Comedian and actor Sherri Shepherd must've felt her ears burning in the very first days of The Masked Singer; way back when we were all trying to determine the identity of the Raven, Jenny McCarthy kept hollering "Sherri Shepherd!" as if Sherri Shepherd was coming to her in her dreams at night. Well, color Jenny bad, because in the first of Wednesday's back-to-back episodes, "Mask Us Anything," Jenny's predictions finally came face to face with reality: her friend Sherri Shepherd stood before her on the stage, Penguin head in hand.
Shepherd admits that she's no singer — while she said she's a champion shower singer, she took the gig because she was terrified of it — and after her rendition of Meghan Trainer's "All About That Bass," she was sent to shower sing to her heart's content. TV Guide talked with Shepherd about why she chose the Penguin suit, lying to her friend Jenny for all that time, and why she's going to get on her hands and knees to praise Beyonce the next time she sees her.
Surely you noticed that Jenny kept guessing your name as a contestant, both last season and this year. What did you make of that?
Shepherd: Jenny guessed it; she has known me for 20 years. So it's hard to put anything past her. [When I joined this season], I took a whole bunch of pictures and video. I had to be in New York and I'm like, "Hey Jenny, I'm in New York." So when she would text me "Where are you?" I said, "New York!" She said, "No, you're not." She knows me, she knows all my moves, we've been on dates together. It was very hard. She knows me very well but I think I threw her off.
Did you have much experience singing?
Shepherd: I can't sing. I'm a professional karaoke-r. I cannot sing to save my life. But my mantra is, if it scares me, then I'm doing it. But I learned something: The way I sing in the shower is not the same. I wanted to do "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo and I learned how much you have to use your breath. Like how is she twerking and playing the flute? That's her gift. My gift is comedy; that's what I do. I tried to do "Truth Hurts" and I almost passed out in the first 30 seconds. As soon she says, "You could have had a bad bitch," I was like 'This bitch is about to die!"
Why'd you pick the Penguin costume?
Shepherd: I was one of the first people to pick my costume. I didn't want wings. I didn't want anything formfitting; I remember seeing LaToya Jackson and was like "I don't want anything showing my belly." I thought what the penguin was wearing represented my life: You think you know me, but it's not black and white. I didn't know you wouldn't be able to see. In order for me to see out the beak I had to look down: all you could see is the floor. Nick Cannon had to guide me off the stage. When I was twerking and dropping it low I was like, "Please don't let me fall off the stage."
Did you want to go further, or were you ready to go?
Shepherd: It was fun; of course I wanted to stay. The biggest regret was that I wasn't in shape to breathe more and do the choreography. It makes you have so much respect for people like Drake, Chris Brown, Usher, Janet Jackson, Beyonce. What Beyonce did at Coachella — the next time I see Beyonce I'm going to get on my hands and knees. I don't even have a baby!
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.