‘The Masked Singer’s Pepper on Changing Up Her Accent to Fool Everyone
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Masked Singer Season 6, Episode 9 “Group A Semi-Final.”]
The future is written for the Pepper on The Masked Singer, and unfortunately, it doesn’t include another week on the stage.
The Group A semi-finals of this season of the Fox hit saw the Bull, Pepper, Jester, and Skunk perform in hopes of moving on, but only two did: Bull and Skunk. Under the Jester mask was singer-songwriter John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, while singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield was Pepper!
Bedingfield tells TV Insider about her Masked experience.
What made you say yes to doing The Masked Singer?
Natasha Bedingfield: It just sounded like something really fun to do that I have never done before and challenging because I move around a lot on stage. And to put on a mask and put on a whole outfit, it’s kind of intriguing, isn’t it? To see if it’s just the voice alone, what that would be like.
And talk about that Pepper costume, because you said it brings out another side of yourself in one of the clues packages.
I worked with the costume designers, and as soon as I found out that we were going to do a Pepper, I just was like, “OK, this is great. I get to be fiery.” And I really just went in to my character and I worked with the producers to give myself a different accent because I thought if I’m English, people might know. So I worked on a slightly ambiguous foreign American accent. [Laughs] I thought that might give me a little more leeway to keep people guessing. And my outfit was pretty good because the shape was quite good for singing. Because you can really have your mouth quite close to the microphone. But it was really hard to move because that head is kind of a little hard to balance, the very tall head of the Pepper.
You had mentioned the hardest thing you experienced was watching the one you love and care for most facing the unthinkable.
That was my son. When he was two years old, he had brain surgery. He had an abscess but there was an amazing treatment for it. And he’s 100 percent completely better and 100 percent healed with no brain damage or anything. So it was horrible. It was five weeks in hospital, but truly, when someone nearly dies and then they live, everything gets better from that point.
Oh, I’m so happy to hear that. So what went into singing “Sign of the Times” for this last performance?
I was thinking about the environment. I was just thinking about how we all need to wake up and actually look after our planet and look after each other, and the times that we’ve been through, look after our world, but also look after our own emotional health of all of our friends and things like that.
You definitely fooled Ken [Jeong], who was so certain he knew who you were [Sara Bareilles] that he not only used the Take It Off buzzer, he also ran onto the stage to try to force you to unmask.
He was very determined to uncover me. I was trying to hide behind Nick Cannon, and I felt like I was in a movie right there and then, all the fun movies that Ken’s in. Maybe we’ll have a Pepper in the next Hangover. … I didn’t think he knew who I was.
And then looking at the other panelists guesses, Nicole [Scherzinger] did guess you and had you as her first impression guess.
I feel like Nicole knew, and even when she looked at me, I could feel like she was kinda seeing through my outfit. Yeah, I didn’t fool her at all. I was surprised that Robin Thicke didn’t guess me because I’ve worked with him before. I’ve been in the studio with him years ago.
I would say Nicole is one of the greatest artists of our time with the most incredible voice. And so to have the compliment that she said about me truly just touched me in such a deep way. I loved the love from the panelists. It was really nice.
Are there any other songs that you wanted to perform if you’d continued on?
I’m so sad that I didn’t get to sing the next song. I had such a great song next. We would go through song choices and when we came up with this song, I was jumping around. It was going to be a really good song that the people missed out on. I’m not going to say [which one].
What are you going to take away from your entire experience on The Masked Singer?
I get quite claustrophobic, so doing The Masked Singer was actually quite a challenge to myself. When I’m on the airplane, I always sit in the aisle. I don’t like to be confined. So for me it was a personal challenge and I did it. I have to say one thing is it felt incredible when I took the mask off, and then I sang and it was like, oh, there I am.
The Masked Singer, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox