The Masked Singer ended another wild season with a jaw-dropping reveal: Fox, who won it all, was none other than Wayne Brady, the singer-actor-comic-dancer-game show host who proved with this win there's almost nothing he can't do.
As Fox, Brady had a standout season, absolutely killing cuts like "Hey Look Ma, I Made It" from Panic! at the Disco and a show-stopping rendition of T-Pain and Jaime Foxx's "Blame It (On the Alcohol)". But it was his turn at "Try a Little Tenderness" from Otis Redding — the song Jay-Z and Kanye brilliantly sampled for "Otis" — in the Season 2 finale that could very well go down as one of the best reality show performances ever, nailing every note, dancing and then rapping a verse.
A showman with experience across TV, film, music, theater, comedy (and even cruise ships!), Brady has done a lot in Hollywood for a very long time (he'll soon be in Black Lightning too) but as he revealed in a tender moment in the finale, he's sometimes felt he hasn't gotten recognition for all the things he's capable of. The paradox of being good at a lot of things is that can be hard for people to know exactly what to do categorize a person, and the Whose Line Is It Anyway? alum and current host of Let's Make a Deal has felt, ironically, shackled by his own success doing so many things. His Masked Singer win may very well have changed all that though, and in a talk with TV Guide after his coronation, Brady says that he's now ready to take on his career and life in a dynamic new way.
On the heels of a new single and forthcoming album (to add to his list of musical projects that includes a Grammy-nominated rendition of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come"), Brady the Fox says we're about to see a whole new animal. Read on to see what else he had to say.
Congratulations on your win! You absolutely killed that finale. Whose idea was it to incorporate the rap?
Brady: Thank you. I wish I could take complete credit but that song was one of the first I used to sing when I moved to L.A. And of course, Kanye and Jay-Z used the sample in their song "Otis." I saw it as a kismet, full circle moment where I would use my experience and kind of pay homage to two of my hip-hop idols. It was too good a moment to pass up.
Everyone says being in that costume was difficult to perform in, but there you were dancing and making everyone look bad. How'd you do it?
Brady: That's my job — to make everybody look bad. (Laughs) I think I had a little advantage two-fold: one, I'm a dancer. That's part of the package. Two, when it comes to the costume, when I was 16 or 17 I worked at Disney World, where I was a character. I was Tigger and Tigger was built exactly like the Fox costume, from head to tail. The tail has a belt and a counter weight that pulls on the stomach. I knew what I was in for. I was staying on my cardio game, got my breathing right so I could get though the songs like, "OK, this is how it feels? I got it.'"
Why'd you choose the Fox? Was there symbolism there?
Brady: They're cunning. They know how to survive in the wild and I've survived in the wild of Hollywood. They're underestimated; people tend to overlook them but they're the ones killing. And one of my favorite films is Fantastic Mr. Fox. I guess the fox is my spirit animal.
Why'd you want to do this? Did you sign on for it right away or did it take some convincing?
Brady: They offered it to me in the first season and I said no. I didn't know what it was. I'm a talent snob. I come from a very specific school of show business where anything that says "celebrity dot dot dot"... with some of the reality shows, sometimes people just want to see the train wreck. But I started watching the first season and I loved the way everyone's story was told with compassion and humor. And I saw real talent like T-Pain and Gladys Knight and Donny Osmond, and I'm competitive so I was like, let's do it.
Did you have to lie to a lot of people to keep the secret? And were you filming Let's Make a Deal at the same time? How on Earth did you pull that off?
Brady: It was a trip. Let's Make a Deal only shoots five months out of the year, but it happened to have been those months shooting. So I would get up early and rehearse Masked Singer, then go to Let's Make a Deal, then go back to choreography... I was also on a comedy tour and an executive producer for a teen improv show on BYUtv. I was doing all that and not sleeping, but I love to be in the thick of it. I was able to pull off a magic trick. Only the executive producers on Let's Make a Deal knew; folks did a really good job of keeping it on the low. Lin-Manuel Miranda texted me last week and sent me pic with his hands up like, "Come on! That's you!" I sent him back a pic of me and my daughter doing the same thing. I had to be super vague.
You certainly made a huge statement with this win this season. How did the experience change you?
Brady: It changed me in the sense that now I'm truly aware of what I want. I've always sung, from Broadway to TV... but I didn't attack it. There's a difference. You have to let people know [what you want]. I'm from a very old-school way, where you sort of wait for the [executives] to call you. But I love the hustle kids these days have where you just do it. This show is the first step in taking control of the narrative. You can do more, you are allowed to do more than one thing. Sometimes you have to present it to the audience in way that's palatable, and this is my opportunity to bring it all together. I realize now I am ready.
The Masked Singer returns for Season 3 after Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, Feb. 2 on Fox.
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