The season 5 champ tells EW about joining the show with just four days' notice.

Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's season 5 finale of The Masked Singer.

The Piglet, as panelist Robin Thicke put it, did in fact go wee, wee, wee, all the way to the top of The Masked Singer season 5 finale on Wednesday night.

After being crowned the winner, the adorable oinkster took off his spinning hat to reveal 98 Degrees singer, actor, and TV host Nick Lachey. Here, Lachey opens up about embracing being "ridiculous," getting involved in the production just four days before shooting began, and the advice fellow boy bander and Masked Singer season 1 contestant Rabbit (a.k.a. Joey Fatone) gave him about doing the show. Plus, he announces a 98 Degrees comeback tour and new music.

Nick Lachey as Piglet on 'The Masked Singer'
| Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said way back in the beginning of the season that you joined the show just four days before shooting began. What was the story there?

NICK LACHEY: Yeah, I actually was in talks to be a part of season 2, and then I had another show that I was a part of, so I couldn't make it work schedule-wise. It didn't work out, but you know, Masked Singer had always been kind of on my radar as something I wanted to do. I know a bunch of other people who had done it, and my kids were a huge fan of the show, as was I. So I was on a ski trip with some friends in Colorado, and I got a call and they said, "Hey, we need somebody to be a part of this season. Would you want to do it? It's like in four days." [Laughs] So I said yes, and jumped right in. They presented me with the Piglet costume, and I flew back, and we went kind of right into it, which was exciting. So that worked out. I've always wanted to do the show, so even a last minute call was a welcome one.

So I guess you probably had less leeway with your costume than the others did.

Well, I'm sure if I would have said, "I hate pigs, absolutely not," they would have come up with something else. But ironically, I'm from Cincinnati, the City of the Flying Pigs, and they call it Porkopolis, and my production company is Flying Pig Productions, so the pig persona was something that was already very, very, very much in my life. So I kind of took that as a sign like, all right, this is definitely supposed to happen. It was kind of meant to be.

It was seriously so cute. I couldn't get over the spinning hat.

It's so ridiculous. You just have to have the best time with it, you know what I mean? The propeller spinning on the head, sometimes I'd be standing there and the judges are talking and I could feel my mask moving back and forth from the propeller, spinning it around. [Laughs] You really just have to go out there and have a blast and embrace the kind of ridiculous, crazy nature of the show. That's what I tried to do.

Yes, speaking of that, I had no idea you were such a ham — pardon the pun.

I think there's a certain freedom you have being in this costume and under this mask to be absolutely ridiculous. There's no self-consciousness about it because you're in a pig costume. It's just completely ridiculous. So I really tried to have as much fun with Piglet as I could and give him as much personality as I could. And I credit Joey Fatone, I talked to him after he was the Rabbit in the first season. He's like, "Dude, if you ever do this, you have to like give your character a personality and have fun with it." So that's what I tried to do. I tried to just go in there and have fun and be silly and do things I wouldn't be able to do as Nick Lachey, but you can definitely do as Piglet. So that was part of the appeal and part of the fun of it for me.

You talked a lot on the show about doing it for your kids. Do they know you're the Piglet yet?

Well, my kids don't know that I won, but we watched the first episode together. Literally I think two or three notes got out of my mouth, and my daughter pointed at me, and said, "That's Daddy!" They knew my voice and knew exactly that it was me probably before anybody else did, which was pretty funny. So we've gone through the season watching it together and having Masked Singer Wednesdays, and they know this is the week that daddy gets unmasked and sent home, but they don't know that I've won. In fact, my son on the way to school today said, "Daddy, I had a dream that you lost." So I said, "Well, we'll just have to wait and see what happens." It's been fun. That's part of the reason I did it, because my kids were so into the show and I knew they'd have fun with it. Anything you can do that your kids enjoy, at this point, that makes it worthwhile.

One of your performances that sticks out to me was your opera version of "Superstition." How did that come about?

Well, I went into the show wanting to show as much range as I could and really not be one-dimensional, but show kind of a really wide range of ability. And, hey, if I'm gonna go down, at least go down swinging, and do something that hasn't been done before. So I went to a performing arts school, and we did some opera when I was in school. So, I went to the producers, and asked if they'd ever do an opera, and they kind of came back and said, "I don't think we've ever done that. It's kind of cool, but I don't know if we could do a whole song. That might be too much." So we kind of collaborated, the music department and I, and came up with this idea of doing this opera intro. And so I looked up what is "the writing's on the wall" in Italian, which is obviously a line from "Superstition." Then we put it into Italian, to make a little opera intro, and that's how we kind of came up with that. So big shout out to the music departments, because they make it so fun and they're so collaborative.

What was your favorite performance of yours?

I think it's probably the Lukas Graham song "7 Years." I've always loved that song, and I'm very close with my dad and I have a son myself, and just the premise of that song about your kid and your parents and life, and I just have always loved that record. So I was thrilled to have the chance to perform it. That's the cool thing about the show, for me as a singer, you're out there every week singing great songs, people's hit songs. It's a real honor to be able to do that. Then to see it be kind of validated when people like Jenny [McCarthy, panelist] get choked up or whatever, I mean, as a performer, when those moments happen, you know you've kind of done your job and you've gotten the point across. It felt good to see emotion like that. That's the goal.

Nick Lachey
Nick Lachey
| Credit: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Has it sunk in that you won yet?

No. I mean, it's so weird, because no one knows. You know what I mean? It's such a different kind of show in that it's totally anonymous. I mean, people can guess it's you, but until the finale, no one knows it's you. And I've said this before to other people, but you don't know who you're competing against. You have no clue if it's a crazy killer singer under that mask, or if it's an actor, or athlete — you just don't know. From a competition standpoint, you almost have to compete with yourself, like golf — you have to go out there and try and shoot your best score and hope that it's good enough. Because you can't really compete with anyone else, because you don't know who they are, so it's such a unique set up and a unique experience in that way. I've really tried to go out there and better myself every week and hope for the best. The person I heard the most was Black Swan, just like in soundcheck and stuff. I'm like, "Man, this girl, I don't know who it is, but she can sing." So you know, I knew from early on there was definitely some good competition on the show. It's hard to put into words because it's such a unique experience.

I bet it's been interesting watching each week with your kids and finding out who you were competing against.

Yeah, it really kind of makes it fun for us, too, because I'm watching the whole thing and thinking like, "Oh, wow, I had no idea Mark McGrath was on the show, or Bobby Brown was on the show." It's awesome.

I know you have some exciting news for 98 Degrees fans. What can you tell me about that?

We're doing a campaign this summer called 98 Days of Summer, which kicks off June 11. We have a new single coming out July 9, called "Where Do You Wanna Go," and we also have a remix record that we've done, we mixed a lot of our old songs. And there's also more new music coming as well. We're so excited to get back out there and do what we love to do, which is perform and give our fans some new music. I think we sound better than ever, and love the song we're about to put out. So it's super exciting to be able to have some new music out in the marketplace and ultimately be back on the road doing what we love to do.

What surprised you the most about doing The Masked Singer, and what did you personally take away from it?

I think what surprised me the most is how hard it was. And I know that's a common answer, probably, but you go into it knowing it's gonna be a little different than your typical performance situation, but it's so tricky. It's just such a learning curve with that costume. The first few times I got in it, I was just so frustrated because I couldn't breathe. I felt like I couldn't sing. You're claustrophobic. You're sweating. So I was proud of the fact — and this is probably true for every single one of us — you have to find a way to make it work, right? You have to change what you're doing, change the way you perform, change what you're used to, work with the costume department and make it better. There was a moment early on in the first couple of performances where I thought, "I don't think I can do this." It was getting ready to go into that Lukas Graham performance, like, "I don't think I can do that song like this, I just can't do it." And you kind of have to figure out a way to make it work. I think that's what I didn't expect. I didn't expect it to be that hard.

But what I took away from it, I guess is just the sense of pride that I was able to figure it out. I'm proud that I gave good performances and made people feel things, that's my job and my goal as a performer. It's one of those unique experiences I'll always have, and got to share with my kids. So, all the way across, it was definitely one of the more special and unique and strange experiences I've ever been a part of, but also probably one of the most rewarding. So no regrets at all, I enjoyed every second.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

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?

  • TV Show
  • 5
  • Wednesdays at 08:00 PM

Comments have been disabled on this post