Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Masked Singer, "The Group C Premiere."
Group C of The Masked Singer Season 4 hit the stage to try and wow the judges and the mostly virtual voters, but one costumed singer had to leave after just one performance. Lips' rendition of Odyssey's "Native New Yorker" wasn't enough for her to stay for another round over Mushroom, Jellyfish, Broccoli, and Squiggly Monster. While the reveal that Lips was actually talk show host Wendy Williams didn't come as the biggest surprise in Masked Singer history, Williams has shared that the costume was even more complicated than it looked.
Lips' costume was already unconventional by Masked Singer standards, as the lower half was tight black pants while the upper half was one big pair of lips with arms sticking out. Speaking with TV Insider, Wendy Williams explained that the Masked Singer team went above and beyond to make sure the open mouth between those lips shielded her identity, saying:
It was hot under there. There was a thick mesh thing that I'm looking through. But even with that, because of the lighting they have, you can still kind of see and you might say, ‘it's a Black woman,’ and so they put one of those ski mask things on me, so I had a mask on and then put the costume on. So many layers. The challenge was to just breathe.
Believe it or not, the thick layer of mesh that is clearly visible on the Lips costume wasn't enough to fully conceal Wendy Williams' face, so she was wearing a ski mask over her head on top of everything else. That sounds like it would be hot and stifling when doing nothing at all, let alone belting a song for national television! It's no wonder Wendy Williams' biggest challenge of her brief time on The Masked Singer was breathing and dealing with the heat.
Wendy Williams isn't the first Masked Singer contestant to speak out about how uncomfortable the elaborate costumes can be, and one contestant went right ahead and unmasked himself before votes could even be cast earlier in Season 4. Mickey Rourke didn't appear to be on the verge of passing out or anything, but fresh air after the Gremlin getup had to feel good.
As it turns out, the Lips look was challenging for even more reasons than the ski mask and mesh. Although "Native New Yorker" is one of Wendy Williams' favorite songs, she ran the risk of forgetting some of the lyrics, and that presented a different struggle:
I said, ‘Wait, I know the words, but all of a sudden, I'm forgetting some of the words because I'm here on The Masked Singer, on the big stage by myself. Can I wear readers? Can you all make the font a little bigger there on the prompter?’ Every day, there was a rehearsal. And rehearsals were long, they were really long and sweaty. It was like 103 degrees.
A teleprompter can only be so helpful if you can't read the teleprompter! Fortunately, Wendy Williams pulled off the performance without messing up the lyrics, which wasn't the case in Season 3 with the Banana, who had to go into "survival mode" for one performance. Even though she was voted out, Williams put out a fun performance.
Unfortunately, there just wasn't a lot of mystery ahead of her unmasking. Not only did viewers figure out who she was based on promo footage, but both judges Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger named her as their first impression guesses, and the first impression guesses are often wildly off. Hey, at least it wasn't Ken Jeong!
Thanks to the end of the 2020 World Series, The Masked Singer is already back and in the swing of the competition. The next new episode of The Masked Singer Season 4 airs on Wednesday, November 4 at 8 p.m. ET and will see the remaining singers of Group C face off again in the play offs. More shows are coming back in the coming weeks, and you can find them on our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.