‘The Masked Singer’s Seahorse on Showing Her ‘Sassy Side’ & Getting a Confidence Boost

The Masked Singer Season 4 Semifinals Seahorse
Spoiler Alert
Michael Becker/FOX

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 10 of The Masked Singer, “The Semi Finals — The Super Six.”]

The Masked Singer cut the competition in half in the Season 4 semifinals, with three of the Super Six — one from each group — eliminated in a series of battles.

Seahorse faced off against Crocodile and lost and was unmasked as singer-songwriter Tori Kelly. In the end, panelists Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger correctly guessed her.

“We’ve met in the past. They finally were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of you,’ which was cool for me because I felt like during the whole show, I was able to fool people a little bit and use some of my impressions I do and have fun with it and do styles of songs I don’t normally do,” Kelly tells TV Insider. “So for them to finally guess me at the end was pretty fun. It was just very surreal the whole time.”

Here, Kelly takes us inside her Masked experience.

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How did you doing this season come about?

Tori Kelly: I had been asked to do it earlier and at first, I was like, I don’t know about this show. It seems kind of crazy. There’s nerves that came in because it’s just a crazy show, a crazy concept, and then the more I thought about it, I was like, you know what? This sounds really fun. I’m just going to do it and get over myself and this could be really fun. I’d seen the show before and it did look really fun. I thought maybe this is a cool opportunity to be someone else, show an alter ego of mine and just have fun with it, so that’s what I did.

You have experience with some aspects of the competition, while others were obviously quite new. What was the most challenging part and did it change as you stepped on stage each time?

The most challenging part was honestly just getting used to singing in the costume. I actually got lucky with my costume. I feel like I was able to move really well but the actual mask on the top was pretty top-heavy, pretty tall and big, so moving my head around was sometimes challenging and especially when I’m kind of used to moving my body a certain way when I’m on stage — and making sure I don’t fall or anything and making sure I could see well. But they did such a great job on the costume. I fell in love with mine. It was so beautiful. Every time I put it on, it was so sparkly, and I got right into character.

Seahorse The Masked Singer Season 4 Semifinals Nick Cannon

(Michael Becker/FOX)

Speaking of the costume, why the Seahorse? What appealed to you? Was it something about the design?

They presented a few different ideas, and everyone was really leaning towards the Seahorse just because of the detail and I believe it was the first time they were using airbrush detailing, too, on the mask. I saw the sketch, and I was like, OK, this seems like it’ll be cool. I wasn’t for sure yet, but then when I got to actually see the costume in person, I was like, oh my gosh, this is so gorgeous. It definitely came to life when I actually saw it in person versus the sketch of it. And then of course once I put it on, I just became the Seahorse. It was like a light switch came on.

What’d you think of listening to the panelists? It seemed at times they were getting on the right track…

Yeah, honestly, all the guesses, I was really flattered. [With the mask], you don’t have to worry about your facial expressions, so I was up there giggling and just really flattered about a lot of the guesses they were saying, just some incredible singers they were naming. It was fun to be up there and just be laughing underneath the mask.

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What went into your song choices? What was your approach and did it change at all as the competition went on?

My song choices were really based on just wanting to show people a different side of me. I feel like I’m kind of known for this girl with her guitar who sings. So once I took that away, I was like, what if I show more of a sassy side? What if I do songs like the Rihanna song? And I wanted to show different colors of who I am, even when it comes to doing choreography and really working a stage. I think the main thing I wanted to prove to people and also prove to myself mainly was that I could be an entertainer and a performer and not just known as a singer and so that was really fun for me, just to go out there and be super extra as the Seahorse and give it my all every time.

Did you have any songs in mind for the finale if you’d continued on or were there any songs that you scrapped that you’d had in mind to sing earlier on?

I was going to do more like a rocker moment. I remember playing with the idea of doing a Paramore song or a Heart song, something more in that style, but ended up not having time to do it. The other songs just kind of came together a little sooner. That was a layer that I was like, I could show people this side of me, too, but maybe I’ll just have to save that for another time, on another show.

What are you going to take away from the overall experience of being on The Masked Singer?

I’m sure people say this actually a lot who have done the show — it’s this really unique experience where I think you find this confidence. Walking away, I just felt so much more confident as a performer and as an entertainer and I felt like I could do choreography, I could be a little more extra sometimes, because I feel like I can be shy sometimes and I can kind of hide behind my guitar sometimes, too. So going out there and being anonymous for a little bit and just every single performance, giving it my all and really branching out of my comfort zone, I definitely am going to take elements of that with me when I do my own shows and am on different stages. I think the Seahorse is going to be with me the whole time.

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