SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 5 season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” which aired March 10 on Fox.
It’s not easy being seen: Kermit the Frog was the first celebrity to be unmasked on Season 5 of “The Masked Season,” as the hit Fox series returned on Wednesday night.
You read that right. “The Masked Singer” producers had been hyping this season as a “game changer,” and kicking things off with a Muppet definitely lives up to that.
Kermit wore the Snail costume, and sang “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” by Hall and Oates. The Muppet wasn’t available for interviews, but he did email Variety about his motivations for signing on to the show: “After years of being your average everyday talking frog, I thought it would be fun to be someone else,” he said. “The chance to become a snail—with my own built-in mobile home—was too good to pass up… I didn’t last on the show very long. But I loved every minute of it.”
Robin Thicke thought it was Seth MacFarlane, Ken Jeong named Jay Leno, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg guessed Ted Cruz and Nicole Scherzinger thought it was Billy Crystal.
It’s too bad McCarthy Wahlberg didn’t go with her gut, as she even make a joke after the Snail’s performance that “he’s pushing out Kermit the Frog sound.”
Of course, in reality, Kermit has been voiced by Matt Vogel full time since 2017, which means it was likely him controlling and voicing Kermit in the Snail.
“We decided to structure the costume around a mobile cart device that was battery-operated and controlled by the celebrity hidden within,” said executive producer Craig Plestis. “Our biggest fear given the limited visibility was that our celebrity would drive off the stage, but luckily that didn’t happen.”
The idea for the Snail came out of a desire by the producers to come up with a costume that “was a complete surprise,” Plestis said. “In other words, you could not tell from the costume if the celebrity was male or female, tall or short, large or small, whatever. So we gave that idea to our Emmy award-winning costume designer, Marina Toybina, and she ran with it.”
Kermit was ready to sing “I’m a Believer” for his second number if he had returned. Here was the voiceover for Kermit’s clue package, and now that you know who it is — it does make sense: “Hiya folks! You know, I’ve acted, directed, produced, recorded albums, even graced the Oscars stage. I’m rubbed elbows with everyone from Robert DeNiro and Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama. And well, you might say I’m best known for appreciating the talent of those around me. Here, I want to show those harsh critics who’ve followed me throughout my career that I can shine on my own. And now I can’t wait to get out there and snail it, get it?”
“The Masked Singer” enters Season 5 with 16 contestants, and a guest host: Niecy Nash, filling in for regular host Nick Cannon. As first reported by Variety, Cannon was unable to return for the first several episodes of this season due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. (Cannon was still heard at the start of the show as a voiceover announcer, however.)