The Masked Singer’s Original Turtle Revealed His Identity, So Who’s Behind The Shell?

the masked singer season 3 the turtle fox
(Image credit: Fox)

The competition on The Masked Singer Season 3 is already heating up, and fans are out in droves to try and figure out which celebrities are singing from behind the masks. The Turtle dropped some clues that seemed to hint at a boy band past and early musical success, which fueled some serious speculation about male singers who hit it big early in their careers. Now, two Backstreet Boys have denied living a shell of a double life, but one revealed he was originally a contender for the Turtle.

During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, AJ McLean said that he's "clearly not the turtle" and "wouldn't tell anyone" even if he was, which admittedly isn't a 100% definitive denial to rule him out, but the interesting moment came when fellow Backstreet Boy Nick Carter weighed in and explained he could have been the Turtle, saying this (via TVLine):

I have a confession. I don’t know if I can say this out loud, but the Turtle was created for me. I was possibly going to be on the show.

That's right, Nick Carter could have been the man beneath the Turtle mask on The Masked Singer Season 3! Interestingly, he seemingly wasn't sure if he could confirm that he was originally intended to be the Turtle, presumably because folks at Fox and The Masked Singer might have preferred Carter not revealing that he's not on the show this season.

The big question: is Nick Carter not on The Masked Singer because he wanted it that way? Well, Carter went on to confirm that the costume was even offered to him, but he had to pass because "we were busy."

nick carter backstreet boys watch what happens live andy cohen

As much fun as it would have been to find out that a Backstreet Boy was on Season 3 after a former NSYNC member had such a great time in Season 1 (and had the best reaction to BSB on Dancing with the Stars), viewers can apparently rule out Nick Carter as the Turtle. Does that mean the rest of BSB are out of the running as well?

I still think AJ McLean's denial could have been carefully phrased to cast doubt on him as part of The Masked Singer Season 3 without having to lie (or worse), but I'm probably overthinking things already in the third season. Still, maybe his daughter would like The Masked Singer more than she likes his touring! None of the Backstreet Boys are considered top contenders for the Turtle at this point, though.

Zac Efron may be the highest-profile popular pick for the man behind the Turtle, but other fans are hoping that former New Kid on the Block (and judge Jenny McCarthy's husband) Donnie Wahlberg will be unmasked by the end of the season. Arguably the strongest case for the Turtle is that the Backstreet Boys-adjacent singer Jesse McCartney.

At the end of the day, viewers won't know for sure who's underneath the Masked Singer masks (although we've already made a strong case for the White Tiger as a former athlete and have some solid guesses about Kangaroo) until they're voted out. See the latest unmasking with new episodes of Season 3 on Fox Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).