The Masked Singer reveals Mallard as reality star: Here's how Chris Pratt ended up in his clue package
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday night's episode of The Masked Singer.
The Group B semifinals didn't mess around on Wednesday night.
Once again, two contestants had to leave The Masked Singer stage to pave way for the final group showdowns in the coming weeks, and once again a contestant almost got the Take It Off Buzzer treatment. This time it was Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg who hit the button for Caterpillar, and guessed he was... Jake Gyllenhaal?
She was obviously wrong, as fellow panelist Nicole Scherzinger pointed out with glee, and her punishment is to clean out Ken Jeong's dressing room. But, after four pretty good performances, and a slight detour by Jenny, it was time for the real eliminations. Mallard got the boot first.
The first impressions — Larry the Cable Guy (Robin Thicke's), Toby Keith (McCarthy-Wahlberg's), Dierks Bentley (Scherzinger's), Billy Ray Cyrus (Jeong's) — were all over the map, and ultimately, incorrect. In perhaps the most ironic reveal in the show's history, the bedazzled duck was unmasked to reveal Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson.
Ahead of the reveal, EW chatted with Robertson about the macabre irony of his costume, that Chris Pratt clue, and more. (And head over here for EW's interview with Caterpillar, who was revealed as Queer Eye's Bobby Berk.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: As a duck hunter, were you worried your costume was maybe a bit too on the nose?
WILLIE ROBERTSON: I felt like I was hiding in plain sight with that thing on. I had no idea that's where we were going. I had some ideas for costumes, and then when we spoke they were like, "Let me just show you something we were thinking of that's really cool." And when I saw it, I was like, "Oh, 100 percent. If y'all let me wear that, I am all in." And they said they thought it would kind of throw people off because it was so on the nose that they just loved the idea. He was kind of dapper looking, and I just thought it was just a beautiful, beautiful costume. It was really tall. I was 9-foot-6-inches tall. So that was a really tall hat. And I couldn't see below my nose, so it was very difficult up there moving around. Whatever you've heard, how hard it is, it's even harder than you think when you've got that thing on. It's crazy, crazy hot and I was sweating and you can't wipe your face. It's crazy when you're out there doing it.
What was your gut reaction when the producers called to see if you'd do the show?
Well, I would say it was never on my radar, but my mother-in-law, that is her favorite show. And every time I saw her, she would say, "You have to do this show. You would be so good on this show." And I was like, "I don't know how you sign up to do the show…" And then lo and behold, my agent called and said, "Hey, Masked Singer wants you to be on there," and I died laughing. I said, "My mother-in-law is going to be so happy. She's gonna be happier than I am. That's for sure." So yeah, I said I'd do it, and I really didn't know what I was getting into. I mean, I'd sang before, but nothing like that. I've done TV before, but nothing like that. I was open to the challenge, and it was harder than I thought. But you know, it was pleasing as well. I felt really good about what I did and just felt great. I was able to get up there and not screw it up too bad, because you just don't know until the moment. There's so many things going through your head, like if I've missed the words, there's just a lot of stuff going on. But it was awesome. It was very fulfilling.
So did your mother-in-law figure out it was you?
Oh for sure. If you know us, it's pretty obvious. I mean, even the clues were pretty obvious about meeting my wife at church camp. A lot of my stories have been told I guess from being on TV, and just in the family going back. So yeah, as we've been watching it, we'd be like, "Oh, this is so obvious." The clues were fun. I saw one clue that I didn't get. There was a little whale, and my wife goes, "That's Free Willy." I didn't catch that. That was one I missed.
So since you've been watching, does that mean you saw Chris Pratt's message to you?
I did! I thought it was so cool. I was so glad he was able to do that. And it was so funny. It was classic, classic Chris. I didn't know what he was gonna do. [Laughs] But we thought it was so funny. I still don't know where he was at or what he was doing. There was a lot of people that I could have asked, but I really wanted [Pratt] to throw people even more off. Because if I had gotten a country music singer, it would have made more sense. But I wanted to do this Hollywood angle to really throw people off. I think it worked with the judges because they were like, "Wait a minute." So then they were trying to connect me back to him and stuff. It was so obscure, because all my clues are just so off the wall, from selling albums, to writing books, just a lot of stuff that is not what I do. But that's what all came out of that.
Obviously Duck Dynasty is a very different show than The Masked Singer, but did you find that having reality show experience helped prepare you at all for this show?
For sure. Yeah. It's totally different, but I think knowing how TV works and knowing that you gotta get prepared for whatever it is you do helps. But singing is tough, singing is different. I sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on the dugout of a Major League Baseball game. We sang live at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, me and Luke Bryan. I remember Luke looking at me and he goes, "What is wrong with you?" I'm like, "I'm about to throw up. I'm so nervous." He's like, "Why are you nervous? It's on TV." And I'm like, "Yeah… but there's still a stadium here full of people!" [Laughs] So it's a different kind of deal. But I think with the mask on, it kind of gave me the freedom because nobody knows who I am. So if I'm terrible, you've only got to wear it for like five minutes. No one knows who you are. So it kind of gave me that sense of freedom.
If you could give advice to future Masked Singer contestants, what would it be?
One thing I did that helped, was that you need to have some adversity. So I would put a towel around my entire head and make it really hard to breathe. Because that was one thing, I just had to figure out the breathing [in the mask]. And then I think you should practice how you're going to be doing it, which is under stress, trying to get your breath right, and all that. I took advantage of all the practice time. When we'd practice I would put that mask on every time, even though it's uncomfortable. You'd want to practice [without it], especially with your moves or how you're going to dance or whatever, but I always had that on. With more time in there, you get more and more used to it. That first song, I thought there's no way I can do this. This, it's impossible. But the more you're in it, the more you kind of get the little tricks of the trade.
What'd you take away from this experience?
It was something I accomplished. I felt like I did something really cool, something to tell my grandkids about. It was a challenge and I was nervous, but you go out there and you do it. And I made it to the semifinals. I feel proud of that. Hopefully I've inspired my kids to say, "Hey, whatever it is in life, if you get a challenge, go do it." And with Sadie [Robertson, his daughter] being on Dancing with the Stars, same way with her. It was so hard, but then when she made it to the finals, there's a sense of accomplishment and no one can take that away from you. You're able to do a big, fun show. And it was fun to be back on TV on Wednesday nights.
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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?