Serpent says being on The Masked Singer was a 'once in a lifetime experience' for him
The Serpent has slithered on back to the hospital.
When the scaly reptile shed his skin on Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer, he was revealed to be the Singing Surgeon himself, Dr. Elvis Francois. Francois first joined The Masked Singer family during the TMS aftershow in season 3, and he later released an EP Music Is Medicine to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts.
Here, he opens up about his wild journey to The Masked Singer, why it was the experience of a lifetime for him, and his hopes of releasing more music in the near future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I understand you're a big fan of the show, so walk me through how you got involved with this season.
DR. ELVIS FRANCOIS: Last season, I had the honor and opportunity of being able to share a few cover songs in the aftershow section. And I'm just such a huge fan of the show. I've followed all along. Having had that opportunity was a really cool experience, especially with how crazy work had been. Then they floated the idea of possibly having an opportunity of being a masked contestant. I was kind of stunned at first, thinking there's no way that I'm going to have time to leave the hospital for an extended period of time to be able to do that. I guess things that are meant to be tend to work out, and the timeline ended up fitting perfectly in between the ending of my residency to fellowship training. So I had a time slot where I could make it happen, and the rest was Masked Singer history, I guess. It was really cool.
What about the Serpent really stood out to you?
So the interesting thing is, I actually had another costume all lined up, and the plan was to move forward with that. And they reached out literally just right before we actually started the competition, and they showed me the Serpent and it made perfect sense. The medical symbol, which is the caduceus, is the Hermes staff with two serpents wrapped around it. So as soon as I saw it, I knew it was completely meant to be just because of what it means in medicine, and me being able to have that as a potential clue. And the costume itself is just out of this world, like the tentacles are moving. It looks like something from an old Egyptian royal tomb or something like that. It was just really cool, and for all those reasons I fell in love with it.
The costume is the first on the show to feature animatronics. Was the costume really heavy? Did you have problems with it?
Yeah, it was zero percent easy and very, very, very tough. It's a heavy package on your back. I would say it's maybe like an extra 40 pounds or so. Then the mask itself is like imagine if you put an oven to 375 degrees, and you stuck your head inside the oven and then tried to sing a song, and then you also have 40 pounds of weight on your back. That's exactly what the costume was like, but it was so cool. Being onstage and trying to juggle a couple dance routines, singing, and then all that other physical stress was pretty demanding, but by the third performance, I definitely kind of found my way to make the most of it because it was a once in a lifetime experience.
For your second performance, you sang Maren Morris' "The Bones." Please tell me that was a cheeky reference to your profession.
Yeah. I'm glad you caught that, because what's so crazy about the show is that so many things just kept happening that made perfect sense. So we were floating different songs, and I looked at the list and I saw "The Bones," and I thought it was almost too good to be true. I'm an orthopedic surgeon, and that's all we do is bones and helping fix broken fractures. So yes, 100%. The cool thing about it was, after I did that song, a few friends of mine who had no idea that I was on the show, they put two and two together and were like, "Wait a minute. You were gone, weren't you, for an amount of time?" So I didn't tell them, and they're gonna be pretty shocked. They had better guesses than Ken!
Did you come up with any intricate lies to throw people off?
For sure. And I'm not a good liar, so anyone who knew me would just nod, and say, "Okay, bro, whatever you say." I told multiple people that I was at a medical conference in Los Angeles. Anyone who knows anything knows that all medical conferences during the pandemic have been postponed or delayed. [Laughs.] So I should have picked a better lie.
As a fan, what was the most surprising thing to you about being on the show?
The most surprising thing is it's like imagine if the CIA and FBI and then I guess the Russian mafia got together and wanted to keep a complete secret hold on people's identities. That's what the whole thing is like. I mean, from the moment I landed in Los Angeles until I left, I was completely shrouded from the rest of the world. So it was really, really cool. It truly is like a mask, and you get to become someone who you are not.
Your reveal was probably the most emotional one on the show yet. What did that moment and panelist Ken Jeong's reaction mean to you?
It was definitely touching. It was hard for me to keep my composure, especially knowing that I had to do one more song after that. I know for me, what I really, really was proud of was having that space and having that moment be directed to the frontline workers in healthcare. And if anything, I would say thank you to Ken. I've never met him in person before, beyond being unmasked on the show, but knowing that his words that he said to me were really directed to all of our health care workers across the country was special, and I think that's where the true honor goes.
What's next for you?
I'm finishing my spine surgery fellowship here in Boston and the goal is to get a job as a spine surgeon. While I'm doing that, I'm actually writing some original music now, and I'm hoping to release some original music in the next few months. So hopefully I can find a way to share a bit of music and medicine with people for as long as people allow me to.
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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?