Image Credit: FOX
The Golden Mask trophy has found a new home. Ne-Yo was named The Masked Singer season 10 winner during the epic finale event on December 20. Ne-Yo dazzled fans week after week in the Cow costume, and now he reigns supreme as the latest champion. Hollywood Life spoke exclusively with the singer about his Masked Singer victory.
“I’ve been a fan of the show since the very beginning,” the 44-year-old said. “I gotta say I’m definitely happy with the company I keep as The Masked Singer winner. It means a lot. I slid some of the Grammys over and made room for the trophy at my mom’s house in the cabinet that she has full of all of my accomplishments. The Grammys all live there, and yet we’ve made space for it. It’s really rare to find something that three generations of your family can enjoy together. My kids, my mom, grandparents, everybody can sit down together and watch the show.”
He added, “As a songwriter, for me, there’s a bit of a thrill with the whole concept of stepping outside of myself and just being somebody else for a minute. This one million percent played into that joy and kind of revitalized some of that joy for me because I can honestly say that the music industry will feel some of that joy if you allow it, so thank you to The Masked Singer for refreshing that energy for me and reminding me why I became a songwriter in the first place.”
Ne-Yo after his ‘Masked Singer’ reveal. (FOX)
Throughout season 10, Ne-Yo was masked in the fierce Cow costume. “We went with the female cow on purpose because my voice is distinct,” he noted. “I figured as a male cow I might get caught quicker than a female cow. She was a pretty busty lady with a huge bra and all the padding and padded hips, which made it difficult to dance and move the way that I normally would. So that played in my favor because it just helped me throw them off my scent just that much more.”
Dancing while covered in a head-to-toe Cow costume was uncharted territory for the “Because of You” singer. “First and foremost, I easily lost about 20 pounds wearing the costume because it did not breathe at all,” Ne-Yo admitted. “I’m under all that padding sweating bullets. It was crazy. They were on standby with fans. Every time they cut or break, they ran out with the fans because they knew that I was under there dying.”
He continued, “And then, right where the lips of the cow head were where my eyes were. I basically couldn’t see pretty much at all. It was really, really difficult to see, which made walking up and down steps, which some of some of the performances required, that much more difficult. There were actually a few times where I stumbled. I don’t know if they edited it out.”
Cow is your new ‘Masked Singer’ champion. (FOX)
While The Masked Singer was “challenging” for sure, Ne-Yo said he had “an absolute ball with this whole experience.” He quipped, “I look great under my clothes right now.”
During the finale, Ne-Yo performed sensational renditions of “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson and “Take a Bow” by Rihanna. Looking back, Ne-Yo called every single one of his performances “a masterpiece” because of how much work on and off stage.
However, one performance stands out. His rendition of Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” on Disco Night. “It’s still one of mom’s absolute favorite songs,” Ne-Yo told Hollywood Life. “I grew up in a house with my mother, my sister, my grandmother, and 5 aunts. I can genuinely remember as a kid watching my mom and my aunt dance around the kitchen to this particular song. When the producers brought that song to me, I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s definitely do this. This one is this one. I’ve got to dedicate it to them.’” The Masked Singer will return for season 11 in spring 2024.