The Prince nabbed third place during The Masked Singer’s epic season 7 finale. The fan-favorite performer was revealed as Call Me Kat star and American Horror Story alum Cheyenne Jackson. Teyana Taylor, a.k.a. Firefly, ended up as the season 7 champion.
Cheyenne’s royal frog was one of the most memorable masked singers of the season. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Cheyenne about how he physically trained to perform as the Prince, “Nancy-Drewing” to try and figure out the identities of the other masked singers, and more. Read our Q&A below:
You are so busy. Why was The Masked Singer something that you wanted to do?
Cheyenne Jackson: You know what? It wasn’t. It wasn’t something I ever even thought of before. I saw this crazy show once or twice. I’ve had friends that have done it, but it was not something I was like “oh, I want to do that” until they came to me. And then I was thinking this is an opportunity. First of all, nobody really knows me as a singer, even though that’s how I began my career. It’s on the same network as my sitcom. I think I can make this work, and I think this is just crazy enough and just scary enough that that would be the thing that pushed me over the edge. So I wanted to just kind of go on this crazy adventure in a mask and see what would happen.
How did you feel stepping into the Prince costume for the first time knowing that you had to also perform in it?
Cheyenne Jackson: There are two things going on there. First, I had ideas about what I thought I wanted to do, and then when we got to the Zoom meeting with all the creatives they said, “Before you tell us what your ideas are, we have an idea.” They had already crafted this character, and they pitched it to me and kind of turned it around dramatically and showed me who it was. And I was like, “Oh man. That beat everything I was trying to do. I never thought of something like that, but that’s outrageous. Of course.” And then you go to the costume room, and you see how massive it is and how detailed and how tight and the headpiece and you think, “I have to sing in this.” They also handed me gloves and feet, and the gloves only had 3 fingers. I ripped off my toes 5 times just from walking in them. It was like walking in slippers. Wrapping my brain around the fact that I was going to have to do everything with the songs that I chose was definitely a mind-eff. But I think my Broadway background kicked in, my competitive nature, and I’m like, okay, let’s figure it out. Let’s make it work. It was fabulous. I love the drama of it all.
You really moved around and danced while performing as the Prince. Did you do any physical preparation for the show?
Cheyenne Jackson: I did do physical preparation. I had heard from a couple of people that have done this show that it is way more difficult than you even imagine. It’s way more physically taxing to sing and move around than you can imagine, so I wanted to be as agile and ready as I could feel. First of all, I was thinking when I was approached about it, is it really live? Are people actually singing live versus a taped thing? It’s live. It’s very live. When it airs, you can hear everybody gasping for breath and notes that aren’t perfect. That’s what I love about it. How I prepared was I bought a really heavy motorcycle helmet, and I put my treadmill in my garage on a 15 [mph] and just started walking and singing with my helmet on to strengthen the muscles in my neck and just tried to get my stamina up. When you’re in a mask, and a lot of these costumes are so big, you can’t move around. You can’t really connect or project or show much personality, so I thought, I’m going to try to move and be as agile as I can while also trying to connect with the lyrics. I was so sweaty and hot in there sometimes I wish I’d something where I just sat on a lily pad, but I’m happy I went for it.
All of your performances were great. Is there one that stands out to you as your favorite?
Cheyenne Jackson: Probably my first one. We kept switching the order back and forth because there’s just a lot of moving pieces with so many contestants and so many songs. “La Copa de la Vida” I knew that I wanted to sing that and pitched it to the team, and they loved the idea because it’s so high energy and it’s half in Spanish. I’m also friends with Ricky Martin in real life. I told him I was doing this, and he was like, “Oh my gosh, my friend, that is going to be so amazing.” I think that’s probably the one that I had the most fun doing because it was my first time out and it’s so high energy. I had to walk in those frog feet on that table with food and 20 dancers and not fall to my death and sing Spanish. I just wanted to get through it.
Nicole Scherzinger did guess you. What was your reaction when you heard your name come out of her mouth?
Cheyenne Jackson: I wondered if people were going to guess me because I’m not known as a singer. But then Nicole started honing in a couple of weeks prior and was guessing friends of mine. I’m inside the frog’s head laughing because they were literally getting all of my real-life friends like Matt Bomer, Ben Platt, and Andrew Rannells. I was happy that I got guessed. I just didn’t want to get guessed too soon because then the element of surprise is gone. The judges take it very seriously, which I love. They really go over each little clue.
It came down to you, Firefly, and Ringmaster. Did you have any inclination as to who they were?
Cheyenne Jackson: No, and that’s the thing. I have a very good musical ear. I was just Nancy Drew-ing backstage trying to hear anybody warming up. There was one time I heard En Vogue through the walls. I just heard a couple of things, but it crossed my mind that it was them. But we were never by each other or near each other, and I didn’t get to hear anybody. No one told me crap, and I was trying to find out because it was just killing me. I think that’s the magic of the show. There’s no such thing as secrets anymore. Everything gets spoiled. People posts things. I was on American Horror Story for 4 years and people would constantly come to set, work for a day like the background artists, and then take a picture and spoil the season. It’s such a bummer. What I love about the show is that it’s actually a surprise. We do not know who the other people are. That’s kind of a rarity. I think that’s kind of the magic of it.