‘The Masked Singer’: Hydra Reveals ‘They Had to Destroy the Costume’ During the Unmasking
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Masked Singer Season 7, Episode 5 “Masking for a Duel — Round 2.”]
Just how many people were in the Hydra costume on The Masked Singer? That was in question, with the three heads fooling the panelists.
But in the latest episode, that was answered, as Hydra was eliminated, following a duel with Armadillo (who continued on with Ringmaster and Miss Teddy). That led to Hydra’s unmasking, and in the costume was none other than magicians Penn and Teller. And yes, Teller, who usually does not speak on stage, did sing!
Penn Jillette opens up about being Hydra on the Fox hit.
You fooled the panelists. They didn’t know how many people were in there.
Penn Jillette: That was something we really wanted to do. We’re known a little bit as a duo. If you look up duo on the internet, we pop up first, and we knew if we were two people, we wouldn’t fool anybody for very long. And we also knew that we couldn’t squeeze into a costume for one person. So three seemed like a really good idea and the costume designers were brilliant and did a beautiful, beautiful job. And we thought being Hydra, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of hell, fit our personality very nicely.
Speaking of that costume, taking the heads off at the end, it seemed like a whole process for the unmasking.
You didn’t see the stuff that was cut out. It wasn’t a difficult one-minute unmasking. It was about a 20-minute unmasking. They had to destroy the costume to get us out, so it was much more tricky than that and very uncomfortable to come out of, but remember Teller and I have been doing magic together for coming on a combined century, and so we’ve been in many, many, many tiny, uncomfortable, miserable, little compartments hiding [for] magic tricks. So if you were going to put anybody in that situation, we were the ones to choose.
But you weren’t singing in that situation before.
[Laughs] No, we weren’t.
Talk about getting the call to do The Masked Singer. What made you say yes?
We are the longest-running headliners in Las Vegas history and we put a quarter of a million people into our show at the Penn & Teller theater every year, and that means we say yes to everything. But that being said, we don’t say yes to everything happily. We say yes to most things begrudgingly, and The Masked Singer was just so joyful. It’s one of the few shows on TV that doesn’t have anything negative about it. It’s just sweet and kind, and like so many other shows that have judges, it doesn’t have a bunch of f**king assholes saying s**t they have no right to say. It’s people celebrating with sweetness and kindness. And so for me, that’s everything. I just loved it.
And you both sang. Was there ever a question of whether Teller would?
No, there was no question at all because my voice is more recognizable. I did years of work in the carnival, I’m carny trash. So my voice sounds like this, no matter what. I never sound better than this. And Teller, who has not been heard, was able to do the other two voices. So Teller was the real star of this. Teller really was really fabulous. No one’s more impressed with Teller than I am, and he was even more impressive than usual.
What went into your song choices?
I did the song choices, and I didn’t want to — many of the contestants pick songs from their youth or they pick contemporary songs and I wanted to try to pick out of a pocket that would put it in a place that was really hard to guess our ages and I picked wonderful songs. “Soul Sister” is a great pop song and “Sharp Dressed Man,” written by my buddy Billy Gibbons is just a great, great blues tune. And I’m only sad that we didn’t get to do our third song, which was by our friend, Boy [George]. We were going to do “Karma Chameleon.”
Did you have any other songs in mind besides that if you continued on?
I think “Karma Chameleon” was about all we had prepared. I think we might have had a Blondie song, but I’m not sure.
Usually people are trying to fool you, but this time you were trying to fool everyone and you almost succeeded. You succeeded with the regular panelists, but then Nicole Byer did figure it out.
Yeah, I don’t know where she got that. It was pretty good. We thought we’d be busted right away, so we did better than we expected. We were very happy with that one.
Did you come into this thinking anyone specific on the panel would guess correctly?
I knew a little bit about Ken [Jeong]. I knew that Ken liked us and Ken was the one I was worried about.
You mentioned him, then he got on the Martin Short train of thought.
Yeah. that’s good. If you’re going to be mistaken for someone, Martin Short and Steve Martin, two of the most talented people of our lifetime and friends of ours. I was very flattered being mistaken for them.
What are you going to take away from the entire experience?
There’s some hope for our culture. It has a lot of kindness left.
The Masked Singer, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox