By Rachel Yang
September 19, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
Tara Ziemba/Getty Images; D Dipasupil/Getty Images; Michael Bezjian/Getty Images

The Masked Singer

  • TV Show
  • Fox

One of the most fun parts of watching The Masked Singer is deciphering each contestant's clue packages to figure out their true celebrity identity. While there have been plenty of easy calls (Gronk, who were you trying to fool?) other times the show successfully pulls one over us.

Whether it was due to tough hints or disbelief that a particular star would grace the stage, we totally didn't expect some reveals, like Jackie Evancho as Kitty, Drew Carey as Llama, and our No. 1 spot that blew us away. Read on to find out more.

Michael Becker/FOX (2)

8. Season 3: Jackie Evancho as Kitty

Fans threw out all types of guesses for Kitty, from Vanessa Hudgens to Sarah Hyland to Kate Bosworth (due to the costumed feline’s heterochromia). While talented, America’s Got Talent alum Jackie Evancho may not be as well known as her competitors that season, so her unmasking as Kitty had plenty of surprised theorists going, “Wait? Who?!”

Funny enough, TMS producer Craig Plestis told EW that Kitty’s differently colored eyes were never meant to fake anyone out and his team was surprised fans even picked up on the feature.

"We didn't really think about that in advance," Plestis said. “That was always two different colored eyes when we were designing the costume, and we didn't even think about that in the early stage until it was actually built and it was like, ‘Wait a second...’”

Michael Becker/FOX (2)

7. Season 2: Ninja as Ice Cream

Streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins might be a God to every Fortnite-playing kid out there, but for non-gamers (and/or people over 19), his reveal likely came as a total surprise. Ninja even admitted to EW that he knew only his dedicated fans would be able to figure out his identity.

“I think that they have never had someone like me on the show so they needed to make the clues more obvious,” he said after his elimination. “I knew the kids would figure it out. If anyone knew of me or any of my quirky dances, they would know immediately it was me, which is cool.”

Greg Gayne/FOX

6. Season 3: Drew Carey as Llama

While many of Llama’s pretty specific clues (e.g. the radio DJ and Seattle hints) were about comedian Drew Carey, they also rang true for celebrities like Kelsey Grammer and Danny Bonaduce. Thus, a number of fans were astonished to see the Price is Right host under the costume.

Michael Becker/FOX

5. Season 2: Victor Oladipo as Thingamajig

Like Evancho, Indiana Pacers player Victor Oladipo wasn’t a household name during his stint. Plus, Thingamajig was so good on the show (his rendition of “Rainbow” made EW’s best TMS performances list), and given the spotty record of season 1’s pro-athlete competitors, many audiences were slow to accept Oladipo — who has actually released numerous albums — as Thing. The baller even told EW, “Coming on the show, I think I surprised a few people.”

Michael Becker/FOX

4. Season 1: Gladys Knight as Bee

It wasn’t exactly a shock when Gladys Knight popped up from the Bee costume, but the legendary singer’s participation in the show falls into the “I can’t believe she would do this show” category. With so many hits and accolades under her belt, Knight didn’t have to take a chance on The Masked Singer, which had never been done before in the U.S. Her presence brought legitimacy — and plenty of amazing performances — to the series, and set the stage for fellow famous divas like Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, and Patti LaBelle to join the show in future installments.

Greg Gayne/FOX (2)

3. Season 3: Tony Hawk as Elephant

We have a feeling that Tony Hawk is such a household name that TMS producers really wanted fans to jump through hoops to guess the skateboarding legend. The clues we got about Elephant were so hard, deciphering them was no easy tusk. Playing the drums, the White House, a 10 cent ice cream? We were lost! Plus, the contestant was the first from Group B to get sent home, so viewers were out of luck on getting more clues. When Elephant finally removed his mask, fans were blown away that it was Hawk in front of them.

Michael Becker/FOX (2)

2. Season 3: Sarah Palin as Bear

There have certainly been unexpected celebrities to appear on The Masked Singer, but we never expected a politician to go on the show. And we certainly didn’t think the first elected official to compete on TMS would be former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. There were clues pointing to noted Palin impersonator Tina Fey, with Saturday Night Live among the hints, and Bear’s spirited performance of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back" was the last track we’d expect the former VP hopeful to showcase (not that we’ve heard her perform any other song). So when Bear took off the mask, we were all moose in the headlights.

Michael Becker / FOX; FOX

1. Season 3: Lil Wayne as Robot

There was a lot of hype leading up to TMS season 3’s premiere after the Super Bowl, and we have to say the first episode delivered with the biggest celebrity competitor in its history. When Robot performed, we heard some of Lil Wayne’s signature gravelly sound, but we never thought the series could actually get the influential rapper to come on the show. But boy were we wrong, and judging by the reactions from the panelists, audiences, and fans on social media, nobody else expected Wayne to grace the stage either. "This is the most shocked I've ever been on this show," panelist Robin Thicke announced. Same.

After his elimination, the superstar rapper disclosed that if it were up to him, the show could’ve had another huge A-lister — his protege and frequent collaborator Nicki Minaj.

"I've been watching since the first episode, because the first episode, when it came on I knew it was T-Pain," Lil Wayne said. "Because of that I told [Young Money President Mack Maine] to call them. I told him, 'Let 'em know I'm a huge fan' and I wanted to get Nicki on there. I was like, 'Tell 'em I would love to get Nicki on there.' And it came back like, 'Man they want you on there.'"

— Lauren Huff also contributed to this report

Related content:

Episode Recaps

The Masked Singer

Celebs compete in this crazy reality-singing TV show while wearing elaborate costumes to conceal their identities. Can you guess the celebrity behind the mask?
  • TV Show
  • 3
  • In Season
  • Fox