“The Masked Singer” reveals the winning cow as Ne-Yo

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Season 10 finale The Masked Singer.

Holy cow: The Masked Singer The Season 10 finale brought that about.

From the opening moments when the four finalists joined together to sing “What I Like About You” by The Romantics, to the final performance of the night, Sea Queen, Gazelle, Cow and Donut gave it their all. But there can only be one winner, and Kao really took advantage of that with his performances of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” and Rihanna’s “Take a Bow.”

In the end — after Donut was revealed to be John Schneider, the Sea Queen was revealed to be Macy Gray, and Gazelle was revealed to be Janel Parrish (not Constance Wu, sorry Ken Jeong) — Kao was crowned the winner of Season 10. Two panelists, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke, correctly guessed that it was Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Ne-Yo under those pearls and apron, while Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg and Jeong got their guesses wrong about Billy Porter and Usher, respectively.

Ahead of the reveal, EW spoke with Ne-Yo about why he chose to do the UK version of the film The Masked Singer Before the American version, why he chose the female version of Cow Mask, and his top-secret upcoming projects.

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on your win The Masked Singer!

NE Yu: Thank you very much. I feel a good sense. Feels real good.

You previously competed in the UK version of the show as Badger, making it to the final but not winning. Is that why you wanted to do the US version – to experience it again?

It wasn’t about winning the UK edition. Well, first of all, I did the British version before the American version because I felt that in the American version I would get caught faster. People will recognize my voice a little faster. So I did the UK version thinking I had a better chance of winning, it turned out I didn’t win and came in second, but that was okay. That was totally fine. I had a ball with her. Same thing with this. I had too much fun. Even if I didn’t win, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I never thought one of my most fun stage performances would be with me dressed as a cow of all things. I could never have imagined it.

Cow in “The Masked Singer”.

Michael Baker/Fox

Speaking of which, I was really drawn to this female cow character. Was it just to keep the judges away?

This was done entirely in an attempt to get rid of them. I have a million voices speaking. I can change it, I can do accents, I can do different inflections and everything with my speaking voice. My singing voice is kind of what it is. There’s no way around it. So I knew that as far as speaking and so on, I might be able to fire the judges that way. But the moment I started singing, someone was going to catch me. I have personal relationships with Robin Thicke, Nicole Scherzinger, and Nick Cannon. These are the three I was really interested in scamming. I say, the moment they hear me sing, they’ll know it’s me. So when the producers came to me with the costume, they gave me the choice. they [said] We want you to be the cow, but can you be the male cow or maybe the female cow? I was like a cow all day long. Let’s go.

So we get into the costume and the costumes, it’s kind of huge costumes. She’s a female cow, so she’s curvy, curvy, has a hump and so on… I grew up in a house full of women – my mother, my sister, my grandmother, my five aunts, and me until I was 16 – so it wasn’t hard to stick to feminine mannerisms at all From the walk and the entire nine yards. This was the easy part. But again, I was trying to do everything I could to distract attention from my singing voice. Robin was actually the only judge who was consistent with his opinion, and I really think that’s Ne-Yo. Even Nick said so. He was like, “I know it’s not Ne-Yo.” He said it out of his mouth, and I said, well, I take it from there. If I’m this close to him and he doesn’t know it’s me, then I’m home free. Even after the show, he said, “Bro, you really shocked me. I didn’t really think it was you. I really didn’t know.”

That’s funny considering you’ve been messing with him on stage all season.

I was doing it on purpose. I was shocked by the fact that he had no idea. I say, I can’t believe he doesn’t recognize me. Okay, great. So I’m going to mess with him now. I kept eavesdropping on him and playing with him. I was having a lot of fun with it.

How do the UK and US versions compare? Were they different at all?

There is no big difference at all. So I had to give a lot of props and respect to the production Masked singer Because security in that place, and I’m talking about the United Kingdom and the United States, is a presidential matter. They are very adamant about no one knowing who anyone else is.

In your last evidence packet, you said you made the offer to your mother. Did you know you’ve done the show yet?

I didn’t tell anyone, but my mom and kids called it up immediately after the first screening. They would say, when did you do this? And I’m like, what are you talking about? They’re like, oh, come on. We have been listening to your voice all our lives. We know you when we hear you. I held out as long as I could messing with my daughter. It’s like, “So you’re the cow, huh?” “No, what are you talking about? I’ve never done that,” I say The Masked Singer Something before.” And she’s like, “Dad, really, cut it.” So, yeah, they caught it right away. A lot of my friends, they didn’t catch it. They were fooled, but yeah, family, immediate family, they knew right away its me.


Philip Farone/Getty

So what’s next for you?

Well, I have an international tour coming up in March of this year. We’ll start in the UK and then work our way across the world. I’m in the process of putting together a new album, literally as we speak – I’ll probably be looking for it around the time the tour starts in March. And I’m so excited to do more of what I love. Again, music is something woven into my DNA. Even if there was no money and people didn’t care to hear Ne-Yo’s songs again, I would bother everyone with them because I can’t stop it. I will not do that. Yeah man, I’m excited for the album. I’m excited about this tour, and I’ll keep doing what I love. As long as people are paying attention, even if they stop paying attention, like I just said, I will keep doing it because I love it.

I also have some big screens and some smaller things in the works. I won’t talk about that in detail now because I don’t like counting chickens before they hatch. But expect to see me on screens big and small relatively soon in some ways you’ve never seen me before, which is definitely saying something considering the fact that we’re sitting here talking about me in a women’s cow suit. Yeah man, I’m busy and I love every minute of it.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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