The celeb under the Mushroom mask tells EW he was convinced that Howie Mandel was on the show.
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX
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Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.

Mushroom sprouted all the way up to the finals this season on The Masked Singer, but ultimately fell just short of the crown in the finale.

After a rousing rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," everyone's favorite spore was named first runner-up and was revealed to be Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc. Here, Blacc reveals how he fooled the panelists, what went into his varied song choices, and why he was positive that Howie Mandel was one of the contestants. Plus, he teases a new collaboration with Steve Aoki.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You really fooled the panel and much of the audience with the character you portrayed. How did you decide to play it that way? You said on the show it had to do with your daughter?
My daughter doesn't necessarily walk like that, but my idea was to embody the spirit of my daughter and to play this kind of feminine role. And the Mushroom costume had a stem and a skirt instead of pant legs, so it kind of helped to inspire a little bit more of that kind of feminine movement. But I was inspired by the way that my daughter plays when she dresses up in her princess dresses, and being extra flamboyant. So that was one of the things. Also, it was just part of trying to throw everybody off the trail. I didn't want to wear a costume that was too close to what people would imagine Aloe Blacc would wear.

And you decided to play that character as soon as you saw the costume?
Yeah. The costume was presented to me in the very beginning. And I had the choice between the Broccoli costume and a few others, but I really enjoyed the craftsmanship that went behind making the Mushroom costume. I also felt like there was a small connection in terms of me being super into growing my own vegetables and fruits and stuff, that the mushroom sort of represented the garden. And I felt like that was a nice little connection.

Did you have any idea you'd be that successful in keeping everyone on their toes?
I had no idea how successful I'd be in throwing the panelists and the audience off, I really was just trying my hardest to create something that was different almost every time.

What went into choosing each of the songs you performed?
At first I was putting together a list of female ballads, power ballads, rock and pop ballads, that I thought would be entertaining for the audience. So with Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time," I thought that was going to be really cool for an older generation who was familiar with that particular song and Cher. Then I thought that the Katy Perry song "Unconditionally" would be cool for a younger generation watching the show. And then I thought the Kate Bush/Maxwell "This Woman's Work" falsetto would be something different from what people recognize in my voice. Although, the first two singles off of my new album, All Love Everything, have falsetto moments in them. I was really hoping nobody would get me based on the fact that I've just released songs with falsettos in them. I think the songs that ultimately really, really showed who I was behind the mask would have been the Donny Hathaway song ["A Song for You"] that I sang in a Smackdown against Broccoli, and then my finale song ["I Wish" by Stevie Wonder]. Those two certainly would have indicated something.

Since you made it all the way to the finale, did you have time to figure out anyone's identity?
I was really guessing all the way up to the end. I had no idea who was behind the mask. I'd heard Crocodile's voice backstage, because I'm not allowed to hear what they do on stage. I heard him warming up. And I'd heard Squiggly Monster's voice while he was talking behind the curtain next to me in his little waiting room. But I had no idea. I thought it was Howie Mandel. So I was just certain that Howie Mandel was on the show. And I had heard a voice singing this amazing run backstage while warming up. And I was like, there's no way I'm gonna win this competition with a voice like that on the show. And it ended up being Seahorse's voice, because I couldn't see who it was at the time. The only person I think could do that would be Tori Kelly, or maybe Kelly Rowland. Somebody with Kelly in their name. And, of course, it ended up being Tori Kelly. So I was right, but I had no idea.

Your latest album just came out in October. How did you balance that with being on the show?
I feel like my album, All Love Everything, and The Masked Singer, almost serve the same purpose. The album is about everything that I love — my family, my friends, my parents, kids. And it tells stories about my relationship. It's all about togetherness and connection. And I feel like in this time, where we're all challenged by the pandemic, where our country is divided politically, we need these messages, these moments that remind us how connected we are and how together we are. And that's why I chose the Mushroom. I feel like it's sharing that message, because mushrooms underneath the ground connect all of the plant life and are a huge part of communicating through the root system.

So what's next for you?
I have a collaboration coming out really soon with Steve Aoki. I released a single called "My Way" earlier this year, and Steve Aoki and I have a collaboration on a revamped version of that... Which makes me think I probably should have done my finale song as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as kind of a cheeky little nod to my single, but I ended up choosing a Stevie Wonder song because I play Stevie Wonder in the house all the time. My daughter's favorite songs are his, and we dance to them. So I thought when she sees the reveal, and she sees the song, it's going to be a special moment for me and her.

Blacc's dance mix version of "My Way" with Steve Aoki comes out Dec. 23, and can be presaved now.

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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?

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