Donnie Wahlberg was on Masked Singer before Cluedle-Doo reveal and nobody noticed — even wife Jenny McCarthy
The Masked Singer EP Craig Plestis reveals the one major clue that everyone missed, and how Cluedle-Doo was inspired by WandaVision.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.
The revelation floored the panel and audience, but no one was more surprised than the actor and New Kids on the Block singer's wife, panelist Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg. So how did Fox pull off that massive surprise and keep it a secret from one of its stars? Might we see Cluedle-Doo again in future seasons? And what can we expect from next week's season finale?
Series executive producer Craig Plestis answers all of our burning questions, below. Plus, EW is debuting an exclusive preview of the season 5 finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you know you wanted to have Cluedle-Doo on the show and how did the idea come about?
CRAIG PLESTIS: We haven't had the idea for that long, to be honest. It was probably in season 4, we were thinking about the idea of having a character to deliver additional clues, and a new and fresh way to deliver clues. That's how it kind of manifested itself. And then season 5 became our game-changing season, and we figured, you know, it's time to bring in a brand new character, and have this character kind of come on a little bit and start growing as the season goes along. The idea for this character, too, was to plant Easter eggs all the way through. There's actually a lot of different Easter eggs that haven't been exposed yet that he told within the show that if you had picked them up, you would have figured out who he was, or more details about the other people. So a little tip of the hat to our scripted brothers and sisters out there from WandaVision, because we just love the idea of how WandaVision planted a lot of Easter eggs in their show, and their show is very much the same DNA as Masked Singer, which is Easter eggs in all of our packages. So that's why we wanted to make sure that we had a larger than life character added in in the same way WandaVision did with the character of Agnes.
And how did Donnie get involved?
So in regards to Donnie, I kept thinking about who would be the best person. And I was talking with Rob Wade and everyone else at Fox, and I mentioned [I wanted to] try to get Donnie. This was over the holidays, in fact, when this all happened. I thought, "Maybe we can get him, and I'll do it on the side, and not let his wife know. Can we actually pull this off? Our show is a double double secret show, so let's do it all the way." So, I called him up, and he said yes. And that was the moment like, "Oh my god, how do we do this, how do we pull it off?" But it was great all the way through. She had no idea. He kept it completely secret. It was just a triumph. And in fact, there were times where he was calling her, she didn't even know he was in town at that time. And he was calling her and giving her messages and updates on projects and other stuff in New York that she thought he was on.
How did you guys manage to keep it a secret from her on set?
It was a lot of extra work and a lot of coordination, whether it was when he was in town, or working on his performance from afar with our team. It just came together in a really good way, but it just took a lot of extra work on our side. Although, really all the thank yous go to Donnie for not telling his wife. [Laughs.] That was the hard part right there. The easy part was keeping the secret on the production side.
You mentioned there were Easter eggs from Donnie that no one caught. Can you give an example?
There were Easter eggs with Donnie all the way through the show. Two episodes ago — just so you know, and no one's picked up on this at all — we had a producer interviewing all of our contestants in the clue packages. So when we were doing it, I called up Donnie, and I said, "Donnie, I want to record you asking all the questions, and we're not going to change your voice. We're just going to put it on air and see if anybody picks up at all that that is actually you." And he did it! We were trying to put like these little Easter eggs all the way through, because that really is the DNA of our show. He just loved playing the game all the way through and got a thrill out of it.
So Jenny didn't recognize his singing voice on stage or his real voice? That's hilarious.
Absolutely. It's great. I know. So it proved to be a great success. We were just so happy that it was organic. It was wonderful. No one is expecting someone to come out and do a song and dance, either. A lot of people on the internet thought it was Joel McHale or Jamie Foxx, and of course some people thought it was Donnie, but almost the majority thought it was Joel McHale.
Was Cluedle-Doo's performance always part of the plan?
From the get-go, when we had conversations with him, that was the eventual goal of having him perform in his reveal episode. So that was always the goal, but it was just getting the right timing, getting in the song, working on the songs in between when he was on set hitting his other show, so there was a lot of coordination to make that happen. I'm glad that this all worked out. And he really did it for the fans as well. He did it to punk his wife, and he did it to just say thank you to all the fans out there around the world because he hasn't performed in a while, like he mentioned in the show last night. He just had a ball doing it and keeping the secret and you saw that reaction. Everything was so honest, it was so great.
Do you think we'll see the return of Cluedle-Doo in future seasons, even if it isn't Donnie, perhaps?
Well, you know what, I think Cluedle-Doo was really a great success for the season. I'm not sure if Cluedle-Doo will be coming back next season, but maybe another character might be coming in Cluedle-Doo's place. Let's wait and find out.
What can you tell me about next week's finale?
Don't miss it. We have three powerhouses and it's anybody's game. We have LeAnn Rimes coming back, our winner from last season. What we did this season, for the first time, we actually have one of our past winners perform with all of our existing contestants in the game. So at the top of the episode, we start right off with the performance with LeAnn and Piglet, Black Swan, and Chameleon, and it's a great moment to see all of them sing together. It's an action packed episode. We've got three incredible performances. These are some of the biggest performances we've had all season. There's three incredible unmaskings, and of course, one grand winner from those three.
The Masked Singer season 5 finale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. Check out a sneak peek above.
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?
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