SPOILER ALERT: Broadway star and comedian Wayne Brady takes home the trophy.
On Wednesday evening, the winner of the second season of the singing competition show, The Masked Singer, was revealed, and the judging panel was proven wrong once again. The four judges, Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger, were convinced that the vocalist posing as a fox was, coincidentally, Jamie Foxx (though the "fox" connection may have given them a bit of a confirmation bias). The man behind the mask was actually Wayne Brady, known for his comedy career as well as his stints on Broadway. The multihyphenate star was not on the judges radar, which he was a little "butthurt" by, he admitted, despite plenty of fans online insisting that they were positive Brady was the source of the anonymous voice. However, Brady told The Hollywood Reporter how his anonymity on the show actually benefitted both himself and the previous season's winner, T-Pain, as black men.
"I don't think I'm speaking out of turn by saying that the black experience completely affects what happens in popular culture," Brady noted, naming rap music, sports, and movies as vehicles through which this often occurs. "I think when you have a show where ostensibly folks are celebrities, the color thing kind of goes out the window and the playing field becomes a little more equal versus when it's just people." He elaborated further on how the voting element of a show like The Masked Singer, in which both the judging panel and viewers vote to keep certain contestants on the show each week, is affected—or rather, less affected than other singing competition shows like American Idol—by racial bias. "People tend to vote for or gravitate toward the things that they are exposed to and that are of their tribe. So on a show like this I think you're working twofold: You're working with the celebrity thing, so it's all bets going based on what the voices sound like in America—R&B and hip-hop and things that are cool. And you can't see the face, so your bias limiter is thrown out the window to a degree." Brady feels that all talent-evaluating shows "should adopt this practice" of initial anonymity, at least at the beginning of the audition process, like on The Voice. "That's why I really do like The Voice because it does give people a shot based on just who they are," he shared. "It's based on what's the thing that moves you, until you see that person."