‘The Masked Singer’: Anteater Reveals Part of Competition He ‘Faked’ His Way Through

Anteater in 'The Masked Singer'
Spoiler Alert
Michael Becker / FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Masked Singer Season 10 “Soundtrack to My Life.”]

There may have been a hidden clue in Anteater’s costume as to his identity, but that didn’t help anyone on the panel on The Masked Singer.

As the Fox competition reached the Group C finals in Season 10, the remaining contestants performed songs representing. key moments in their life. For Anteater, who was eliminated and revealed to be musician John Oates (half of Hall & Oates), that was Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B Goode.”

Below, Oates shares what led to him saying yes to the show, discusses those panelists’ guesses, and more.

What made you say yes to doing The Masked Singer? Did you have any hesitations?

John Oates: It’s funny, A few years ago, I did a guest spot on The Goldbergs and Hayley Orrentia‘s a really good singer, and out of the blue, she called me up and asked me if I would be a clue on The Masked Singer. And I actually didn’t know much about The Masked Singer at the time, so I started watching the show and I thought, oh, this is crazy. And so I did. I was one of her clues, and I just thought it was really cool. And then I didn’t think about it. And then when I was asked to do it, I thought “hmm,” and it was a good time for me because I wasn’t really touring in the middle of the summer, and I thought, well, I have some time.

And I realized how big the show is and what kind of reach it has with the public. I’ve been doing a lot of more philanthropy and charity work with Feeding America and Movember and the men’s health movement, and now with Teen Cancer America. I thought, well, if I do this show, a lot of people are going to see me, and I can maybe spread the word and that kind of brings more attention to the things that I’m doing.

The other thing was I thought it was going to be very interesting to see what happens if I could sing without anyone having any preconceived notion about my connection to any of the big Hall & Oates hits. I wanted to see what the reaction was going to be.

Was there anything that appealed to you about being the Anteater?

No, not really. [Laughs] They kind of threw it at me. I’ll be 100 percent honest, I didn’t like the idea at first. I thought, that’s weird, just being Anteater. But then I realized what they were doing, and it was like Anteater, “Maneater.” They were trying to make some sort of subtle connection that maybe was kind of a clue without being a clue. That’s kind of what I took from it.

Anteater — 'The Masked Singer'

Michael Becker / FOX

But hey, no one picked up on it from the panel.

No, I know. I was actually surprised. I figured they would. And when I saw some of the clues, I thought it’s pretty clear. But you never know.

You stumped everyone. Talk about listening to the panelists’ guesses.

The other thing that I thought was great, too, was I liked the people they were guessing. [Laughs] I was very flattered that they were guessing John Mellencamp and I mean, Willie Nelson was a little in left field. I didn’t see that one coming, but it was funny and I thought it was really cool.

Did you come into this expecting anyone from the panel to figure you out?

I wasn’t really sure. No, to be honest with you, I didn’t. That was the thing that I was most curious about, to see what they would say. I remember Nicole [Scherzinger] seemed to really like my voice. She kept saying, “Oh, I love you.” I remember she said, “You sound like home.” I don’t know exactly what that means, but I thought it was nice.

What went into your song choices?

I really love “Walking in Memphis,” and I really was glad I could kick off the show with that song. I had a feel for it. I worked on it at home, and I kind of came up with my own version of it. Then when I got to the show and began to work with the folks at the show, I realized how good the vocal coaches were and the band leader, and they really are top-notch. I basically played them a demo that I made at home, and I said, “Here is what I want to do.” And they notched it up, and so it was a lot of fun to sing. The other songs were more assigned to me, to be honest with you, because I think the second episode was boy-band, and they just said, you gotta sing a boyband song. I said, “Really? I’ve never sung a boy-band song in my life, but okay, why not? I used to be a boy. I was in a band. So I guess that works.”

And then I did “Johnny B Goode,” Chuck Berry. I’m a huge old rock and roll fan. I was playing guitar as a kid, and I used to play Chuck Berry’s songs. So that was cool to be able to do that one, a song I’d literally sung since I’d been a little kid.

And you fought your way to stay in the competition — you did a couple of those smackdowns.

Yeah, they were trying to get rid of me. I had to fight my way through. It was weird. The first time, I didn’t even actually understand what was happening. People don’t realize how strange it is to be in one of these costumes because they’re really heavy and they’re really hot, and you’ve got all those TV lights and you’re trying to do choreography. And well, of course, with me, with the Anteater, all I could do is wave my arms up and down, and it was very strange. So having done a song and done the choreography and then having to go to the smackdown, I had to go back out and do it again. And then that song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” I think it was, the Justin Timberlake song, I didn’t even know it. I just kind of faked my way through it. So it was just weird.

What are you going to take away from the entire experience?

[Laughs] Be careful what you wish for. No, I’m just kidding. No, it was great. You know what I was really impressed with? I kind of pride myself in being a professional. And what I was really blown away by was how together the production was and everybody backstage, all the people I dealt with, everyone from the drivers to the choreography to the vocal coaches to the production people to the costume people was super pro. And I thought that was great because there was no wasted time, there were no hiccups. Everything worked really well. But look, the show’s been on for 10 seasons, so I guess they have their act together.

What surprised you the most about The Masked Singer?

How hard it was to sing in that costume and how hard it was to see. The weird thing was I couldn’t see out of the costume at all. I literally couldn’t see. A couple of the men in black, they lead you on stage. So now you’re on stage and there are flashing lights, there’s people screaming, and the music is in your ears and you’re in this costume. And then I had some choreography — believe me, it was pretty basic — but I literally couldn’t see where I was going. And the stage is a huge round stage, so basically what I had to do was count my steps. For example, if I’m starting in the middle of the stage and they wanted me to go to the right, I’d have to count my steps — okay, eight steps to the right — and then stop, and then turn around and go eight steps to the left and stop, and then turn around 180 degrees. And so I had to do that while I was singing, and literally, I couldn’t see. So I just said, “Okay, well, I’m going to give it a shot.” And I would just walk and I’d take my steps and hope I didn’t fall off the end of the stage. It was weird. It wasn’t exactly easy, to be honest with you.

The Masked Singer, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox