The latest identity unveiled on The Masked Singer is one that many viewers had already sussed out: Ricki Lake is the Raven.
Robin Thicke was the only judge who guessed correctly that the woman inside the elaborate bird costume was the Emmy-winning former talk show host and actress-singer (Hairspray, China Beach) after she performed “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. (Jenny McCarthy thought it was Sheryl Underwood from The Talk and Nicole Scherzinger threw out Meghan McCain’s name from The View.)
In a chat with reporters at the winter edition of the Television Critics Association press tour, the judges, producers, and Lake discussed her unveiling and the popularity of the Fox singing competition.
Lake admitted that one of her first thoughts after hearing Thicke say things like “she’s definitely not a professional singer” was “Ouch.” She said, “I am technically a trained singer, I just haven’t trained for a long time.” (In addition to singing on the soundtrack for the second Hairspray film, some may remember when Lake performed on the Oscars. See around 7:15.)
“It was really fun to sing again and to have this production value,” she said of the show, and being anonymous, “was a thrill.” But, she was touched Thicke had clearly been a fan of her talk show and that recognizing gestures she made, like placing her hand on her heart, helped him with his guess.
“It’s just surreal,” she said of Thicke’s fandom. “I’ve been in this business a long time, 30-plus years since Hairspray now, and it’s nice to just still be here and be welcomed back with open arms.”
Lake, who worked with a vocal coach during the show, noted that she was suffering from sciatica during the taping — “I could not walk”– and was actually in quite a bit of pain while performing but that the experience was a joyful one for her, after the death of her ex-husband Christian Evans in 2017. “I loved my costume… I got to share my story about my husband… it was a real cathartic experience.”
She credits producer Deena Katz, who also convinced her to do Dancing With the Stars, with enticing her to don the mask. “They sent me the links from [the original show] Korea, and I got to see what the show was and I just trust Deena.”
Compared to her time on DWTS, Lake said The Masked Singer was “a million times easier, more than a million. That, I worked three and a half months, seven days a week..”
The hardest part of the doing the show, said Lake, was keeping the secret since, “I have the biggest mouth of anyone, I’m an open book.” Everywhere she went, people were guessing she was the Raven and she couldn’t say a word. “I have to lie and I am the worst liar.” Ultimately, she was fine that so many people guessed her identity. “I feel like I made the audience feel smart by making it so easy to guess me,” she said with a smile.
If the producers decided to shake up the judge’s table for future iterations of the show, Lake says she’s already volunteered. “I think I would be a really good judge,” she said. ‘Right now, the climate that we’re in, we need shows like this, as innocuous as it may be, it’s silly fun that everyone [of all ages] can get. It was a thrill to be a part of it.”
Just this week, Lake released a new documentary to digital platforms, Weed the People, about pediatric cancer and cannabis oil.
Given her exit from the show Lake joked, “I’m not getting an album anytime soon, but I’ll be at the local karaoke for sure.”