He was right!

By Lauren Huff
October 14, 2020 at 04:05 PM EDT
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Michael Becker/FOX

The Masked Singer

type
  • TV Show
network
  • Fox
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Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.

The Baby Alien has blasted off from The Masked Singer stage for the last time.

In the most shocking reveal of season 4 so far, the person behind the show's first puppet costume was revealed to be former NFL quarterback and football analyst Mark Sanchez. Here, he talks to EW about why he knew no one would guess his identity, what he thinks about his fellow competitors, and all of the behind-the-scenes work that went into bringing his adorable costume to life.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you a fan of The Masked Singer before you signed on to do it?
MARK SANCHEZ: I had definitely seen it. I didn't realize everything that went into it. I talked to them about potentially doing season 3, and it just didn't work out timing-wise, and schedule-wise. So we circled back for season 4, and I think we nailed it. It was really fun.

Your clue packages refer to you being a huge fan of theater. Do you feel like after doing the show that you might want to get into performing more?
Listen, I would love that. I just saw firsthand what goes into creating a performance — the choreography, the costume design, the singing, and the repetition and time it takes to do it — so I just don't know with the broadcasting stuff if I would have the time to actually do that. But you know, I've always had respect for theater, and Broadway, and the way they can move and sing at the same time, but it takes so much time on task. And so I don't know if I could necessarily do that, but it sure was a great experience and [gave me] a deeper appreciation for the arts and for performers.

You really had your work cut out for you with that costume. Did they give you other options to consider?
[Laughs.] They did give me more than one option, but I could tell they were really pushing for Baby Alien. And part of it was having the physical stature and being in decent physical shape to make this happen, to carry this costume, because it was very heavy. Then to try and sing on top of it, then the puppet on top of that. So it was a multi-layered onion that I was dealing with, but they knew my personality, and I'm always up for a challenge. I'm always up for trying to grow and make myself a little uncomfortable and stretch those boundaries as best I can. So this was right up my alley. And it was such a joy to work with the people on set — Marina [Toybina] in costumes; Ron, the puppeteer; Tamara [Beatty], the vocal coach; Keith, who kind of coordinated all that for me — they make it so fun, so easy. It was just a first class operation, and safety was paramount, especially your health, with the pandemic going on. And they did a first class job of nailing that, too. So I was thoroughly impressed with everything and really blessed to be a part of it.

Did you get to add input to the design of the costume at all?
So initially the upper part of the costume, the heavy part, the metal part on top, was in like a backpack form, but it kind of bounced around a little bit too much. So they put a different brace on it that put the weight above my abdomen, kind of on my upper chest area, and then on kind of my low back, if you can imagine that. Think of like a parachute, how it straps to you, if it didn't strap around your waist, and I guess the crotch area, but more in the upper underarms and all that. It was really strange looking inside, but then once they put it on, it was I think the best way to do it. But unfortunately, it just kind of pushes on your diaphragm a little bit. So that was something I had to get used to, is that restriction and then learning how to sing with that. I thought we did a great job of exercising those muscles, making sure I was consistently working at a rate that would strengthen those muscles without overtiring them before the performance. Tamara was instrumental in that. Then, the choreography people understanding that I can't move quite as well with this costume. So keeping the choreography to a minimum, but still making it fun where I move around and hit certain points. And letting the alien come to life with the puppeteer, Ron, and giving the alien personality was essentially the choreography as well. So incorporating all that together, it took a village, and it was one heck of a village to be part of.

And were you surprised that no one guessed you?
Oh, not at all. I thought the clue package was so hard. I obviously know it's me, but I still second-guessed it a couple times when I watched the clue package. I was like, "Wait, what?" Yeah, that was tough. And I think the accent totally threw everybody for a loop. They thought maybe [I was] Sacha Baron Cohen or something like that. I knew they wouldn't guess me.

Were there any clues in particular that threw you?
There was a horseshoe one. And I think that was for the Denver Broncos, I think. But it immediately made me think of the Indianapolis Colts. They also had some sort of horse, but that was [supposed to be] more of like a USC Trojan horse. So, I mean, you would have had to know every team I played for and all that kind of stuff. So that's not easy. I can see why Ken Jeong goes on all these rants about why he thinks it's a certain person based on all the clues he has.

Why did you choose an Eastern European accent, and at what point in the process did you know you would be doing that?
Well, I ran it by them first. I just said, "You know, I've heard people in past seasons talk in Southern accents, or change up their voice a little bit, or sound more American if they're foreign, to throw people off." And they said, "Yeah, that's totally on the table." And this year, they're actually making the judges compete to see if any of their initial guesses are correct, so it was an added wrinkle. Anything to throw them off I think was welcome. So that's kind of where I got the endorsement for it and then took it and ran with it from there.

Do you have any guesses about who your fellow contestants might be?
I don't know for sure. I know that there's some really good singers. And so right after I got to the trailer after [Seahorse was performing] I heard her, and I swear to God, I thought that was Celine Dion for a second. I was walking out and I just looked at this dude Keith. And I go, "Keith, are you kidding me? That's not just like a professional singer. That's one of the best professional singers of all time." He's like, "Get to your trailer, please. You can't stay here." He's shuffling me along and shooing me out of the building, and I'm waiting to try and hear more, you know? And I'm like, dude, who put me in this group? I've got no shot here. So I felt like I was playing pickup basketball against Michael Jordan. What the heck? [Laughs.]

But it was really funny and everybody there in that moment just started laughing and kind of broke character essentially, the people on set that don't really interact with the contestants — everybody's masked up and they can't really talk to anybody and everybody has to keep their voices low. There's certain people you can and can't talk to, but everybody just paused for a second just laughing when I started complaining to Keith, so that was really funny.

That is funny. I mean, anybody who can take on Celine Dion is just next level.
Yeah, that was just like, are you kidding me? Dude, give her the trophy. She's freaking amazing.

So, what's next for you?
Oh man, maybe a Baby Alien Christmas album or country spin-off, or a reality show of course. Who knows? [Laughs.] No, this was fun and a great opportunity but definitely some more broadcasting as the sports seasons go on, football's still rocking here, so that'll be the main focus, but who knows. Maybe this will lead to some other opportunities on stage or on camera or whatever that means, and I'd welcome those.

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?
type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 3
rating
genre
status
  • In Season
network
  • Fox

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