Warning: This post contains spoilers Wednesday’s episode of The Masked Singer.
The bloom is off the flower: Patti LaBelle is the latest cloaked crooner to get the ol’ heave-ho from the Fox singing competition. Ahead, the 75-year-old entertainer admits it wasn’t so easy to mask her legendary voice — so she just didn’t try.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you aware that a lot of people were guessing it was probably you?
PATTI LABELLE: Of course. I can’t go out the house without someone calling me Flower. Oh yeah. They all knew.
How many people around you had to sign the NDA? How many people did you actually tell?
10 to 15. That’s a lot.
Were you asked in the first season to do this?
I don’t remember. I mean, my son would know that, but the first time I found out about the second season was when my son came to me, so I don’t know if they approached him with the first season or not.
Did anyone tell you that you were a guess during the first season?
Yeah, they thought I was Gladys Knight. My girl. We haven’t talked yet since I lost. Now I can talk to her!
Your voice is obviously so distinctive. Did you feel a need to maybe pull back and not be so Patti LaBelle-ish?
That’s so hard to do because when I said yes to the dress, I said, “So what do you want me to sound like?” And they said “Yourself.” I said, “Well, how am I going to be a real masked singer if it sounds just like me? It’s hard not to sound like me.” So I was kinda confused. I said, okay, well the only voice that came out was the one that they thought, which was Patti LaBelle. So I just kept up with her for four weeks.
Your arm movements were very distinctive as well.
That’s what I heard, too! And my niece said, “Your walk. I knew it was you when you walk.” I didn’t realize my hands or my walk would give me away besides my voice.
Did you think the clues were just way too easy?
That was one that had my birthday on it. I think it was in the first week. I had gone to the drug store to get a prescription and this guy said, “Okay, Flower.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He said my birthday was in one of the clues. Lord. So there are fans who really know everything about me. I said, “No, sir,” — I see people on the streets and I had to give them all kinds of lies.
Could you see the judges’ panel in your costume?
They altered the mask and made mine a little easier. I don’t know if it’s because I’m 100 years or what, but they gave more breathing room. My costume was the most livable, from what I understand.
Was it heavy?
Yes, very heavy and the shoes were not Prada. They hurt. The design department had such sweet people. They said, “Well we’ll get you those support shoes if you want.” I said, “No, you’ll have to flower them again with glue and stuff, so I’ll just keep these old clodhoppers.” I was walking hard because they were hurting and my feet were sore but it was a great experience. I really enjoyed doing that.
Did you get a chance to at least weigh in about the songs to make sure they weren’t songs that maybe Patti LaBelle wouldn’t sing?
Yes, I did that. My son and I came up with about 20 songs and some of them could be cleared, but the last song they gave me was “Eye of the Tiger.” I said, “Why y’all want to give me this song?” They chose that and “9 to 5.” Oh my goodness.
Was it disappointing so many people recognized you?
I was flattered. To have a voice that people know is a compliment. I couldn’t find any other way to sing the songs. Like, “9 to 5” — how else can I sing “9 to 5”? Patti came out.
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
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