By Rachel Yang
January 11, 2021 at 09:00 AM EST
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Credit: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

He was the Fox on The Masked Singer, but Wayne Brady is all about dogs for his upcoming gig.

The performer is partnering up with Royal Canin to host the second annual Puppy Pre-Show, which will air prior to the AKC National Championship presented by the brand.

Above, EW can exclusively feature a couple of adorable submissions sent in by puppy owners, who are vying to be crowned "Puppy Best In Show" during the pre-show. The winner will earn a $5,000 cash prize and a year's supply of Royal Canin puppy food.

Brady, a dog lover with four of his own, says the pre-show isn't just for entertainment — it's also to educate people about the responsibilities of raising a puppy.

"People end up going, 'Oh my God, I love that dog,' maybe on a movie or a TV show; they don't think it all the way through that this puppy has to be taken care of," he tells EW. "It's an investment of time and energy and resources. And the puppy becomes a beautiful dog, like in the AKC Dog Show that this goes for, you end up seeing these amazing dogs, but they have to start some somewhere."

Hanging out with puppies is a pretty sweet gig, and Brady says it's certainly easier than competing on The Masked Singer.

"The mask is a lot harder than dealing with the dogs," Brady says. "Singing and dancing with a mask close to my face with a belt strapped to a tail pulled against my rib cage as I'm trying to belt high notes. That's possibly harder than that."

After winning season 2, Brady returned to the Fox singing competition as a guest panelist in season 4, which was great as he had already established relationships with the show and the other panelists.

"I feel that as a guest judge, I am a singer and someone who's been in the mask, I have a point of view. And I have a perspective that maybe the other guys on the panel don't," he says. "And I've known Robin [Thicke] for years, and I'm a fan of Ken [Jeong], and I did read the musical Rent with Nicole [Scherzinger] at the Hollywood Bowl. And I love Jenny [McCarthy], I've been friends with her for years. So it was cool to have the performance stress off and just be able to do the show and have fun."

And before you ask, no, Brady didn't know that Sun would win or that she was LeAnn Rimes. In fact, he hasn't been able to keep up with television at all lately. The prolific actor, who's also known for Whose Line Is It Anyway? and his stints on Broadway, has been busy working on his own shows: Game of Talents, another Fox guessing show and talent competition, airing later this year, and a sitcom based on his life for CBS.

The Puppy Pre-Show will air across Royal Canin social channels on Tuesday, where Brady will be joined by other puppy experts. The winning puppy video, along with other finalists, will also be featured in the TV broadcast of the AKC championship, which airs on Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.

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