‘The Masked Dancer’s Hammerhead on How New Jersey Inspired His Character
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Episode 5 of The Masked Dancer, “Super Six.”]
The party ends for another contestant in January 27’s “Super Six” hour of The Masked Dancer.
While Tulip, Cotton Candy, Exotic Bird, Sloth, and Zebra advance to the Final Five, we say goodbye to Hammerhead. When it’s time for the unmasking, it turns out the panelists (Paula Abdul, Ken Jeong, Ashley Tisdale, Brian Austin Green, and guest Whitney Cummings) are on the right track guessing someone from Jersey Shore: it’s Vinny Guadagnino.
“It was one of the most fun experiences of my life,” he tells TV Insider.
How did you doing The Masked Dancer come about? Did Fox come calling?
Vinny Guadagnino: My publicist had the idea, and eventually they started talking about it. They gauged my interest, and I said, “Of course.” I was a little familiar with the show because of The Masked Singer. I’m not a professional dancer, but I’m always up for a challenge and something fun and different and to keep proving myself out there in the world. Then they presented me with the Hammerhead costume, and I said, “I love it.”
Hammerhead did make sense, too, given Jersey Shore Shark Attack.
Yeah, just Jersey Shore in general and the whole shark aspect. He has muscles and chains. I guess I can act like a hammerhead sometimes, too. It was perfect.
The cape in the Super Six episode is pretty cool.
It was a little bit of a challenge. I’ve never learned real choreography before. I never danced these ballroom dances before. I tried my best. It was such a good time.
What was the process of coming up with the dances? Was there any collaboration?
They would make the foundation of the dance, then there would be little moments in between where I do the worm or a certain breakdance move, and I’d say, “I would like to do this here.” [But] there was no [real] collaboration, and I’m glad. I was just thrown into their hands and surrendered to it, because I didn’t want to have any creative input for what this was. This is not my wheelhouse at all.
The panelists did get to Jersey Shore, but only Paula said your name at one point. Did you expect them to figure it out?
I did, but I have really bad imposter syndrome, where I don’t think anyone knows who I am. A lot of the clues were leading up to Jersey Shore type of people, but I like being the low-key, quiet guy that people sleep on and might not expect because it makes the reveal even bigger. There were some pretty complicated moves. It’s very hard dancing in that costume. When I took off the mask, I just wanted to shock people.
Were you surprised they were leaning towards Pauley D and Mike?
I wasn’t. Honestly, that’s what the Hammerhead character was. I love that character because I am not a big, muscle-bound, jewelry-wearing guy, but I grew up with those people—Mike and Pauley and Ronnie—so I knew exactly how to act like one of them without actually being one of them.
Have you heard from any Jersey Shore pals guessing it was you?
As the weeks have gone on and they started to float those names around, Mike The Situation would hit us up in our group chat and be like, “What’s going on here? Why do these people keep saying this is me?” I would just keep my mouth shut.
What are you going to take away from the overall experience of The Masked Dancer? Are you going to do more dancing now?
I fell in love with learning how to dance. I hope there’s another show that comes up where I can do the same thing. It was a great experience. It’s what I love to do. In my career, I do a bunch of weird things. I host Chippendales and I might include some more dancing into that show now. I want to just keep getting out there, hitting the stage, and entertaining people.
The Masked Dancer, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox