Crocodile says The Masked Singer inspired him to record new solo music
The celeb under the Crocodile mask tells EW about his special nod to Jesse McCartney.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.
The snazzy pink Crocodile can finally swim on back to his family once and for all.
After a fierce battle waged with many different vocal styles and performances, the colorful reptile placed third in Wednesday night's finale of The Masked Singer, and was unmasked to reveal singer and Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter. Carter opened up to EW about his time on the show and how it inspired him to trust himself more as an entertainer.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know last season the plan was for you to be the Turtle, but you had to back away and Jesse McCartney took your place. Now that you've seen how both seasons played out, do you feel like the Crocodile or Turtle suits you more?
NICK CARTER: Incredible question. Croc all the way. There were so many just really amazing things that I learned about myself through the Croc. When I think about the Turtle, it was definitely cool because when I spoke to the people at The Masked Singer, we were talking about it, and I was able to really get involved in the design of the Turtle. I thought maybe we could do a little bit of that rock vibe with him and all that stuff. But you know, it was what was meant to be in my opinion. I'm just in love with the Croc.
This season, you sang Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," which Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder wrote. Was that performance sort of a shout-out to Jesse?
Jesse actually opened up for the Backstreet Boys a bunch of times in the past, and I know Jesse and he's a really, really nice kid, super talented. Everyone knows the story about "Bleeding Love," so I definitely knew that before I did the song. He wrote an incredible song. And I just felt like I had to do my own best rendition of it that would do justice to the talented writers and artists who sang the song before I did.
From songs by Bon Jovi to Britney Spears, your song choices were very varied. Did you do that strategically to try and throw people off?
Well, number one, I loved the all songs. I love music, you know, so it doesn't matter what genre or what it is. A great song is a great song. And when I had the opportunity to choose those songs, I said, well, I'm going to do a little bit of what I like, and I'm also going to do something where I can play with the character of the Croc and maybe kind of throw people off a little bit. One of my biggest issues as a solo artist has always been that I kind of can sing a lot of different styles and different ways and disguise my voice and adapt it. And I said well, you know, maybe I could kind of tap into that a little bit. So it was really a strategy.
You've had to lie in recent interviews about your involvement with The Masked Singer, and it's been pretty funny to watch. Did you find it hard to do that?
Well, when we're all on lockdown together, I'm basically at home most of the time with my kids and 99% of the time I'm just changing diapers and taking care of my babies. So I'm not really talking to a lot of people, so it wasn't that hard as long as you just don't talk to people. [Laughs] But that's the cool thing about the show is that even if you think you know, you don't know. Your mind can play tricks on you.
I've been dying to know: How many times did you whack someone with your tail?
Yeah, that tail was the biggest, literally the longest problem I had on that stage. And I was trying to use it the best way that I could, but it was fun. I love to share the fact that the head itself was front heavy. They had to secure it in the back, and I had to stick the mic up through the bottom. And there were times when I was having neck problems! So it was very awkward, the head itself, and to try to sing, because it puts pressure down on my vocal cords. But, you know, that's the price of being an entertainer. Sometimes the show is more important than your health. [Laughs]
Who was the "Interviewer to the Stars" in one of your clue packages?
That was JoJo Wright from KIIS-FM's "JoJo on the Radio." He's been with us throughout our career. And he just knows me very well, knows all of [the Backstreet Boys] really well. That [clue package] pertains to the video game references, because I'm a gamer. I have a Twitch page. It's called PopKidNick, and I get on there every now and then and play games and talk and stuff like that. And that was really interesting, because he was with me on our plane with the Backstreet Boys when we went all the way around the world to release our Black & Blue album, and he was there playing video games all the time. So you know, he just remembers how big I was in the video games. It was really cool [that he was on the show], because you want to do something that throws people off, that no one would really get. And no one knows that we're that close with JoJo.
So what's coming up next for you?
I've been in the studio recording some solo music. The Masked Singer definitely inspired me to kind of put a little bit of trust into who I am as an entertainer and as a solo artist. I feel as if I just really never broke out with any of my albums that I've done in the past and stuff like that. Of course I love being a part of the Backstreet Boys and love being the little brother in the group. But it was uncomfortable to be kind of outside the safety net of my group, as far as just being exposed as a solo artist and just from my voice. Were people gonna like it? Would people like the way I sounded? Did people like my personality with this Croc outfit? What would people say?
And as I watched every single performance, I started to realize maybe my talent has matured to the point where I should give it another shot. So I jumped into the studio, started recording some music, and I found an incredible song that I love. I was just trying to find something that could kind of fit into the theme and the vibe and the feel of the holidays as far as feeling warm and nostalgic. A lot of people right now are watching things Cobra Kai and Stranger Things and people are going to the '80s. So I found this song called "'80s Movie." And I feel like it's the best song I've ever done as a solo artist. So we're gonna release that song on New Music Friday on Spotify, and on iTunes and all my socials and stuff. I just did one song, but I'm going to keep recording and see where it takes me. I think it's going to give people some good vibes.
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The Masked Singer
Celebs compete in this reality-singing TV show while wearing elaborate costumes to conceal their identities. Can you guess the celebrity behind the mask?