative in picking songs. Fatone explained how, saying:
That's how extensive they actually went. They did not want you to ever have sang that song once in your life. So with the Aviici song that I sang, and 'Living La Vida Loca,' those songs I've never sang before, really. Of course, I did variations of 'Mustang Sally' and 'My Girl.' Toward the end, I was like, 'Alright, people are going to know me regardless, so if I do a great performance, hopefully I'll stay.' Apparently, 'My Girl' wasn't that great. I did it mid-tempo and I got kicked off.
First off, Joey Fatone’s rendition of “My Girl” was great. Secondly, The Masked Singer’s research is impressive. By the time, Fatone performed “My Girl,” he decided to let the power of the performance speak for itself, instead of focusing on concealing his identity by using unfamiliar music.
In the end, Twitter was right once again. Joey Fatone got eliminated alongside Rumer Willis’ Lion. All of the judges locked in Fatone as their final guess for The Rabbit. Guest panelist Kenan Thompson, however, guessed 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey. Interestingly enough, Lachey and Fatone were both former Dancing with the Stars contestants.
With the Rabbit and Lion gone that leaves Bee, Monster, and Peacock left to vie for the win. For now, their identities are safe but highly speculated upon.
It is cool that Joey Fatone worked so hard to try to hide his identity. And Fatone did Dancing with the Stars not just once, but twice, so he's obviously always up for challenges. Regardless, viewers and the judges guessed he was under the Rabbit’s costume.
Elsewhere in the interview, Joey Fatone mentions his desire to be a judge on the show. The Masked Singer will be back for a second season, so time will tell if he gets a chance to check out the stage from a different direction.
Find out if fans have guessed anyone else correctly when new episodes of The Masked Singer air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. The reality competition is among many series airing new through the midseason.