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The Masked Singer's Rottweiler Shares a Very Unexpected Reason for Choosing the Dog Suit

He didn't go all the way but says the experience changed him

Malcolm Venable

He didn't go all the way in the second season of The Masked Singer, but the Rottweiler -- unveiled Wednesday asAmerican Idol alum Chris Daughtry -- says the experience changed him as a person and a performer.

Throughout the season, the costumed canine turned in some of the show's best performances ever, blowing the judges and the audience away with renditions of hits like Hall & Oates' "Maneater" and "Love Runs Out" by OneRepublic. The clues made his identity clearer and clearer as the competition went on (the nods to North Carolina, where he spent of his formative years, were a big giveaway) but he kept people stumped.

TV Guide talked with the unmasked singer as he concluded the season to ask about being on the show, what it was like inside that costume, and how being the Rottweiler helped him get over longstanding fears.

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You came so far! Did you watch the season and have any idea you were up against greats like Patti LaBelle all that time?
Daughtry: I did not! I had no idea who any of them were until everybody else knew. We were covered at all times and weren't allowed to speak to anyone unless they had 0n a sweater that said "Talk to me." We never really knew who we were dealing with. I remember being in my trailer, and [I] would hear people warming up and couldn't figure it out. I was floored when I figured out that Patti was up against me all that time. It was pretty surreal.

Why'd you want to do it?
Daughtry: I was excited about the opportunity to perform under the veil of anonymity. It was attractive to me. I remember seeing video of Ryan Reynolds as a masked singer in Korea and thinking I would love to do something like that. Then after my friend T-Pain was on it I thought it would be a fun opportunity.

You're known for being into meditation, and from what other people have said, I gather that being inside that costume is almost like a meditation in way, in the sense that you transcend yourself. Did you feel that way?
Daughtry: 100 percent. It was pretty cathartic. Nobody can see you. You're in the bubble of the present, there's no judgment because no one knows who you are. There's this freedom in that -- you're performing and it's not what people expect or are used to seeing from you. It's very liberating. It felt very mediative -- being with myself in the quiet.

What was it like being inside the costume? I've heard it's hot and you can't move, but you made it look easy.
Daughtry: Honestly, I get cold a lot especially on TV stages. It was hot, but I didn't mind. It was pretty comforting actually. It was like walking around with a blanket on. I do remember a few times feeling like was going to die. Once I got started with the choreography and everything, y0u're trying to perform in a normal way but the costume is like 80 pounds. I was getting so winded, I was like, how does this even sound? It was certainly a test.

Why'd you pick the Rottweiler costume?
Daughtry: I'm such a Batman fan, and you know he had this fear of bats. It was similar for me: I was bitten by a Rottweilerwhen I was 15 or 16 and they'd said the dog was the sweetest ever. But when I went to pet it, it bit me on the leg and ever since I had this fear of Rottweilers. I had this image that they all bit. So being a Rottweiler embodies that idea of facing my fears.

What's next, now that you have this experience under your belt?
Daughtry: [My band Daughtry] has been starting a bunch of new stuff, setting some touring dates for 2020. It's going to be a big year. This was like icing on the cake.

The Masked Singer returns for Season 3 after Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 on Fox.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)

The Masked Singer

The Masked Singer

Michael Becker / FOX