Guadagnino was revealed to be the person under the Hammerhead shark costume on Wednesday’s edition of the hit series. He was unmasked after dancing to Santa Esmeralda’s version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
“I’m not a singer or a dancer, but this is probably a little bit more in my wheelhouse,” Guadagnino told Variety. “So I was like, I’m a little scared but I think I can make this work let’s try it. I didn’t really even know I was gonna make it past like week one, so I ended up falling in love with it and really getting competitive with it. It was great experience.”
Guadagnino said his dancing experience comes down to breakdancing at parties as a kid.
“So I had a little bit of that but learning choreography is a completely different sport in itself,” he said. “To jump right into that is definitely something hard to do, but it’s in my wheelhouse, I love a challenge and I love learning something and stimulating my brain to learn and like I become obsessed. I was rehearsing in my room every night like this until I got it down because I didn’t want to just half-ass it.”
Then add to it the costume, and Guadagnino had a heavy one: “I literally had like a 40-pound muscle suit on and you can’t even see out of the mask, you can’t do anything,” he said. “You lose all your senses, you can barely even breathe in it. It would be hard enough just to learn the choreography on your own.”
Guadagnino said he was presented with the Hammerhead costume, and immediately thought it was appropriate. “Obviously being part of ‘Jersey Shore,’ I’m around those like big muscle bound guys like some of my cast members. But I’m not that guy, I’m more of like the low key skinny guy so I’m close enough to that character without actually being the character.”
Among the panelists, Ken Jeong and Brian Austin Green came close, but with the wrong “Jersey Shore” castmates. Jeong thought it was Pauly D, while Green guessed Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. Paula Abdul thought it was David Dobrik and Ashley Tisdale thought it was Kevin Hart. Guest panelist Whitney Cummings joined Jeong in picking Pauly D. New clues on the episode included New Jersey and suntan lotion.
“I was pretty flattered when I heard names like Zac Efron. Eminem, Joe Rogan,” Guadagnino said of previous guesses. “I’m like all right like these are pretty cool guys. So I was happy about it. I think Paula guessed me once, but I’m glad that no one really guessed it, I’d rather it be a big reveal.”
As for what’s next, Guadagnino said he hoped that “people just see this and see that I can do different things, I’m more than a reality star, always up for a challenge and entertaining people. I hope to continue to be part of maybe this show, somehow in the future or other shows like it. I love to entertain and I just want to keep doing this.”
Guadagnino had previously danced to “Everybody,” by Backstreet Boys, and “Blinding Lights,” by The Weeknd. The panelists’ previous guesses included Carrot Top, Joe Jonas, Zac Efron, Ryan Seacrest, Joe Rogan and Guadagnino’s “Jersey Shore” co-star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.
“The Masked Dancer” includes the feature “Word Up,” in which each contestant says a one-word clue to their identity. Guadagnino’s first “Word Up” was “Dramatic” and second “Word Up” was “Heartbreaker.”
This season’s costumes include Zebra, Tulip, Sloth, Exotic Bird, Cotton Candy, Cricket, Disco Ball, Moth, Ice Cube and Hammerhead. Previously unmasked were Brian McKnight as the Cricket, Elizabeth Smart as the Moth, Bill Nye the Science Guy as the Ice Cube, and Ice-T as the Disco Ball.
The show touts a cast of 10 celebrities that have “amassed more than 38 million albums sold worldwide, 20 Emmy Award wins, 20 Grammy Award nominations, 10 World Dancing titles, five New York Times Best-Selling Author titles, four Olympic gold medals and three Broadway show appearances.”
Here were the other contestants and their performances on episode five, “Super Six”:
Dance: “Great Balls of Fire,” by Jerry Lee Lewis
Bonus clue: Five gold balloons
Panel guesses: Tara Lipinski, Gabby Butler, Simone Biles, Kristi Yamaguchi
Voice-over: “I’m no stranger to competition, but this has been different. After my fall, I didn’t know if I could continue dancing. Some haters said in the past that I can’t dance. I’m about to do a crazy fun swing performance that will change their minds.”
Previous dances: “Glitter in the Air,” by Pink; “Sour Candy,” by Lady Gaga feat. Blackpink
Previous Word Ups: “Primetime”; “Team Player”
Previous panel guesses: Jenna Dewan, Pink, Julianne Hough, Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi.
Dance: “Rush,” by Lewis Capaldi feat. Jessie Reyez
Bonus clue: Rose tattoo
Panel guesses: Kat Von D, Dita Von Teese, Ashley Graham, Kate Upton
Voice-over: “When this competition started, I was super stressed. I’ve been made fun of before for my dancing. But when the music began, all I felt was the rythym. Life has really changed since I became a mama bird. But being under the mask has helped me rediscover my sultry side.”
Previous dances: “Con Calma,” by Daddy Yankee and Katy Perry feat. Snow; “Latch,” by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith
Previous Word Ups: “Scored”; “Number One”
Previous panel guesses: Hope Solo, Jennifer Hudson, Venus Williams, Janet Jackson, Jordyn Sparks, Kate Hudson, Megan Thee Stallion
Dance: “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” by Dean Martin
Bonus clue: Starry 18
Panel guesses: Bradley Cooper, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen
Voice-over: “I may not be new to the dance floor, but this show has made me step out of my comfort zone. It helps that no one knows who I am. But I can’t wait for my family to find out. I’m going to do a new dance style every week to get to that trophy.”
Previous dances: “What I Like About You,” by the Romantics; “Up Where We Belong,” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
Previous Word Ups: “Broadway”; “Leading man”
Previous panel guesses: Matthew Morrison, Kevin Federline, Jason Derulo, Jonathan Groff, Keegan-Michael Key, Will Ferrell
Dance: “Thank U, Next,” by Ariana Grande
Bonus clue: “2nd Annual Mother-Daughter Dance”
Panel guesses: Sarah Hyland, Simone Biles, Julianne Hough
Voice-over: “This compeititon just got real. Believe it or not, I never really enjoyed competing. But since being here, I’m starting to fall in love with performing again. I’ve done tap, I’ve done an emotional dance. But tonight, I’m going back to one of the first dances I’ve ever learned. Bring it on!”
Previous dances: “Fergalicious,” by Fergie; “Fields of Gold,” by Eva Cassidy
Previous Word Ups: “Triple”; “Princess”
Previous panel guesses: Charli D’Amelio, Ariana Grande, Heather Morris, Sarah Hyland, Hayden Panettiere, Kristen Bell, Charli D’Amelio, Simone Biles
Dance: “Mi Gente,” by J Balvin and Willy William
Bonus clue: K.O.
Panel guesses: LL Cool J, Oscar de la Hoya, Floyd Mayweather
Voice-over: “I had two left feet, even before I became the Zebra. But look where i am now, the Super Six! At first, wearing the mask freaked me out. Honestly, I’m very claustrophobic. But getting to perform again has felt like regaining a piece of my soul. I may not be the best dancer, but I love it! So I’m going to keep the fun Latin vibes going.”
Previous dances: “Magalehna,” by Sergio Mendes; “All My Life,” by K-Ci and Jojo
Previous Word Ups: “Comeback”; “Champion”
Previous panel guesses: Ricky Martin, Kevin Richardson, Pitbull, Floyd Mayweather, Mario Lopez, Tito Ortiz, Tony Robbins