Warning: This article contains spoilers from Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.
It was viva Las Vegas on this week's episode of The Masked Singer.
The second episode of season 8 was the first to showcase the series' new themed nights, with Wednesday's theme of course being "Vegas Night." It had everything from the Blue Man Group to Carrot Top to a woman delivering clues by walking in a back bend. And, naturally, Vegas mainstay and season 1's Peacock mask, Donny Osmond, joined the festivities with an opening performance and served as a guest panelist — and had a brief altercation with one contestant.
The first order of business was to finally unveil the Hummingbird mask, whose identity was kept secret for an extra week thanks to a cliffhanger ending in the premiere. Despite guessing boybanders in practically every episode up until now, no one on the panel managed to figure out that Hummingbird was NSYNC singer Chris Kirkpatrick, who told EW that he was sad to go home but thrilled to fool the judges.
Another big new change to The Masked Singer this season is the format, which now allows for only one contestant to make it through to the next week. Last week, that was Harp, who had to compete against two new singers this week: the Panther and the Pi-Rat.
After Panther performed "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone, Pi-Rat tackled "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John, and Harp gave her rendition of "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston, it was time for the first elimination of the group. Pi-Rat was booted first, and despite some better guesses ranging from Terry Fator to Robert Smigel, only Osmond managed to deduce that the piratey fiend was ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham.
This left Panther and Harp to face off in the season's first Battle Royale, wherein they each gave their chillingly good take on Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild." In the end, the panel gave the final vote to Harp, who moves on to next week yet again.
Michael Becker / FOX Panther on 'The Masked Singer' season 8
The panelists had a tough time with Panther and got caught up on his height. Ultimately no one guessed that he was minister and Grammy-nominated singer Montell Jordan. Ahead of his big reveal, EW chatted with the "This Is How We Do It" singer about his plans for a new album, and why he wanted to do the show to prove he's more than his big hits. Plus, he reveals why he chose to join Fox's upcoming celebrity social experiment, Special Forces: The Ultimate Test, an all-new series in which household names endure some of the harshest, most grueling challenges from the playbook of the actual Special Forces selection process.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You released Masterpeace in 2019, but does your involvement on The Masked Singer mean we can expect more music from you?
MONTELL JORDAN: Absolutely. I have a single I put out with my son. We did a song called "Daddy's Home." It's a remake from my very first album, but I did it in a father-son fashion because the song was about fathers and sons. That was my most recent release, and I'm working on a jazz album right now.
What can you tell us about it?
I have had a heart's passion because one of my good friends is Dave Koz. And so people like Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Keiko Matsui, Michael Phillips — these are friends of mine. And a dream project of mine was to have all of my friends on R&B, jazz-filled songs for an offering to the world.
One of the new things this season is that second performance, the Battle Royale. Did they let you choose how you went about that or how did you prep for that second mini performance?
Yeah, the second performance was, I mean, it is a bloody battle. [Laughs] That's all I can say. It is a bloody battle. And I think my opponent was phenomenal. I still don't know who my opponent is, which is pretty cool, just from the standpoint of the secrecy and how everything on Masked Singer is. How they do what they do is a phenomenal freak of nature that you can have so many people around each other and people actually don't know who someone else is. It's a big creative win I think for the world to get to do that. So I had a bloody battle. I think it was very, very close, and I still feel like a winner even though I had to tip my hat.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images Montell Jordan
The panel freaked out when you were unmasked — they were so surprised. What was going through your mind when you were up there?
Well, it's funny, because for all these seasons, I've been guessed as one of the participants on the show. And then I think it was weird or funny, because this time, it was like, "There's no way it could be him, so we're gonna stop guessing it." And when they did that, then this is the time when it's actually me. That was part of it going in, why I did the show. To do something different out of my comfort zone, choosing [different] songs and keys and stylistic offerings musically, so that people wouldn't keep me in the box of, "Oh, that's the 'This Is How We Do It' guy." And even though I performed that, I think at the end of the show, the idea is that I can do lots of different things. And music doesn't define me, I define music.
Do you know what song you would have performed if you made it to the next week?
I think if we had gone on to the next week, I believe it was for, like television show theme songs, and I was set to do the theme from The Golden Girls, "Thank You for Being a Friend." I would have murdered that song.
Another thing you've got coming up is next year's Special Forces. It sounds intense. What compelled you to do that series?
Yeah, Special Forces is something that I never thought I would do. When it was introduced to me, I didn't even know the show existed overseas. And literally, with my wife and I launching a virtual church called Master Peace Church — that's the biggest part of my life right now that we're trying to help marriages and we're trying to help people in their faith walk anywhere in the world — one of the things that we felt like we had to do in launching a church, was we had to be able to go into it with no fear. To see people change, to see people transform, we needed to be able to have no fear. And so when the selection process came up, and my number was kind of called to be a part of that process, it was a, "Well, these are things I'm extremely afraid of." And so if I want to be able to go into the ministry world fearless, then this seemed like, the right thing to be able to do to face my fears head on.
Did you have a similar motivation for being on The Masked Singer or were they totally different for you?
Two different motivations. Because The Masked Singer thing for me was more of, "I know who I am in the music world, and I know that my creativity and my legacy and music, I want it to extend beyond just one song." I have multiple No. 1 records, but people know me from probably one big song, and so by allowing people to see different sides of me, different versions of me, different styles of me, Masked Singer allowed me to allow my voice to be heard, not through the lens of a song, but through the lens of a Panther. Panther got a chance to liberate me to do that. But the other motivation for doing Special Forces was more so not music related, it had nothing to do with anything that I'm really good at. But in my faith walk, Special Forces was actually pushing me to the limit in that area, which is an area that's kind of an untapped source, even for me as a person. And so, one area I'm really good in, another area, I had no competency in, but I had a willingness to step into it all and become a new person. Out of both shows, I've become a new person.
What did you learn about yourself?
Out of The Masked Singer experience, I've learned that a lot of people don't have costumes, but they're still wearing masks. And for me, who has never tried to wear a mask, I was able to enter into a new place of finding new pieces of myself by allowing people to see me with the mask on, and people got to see more of my true self with my mask on than seeing me with my mask off. I don't know if that makes any sense. But I felt like when people see me, they see who they think I am, and then with the mask on, I think they got a chance to see who I actually am. Whereas it's normally the other way around. And then with the other show, Special Forces, I believe that that was more of a "I know who I am, but in other circumstances, I'm learning who I actually can be." I did things that I did not know I was capable of. And so, that means that I learned that there's more to me than I even dreamed of.
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