The Banana was eliminated from The Masked Singer on the 10th anniversary of his brain hemorrhage
Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Masked Singer season 3, episode 13.
The Banana was one mighty singer, once you peeled away the layers.
Though he wowed the judges with renditions of "A Little Less Conversation," "Achy Breaky Heart," and "Lean on Me," singer-songwriter Bret Michaels was the latest celebrity to leave Fox's top-rated reality show, The Masked Singer. Here, the 57-year-old Poison frontman talks about how hard he tried to "throw his voice" and how Wednesday's episode marked a very special anniversary in his life.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You looked pretty good in that banana suit.
BRET MICHAELS: I'm giving you a big banana hug for saying that! I had the greatest time ever. And you're going to laugh. I'm not making this up. I'm a diabetic. I'm actually eating a banana to keep my blood sugar level rocking.
That mask didn't seem like it was that heavy for you. Was it?
Everyone worked hard on it because I'm slightly claustrophobic. I shouldn't say slightly — I'm very claustrophobic. I'm a freestyle, free-range kind of guy. I like to keep moving and they helped me build on that. I didn't have a lot of peripheral vision. But I said, you know what? Let's let this rip. I'm going to give it everything this banana's got. Let's go out there and have some fun doing this.
The song "Lean On Me" seemed the most risky because it really emphasized your voice. Did you worry about that?
I did that song for two reasons. First of all, my father is a veteran and first responder and he had just passed this last August. It was a song we truly love listening to together. It's a tough song to sing because it has such a direct melody. But it was also a song I sang from my heart. I was trying to disguise my voice. I sang it super low. I hoped I would do it justice. Please let the banana do this song some justice! It was the song I was most worried about. Growing my voice from episode one with "A Little Less Conversation" and "Achy Breaky Heart" and going in to "Lean On Me," I was hoping I threw everybody. But even from word go, the fans figured it out. I was like, damn it. I tried everything I could do to throw them off.
Somebody said on one message board that you ended "Lean On Me" the same way you end the Poison song "Something to Believe In."
You know what it is? I did that, "woo woo woo." I kinda did this bluesy thing at the end. My body took over. I went into a natural Bret Michaels. My body, my voice, my legs took over and went into like an organic vocal mode. I didn't even realize I did it 'til I actually looked back. You're hoping that people didn't recognize it right away, but they caught it instantly. They were pulling pictures from [performances at] amphitheaters. I'm like, man! I love this show. It is real detective work. Remind me not to commit any crimes while doing The Masked Singer.
What were some of the lies that you told when people called and asked you if you were the Banana?
They would go, "Hey, listen, banana." I would be like, don't respond to that. I'm a big fan of Modern Family. I've been friends with a lot of the cast and crew. Eric Stonestreet is a buddy. He's from Kansas and been there when Poison would play at the arena. He has been hardcore about texting me, saying, "I know it's you, man. Just give it up." I'm like, nope.
Now that you lasted that long on the show, what's some strategy you could share for future contestants? Number one, go into it to have fun. Go into it knowing you're going to lose about five pounds in body sweat. Most importantly, try to do anything you can to throw people off. I was doing everything, like the blue collar thing that comes from my Pittsburgh upbringing. But the color of the Banana outfit gave them a little hint as to my love of the Steelers and the Pirates and the Penguins. Try to do the best you can, especially if you're a vocalist. Try to pick song selections that are, at first, a little outside of your wheelhouse so you can throw your voice. I just tried to do my best to throw my voice. Ironically, [Wednesday's episode] marked the 10-year anniversary of the survival of my brain hemorrhage. Not knowing that, my song selection was "Knocking on Heaven's Door." I had no clue when I was staying or going from the show. I could've went immediately. I could have stayed 'til the end. And my song selection was "Knocking on Heaven's Door." It marked the anniversary of the night I was in the emergency room having my brain operated on. That is the universe lining up in a really surreal way.
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays on Fox.
The Masked Singer