The Rhino on The Masked Singer was literally too tired to continue on the show
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.
The Rhino needs to go to bed now.
Before former MLB pitcher Barry Zito gave his final performance on The Masked Singer, he had been at his wife's bedside after she delivered their third child. He was plum tuckered! Here, the leftie hurler from the Oakland Athletics, who co-wrote the song "Butterflies" that was used in an Eddie Murphy film, talks about how extreme fatigue — and a lack of performing experience — probably led to his departure.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you thinking that non-baseball-fans wouldn't recognize you?
BARRY ZITO: I knew that if people had known me as the baseball player, that I was musically inclined and had released some music in the past, then they might connect the dots. But I think people were thrown off the trail for a while until judge Jenny McCarthy threw it out there. On my fourth or fifth performance, she kinda went on this rant about how I was married to Amber [Seyer], who was Miss Missouri at one point. I was actually quite shocked. I thought I had everyone fooled.
I wonder how she figured that out, like she did research on her own or something.
I think I'd heard from the producers that they definitely tell the judges not to. I don't know. I do know that Jenny is a big baseball fan. But when she threw out my wife's name, I was like, what?
Some people thought you were Andy Grammer or Lionel Richie.
Oh yeah. There were like these real legit singers. It was super-flattering. I was very happy to hear these names.
Were you a fan of the show when they approached you?
Yeah, absolutely. I have young kids, and so we would watch the show. It's just a great family-fun show. It came across my desk back in December. At that point, my wife and I were five, six months pregnant. We were going to be having a baby in late March. I knew that the shooting schedule was kind of butting up to that red zone, if you will. I ended up doing it and my wife was very supportive. At first I was kind of afraid to go be so vulnerable on a stage in such a precarious, unexpected atmosphere. And after we agreed, we got the news that there were complications and our baby was kind of small and would come significantly early. That really threw a whole wrench into the experience. So I was flying to L.A. every three days from Nashville to see my wife and family for a day, and then jumping on a plane at 5 a.m. to go into rehearsals again. It was a pretty stressful experience. Then our baby actually did come five weeks early, and I had to jump on a plane right at 11 p.m. after I sang "You've Lost that Loving Feeling." We had our baby hours later. So it was pretty gnarly. Two days after we had the baby and I was up for two days straight in the hospital, I got back on a plane and flew back out for my last performance before I got unmasked.
You got unmasked right after you had the baby!
I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants on that last performance because I didn't get any sleep. I had really no time for rehearsals and I just kinda got thrown out there. It worked out perfect because I mean, you know, we have a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old, and then a newborn. My wife was there flying solo.
So did you have any rehearsal time before your final performance?
You get a day of choreography, and the next day you get dry blocking on stage, two or three run-throughs, and then pretty much after that you go into shooting. I didn't get my choreographing day, so I had my one dry blocking day and then right into shooting. I definitely didn't get a chance to rehearse. I felt like I performed it okay. But you know, all those circumstances definitely took a toll. To be honest, I was just shocked that I even made it to the top four. I would bet my left leg that the [remaining contestants] have been singing on stage their whole life. For me to be with them, I just felt like any song I would have sung, I would have been eliminated. They were so incredible.
Dude, you outlasted Bret Michaels though! I feel like you have to frame that and hang it in your house.
I know, man! I met Bret a few years ago in this celebrity softball game in Nashville, and he was just the sweetest human being I have ever met. I was just blown away. I just wish I would've known he was the Banana so I could give him a big old hug. And Chaka Khan? She's one of my musical heroes.
Hey, so how much taller did the Rhino costume make you?
I think I was 7 and a half feet tall with the rhino mask. I couldn't even see anything. I almost broke that horn off multiple times.
What's next for you?
I've been writing country music. We just released a song last week called "The Greatest," and it's an old Kenny Rogers song that I did a more modern take on. So that's out there now, which is great. I've always wanted to produce, and so I'll have more music coming out later this year. I'm super-excited just to continue my musical endeavors.
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays on Fox.
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