The Masked Singer's holiday-themed episode wasn't entirely cheery and bright for Victor Oladipo -- the baller and phenomenal singer got banished back to the woods from whence he game as part of a double elimination that also had singer Seal (!) saying bye bye.
As Thingamajig, the Indiana Pacers All-Star was one of the surprising vocal standouts of the season; his rendition of John Legend's "Ordinary People," for example, was one of those you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it TV moments of the year. For basketball fans, it might've been easy to recognize the voice crooning out "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "Caught Up" by Usher; he's got a whole oeuvre of music videos and, last year, he signed a deal with the high powered WME agency to represent him for projects in Hollywood. Looks like that's working out for him! He's been out of the game for a while, rehabbing a knee, but as we've seen on The Masked Singer, he's been using his time really, really wisely. TV Guide caught up with him as he said goodbye to the show that's very likely going to make him a star.
Could you believe you were in the same competition as Patti LaBelle and Seal?
It's unbelievable to have an opportunity to come this far on the show, to be with such people who can actually sing for a living. It was an honor and a blessing to be in the building with them, but I didn't get a chance to know it was them 'til now.
You're used to performing as an athlete, but what was it like being inside that costume?
Oladipo: It was a little different. The mask is the toughest part it. It gets hot in there. You can't see. You have to learn the steps too, you have to remember all the words... to do that in that environment, it was difficult, but after a while, once you get used to it, you become immersed in the costume and role and character. It was kind of cool being able to do something different, to step into a new role and become a new thing and have that thing become you. Everyone knew me as one thing. I just wanted to do something to share my gift. To show I have a real gift; I'm not just OK at it, I'm pretty good at it.
Did you have say in picking the costume? Was there any symbolism with you being a radioactive-looking monster?
Oladipo: They sent me some options. I picked that one. It was something you don't see every day -- something different, at the same time exuberant. I definitely felt like it represented my personality. When I'm singing I'm one kind of monster -- I'm warm and fuzzy; I like to have a good time -- and when I'm on the court I'm a different monster. I'm trying to be the best at it, I'm trying to win championship rings. I'm trying to show I can do both at the highest level.
I'm sure you noticed that Nicole Scherzinger was thirsting after you hard. What did you think about that? Are you like, the world's first hot monster sex symbol?
Oladipo: (Laughs) It was kind of cool. For her to feel that way about the Thingamajig and my voice, obviously for who she is who she is, it's dope.
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.
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