The comedian and “The Price is Right” host became the second celebrity to be unmasked on Season 3 of “The Masked Singer,” following Sunday’s reveal of hip-hop star Lil Wayne. Carey was dressed as the Llama, and was voted off despite a rousing rendition of Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” on Wednesday night’s show.
“I thought it was going to be a quick ride,” Carey told Variety. “After I got past the first round, everything else was gravy… I like to carry a tune. I knew I wasn’t going to win that contest. There’s no way to watch that show and take it seriously, really. When you have Wayne Brady and Seal and whomever else on there, I’m not going to win against those people on a singing show! But as far as having a goof and having fun, I can do that. And I’m pretty self-aware. I watched the show, and I know why they have somebody like me on the show. They always have a beloved old guy. I knew how long I’d last!”
Carey confirmed that “The Masked Singer” takes the anonymity of its contestants seriously: “I was under the impression when I signed up that all the celebrities would be hanging out and we’d get to talk, and then we’d put on our masks. But then I found out, you don’t even know who anybody else is. They keep everybody separate. I never saw anybody until we were doing pictures together in costume. We’re under strict orders not to talk to anybody.”
“The Masked Singer” is filmed at CBS Television City, where “The Price is Right” is also shot, which made it a bit challenging for Carey.
“That was a pain, pretending it was my first time there,” he said. “I can walk there in three minutes from where I walk from ‘Price is Right,'” he said. “The ‘Masked Singer’ stage manager, Jonathan, was the stage manager on ‘The Price is Right’ for four years. If anybody knows me, this guy knows me. That’s his whole job, to look at me, point me to places and make sure I’m standing in the right place. So his eyes are on me, hours a day, and he had no idea who I was.”
The first two episodes of “The Masked Singer” Season 3 were taped back-to-back on the same day, which made for a long 14-hour span, Carey said. “And I had to go into the Grove shopping center and park in the parking lot and change into the hoodie and the mask, and get in the back of the car while they drove around the block back into CBS. And so I was there for 14 hours and each song is only a minute and a half long. It was this incredibly long interviews, pictures, all this stuff, and then oh, by the way, go do your song. That part was like a fever dream.”
Carey said he hasn’t even had a chance to discuss the show with his “Whose Line Is It Anyway” pal Wayne Brady (who also hosts another CBS game show, “Let’s Make a Deal”), even though Brady won “The Masked Singer” last season.
“You sign this inch-thick NDA,” he said. “I didn’t tell best friends. I had people over watching the Super Bowl that day who wanted to watch ‘The Masked Singer’ and I had to get them to change the channel after the White Tiger got done. I was like, ‘can we watch something else? This show sucks!'”
The one person who figured out the Llama’s identity was Carey’s son: “After the show aired, he watched it on Monday and he sent me a text, ‘What’s up, Llama?’ I had to do a friendly denial.”
The show’s panelists didn’t come close to guessing Carey. Nicole Scherzinger guessed Woody Harrelson, while Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg thought it was Kelsey Grammer. Robin Thicke picked Adam Carolla, while Ken Jeong guessed Joel McHale. Guest panelist Jason Biggs thought it was Johnny Knoxville.
“I didn’t think there was any way anyone would guess it was me,” Carey said. “And I was really genuinely laughing under the mask. Even the serious guesses, I was like, ‘you guys are so far off.'” Carey noted that he even knows McCarthy Wahlberg, who once guested on “The Drew Carey Show.”
In the season premiere, which aired after the Super Bowl, Carey-as-Llama performed Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” which the comedian said is his go-to karaoke song.
As for choosing the Llama costume, “I saw it and said, ‘holy cow, that’s me!’ That costuming is so good, that was easy. It weighed nothing and it was kind of fun moving around, and it was not cumbersome at all. The mask fit very well, they really do a great job with the fittings. And the mouth is right next to the screen, and I can see out of it, and all I had to do is put the mic up toward the screen, and I was all set to go.”
Opening the show, host Nick Cannon acknowledged its major Super Bowl boost on Sunday: “There are more eyes on us than ever. It was water cooler talk at its finest, with the biggest reveal in ‘Masked Singer’ history.”
As for the remaining Group A contestants, here’s how White Tiger, Turtle, Miss Monster, and Kangaroo performed on night two:
Song: “Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry
Voice-over: “I’m happy that people loved my first performance. Even without knowing who I was. It felt so good. And now I can just focus on being an artist. People say, ‘Miss Monster, you can’t do it all.’ But why not try? You’ve got to stand up for yourself in this dance. Tonight, I want you to see that I’m like Mr. Monster. Capable of anything and full of love.”
Voted Most Likely To Do at the Masked Academy: “I was most likely to be in the presence of royalty.”
Panel guesses: Mary Wilson, Priscilla Presley, Celine Dion
Song: “Good Vibrations,” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Voice-over: “I had no idea how much work would go into taking a stage like this. I’m putting in the time to hone this new craft. To put the math in mask. But my motto is work hard, play harder. I’m no stranger to celebrating. I love a good block party. And this may sound kind of crazy, but dancing heals my body after taking a beating. So I’m ready to cut a rug on that stage tonight, and cut it up.”
Voted Most Likely at the Masked Academy: “I was voted most likely to go to the mat for a friend, and I did, literally.”
Panel guesses: Hulk Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, Charles Haley
Song: “You Know I’m No Good,” by Amy Winehouse
Voice-over: “Keep it 100, recently it seems like I’ve been watching my life from the sidelines. And to be honest, it’s scary putting myself in the spotlight again. Sometimes it seems like everyone is against me. But I know I just need to have courage and get back in the game. I’m already feeling more confident and I’m determined to make the most of this fresh start. You may underestimate me, but that’s OK. I’m owning this underdog story and I’m not pulling any punches. Plus, I’ve got to be a role model for my little ‘roo. This is my time to fight back, there’s no way I’m going home now.”
Voted Most Likely at the Masked Academy: “I was voted most like to appear on a list with Seal and Mike Tyson. And I might have been.”
Panel guesses: Candace Parker, Tatiana Ali, Gabrielle Union
Song: “Say You Won’t Let Go,” by James Arthur
Voice-over: “Being here feels like such an opportunity to break out of my shell. People have always expected me to act a certain way. That really tests me. Well, I want to rebel from all of that. You can punish me all you like for being myself. But if I want to sing a love song, I’m going to sing a love song.”
Voted Most Likely at the Masked Academy: “I was voted most likely to hunt for booty, and I have, often.”
Panel guesses: A.J. McLean, Billie Joe Armstrong, Darius Rucker, Zac Efron