Spoiler alert: This story contains the identity of the contestant eliminated on Wednesday night’s (Nov. 29) episode of The Masked Singer.
With his rakish graham cracker, marshmallow hat and chocolate-dripping goatee, the swashbuckling S’more had a killer run on The Masked Singer. The clearly veteran stage performer displayed his personality and people skills early on during a swoony run through The Plain White T’s’ “Hey There Delilah,” which made judge Nicole Scherzinger “melt.”
After the snack singer told viewers he’d spent time on the road with his “brothers” back in the day and revealed that he’s a dad, Scherzinger guessed New Kids on the Block singer Jordan Knight, or maybe Jury Duty actor James Marsden. Meanwhile, always-wrong panelist Ken Jeong guessed Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas, while Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg — an avowed expert on boy bands — cued in on a “hairspray” clue and though it could be O-Town singer and Broadway vet Ashley Parker Angel.
S’more, who also brought it on NFL Night with Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” — during which the tall drink of water scored a touchdown with his smooth moonwalk — got the judging panel lasciviously touching marshmallow props along with him after his crush-worthy take on former One Direction member Niall Horan’s solo hit “Slow Hands.”
His last splash was on Wednesday night’s (Nov. 29) Disco Night Group A finals, where S’more went up against Cow and Gazelle as he took on one of his favorite dance-floor hits, “That’s The Way (I Like It)” by KC and the Sunshine Band.
Other clues along the way included his journey from obscurity to worldwide fame and “heartthrob status” in just weeks, as well as a Chicago deep-dish pizza and oranges, which led to some more close-but-not-quite boy band guesses, including *NSYNC’s JC Chasez, Backstreet Boys’ Kevin Richardson and Jeong’s other swing-and-misses: Shang-Chi star Simu Liu or BSB’s AJ McLean
All wrong, however — except for McCarthy-Wahlberg, who, as it turns out, had already correctly guessed that the singer was none other than Wicked‘s Fiyero Tigelaar, aka O-Town’s Ashley Parker Angel.
Billboard spoke to Angel before his elimination, asking what inspired his return to singing, whether this is a precursor to a boy band reunion, and how he felt watching one of his favorite groups, *NSYNC, come back together after a 20-year hiatus.
You’ve done time on a number of reality shows — Celebrity Cooking Showdown, Celebrity Surf Invitational, Making the Band — how did this experience compare?
This was unlike any other experience Ive ever had. It’s such a unique style show. I had watched the previous seasons and a lot of my family are obsessed [with it] and I’d had a lot of people guessing I was characters from previous seasons. But I never thought I’d be in a giant S’more costume performing these awesome songs I got to sing.
Why now? What inspired you to do this show at this point?
I had taken a break from performing for a little while after Wicked on Broadway and I moved home to focus on being a dad and then the pandemic hit and I started an online fitness company [High Level Performance Academy] and it ended up being so fulfilling working with people who had followed my career and it felt like I was making an impact helping people change their lives for the better. I told my agent this was what I was focused on and they were ready to let me me go because I was turning down so many things and stepping away from entertainment, which is what I’d done for 20 years as a singer, actor and performer. When I got the call for The Masked Singer, I already loved the show, so it was kind of perfect. Who doesn’t love to see their favorite celebrity get revealed? So I said, “hell yeah!”
Is this a precursor to you returning to the music biz?
I’ve been getting this question a lot and the truth is I love what I’m doing now as a health and wellness coach, but I had this opportunity now that my son is older and I wanted him to have a moment where he could see his dad on stage because I’d stepped away for a solid amount of time. It will always be a part of who I am, but no. I have no plans to launch an album or do music again. I get questions about an O-Town reunion [the group reunited in 2013 without Angel] and I’m not excited about that at this time in my life. I’m always excited about evolving to the next stage and taking on new challenges.
So many of the guesses were other boy band members — was that flattering?
It was, and the one I loved the most was Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20… I’m a huge fan and it was an honor and a privilege to have that guess. One of the things was that the mask looks so much like Kevin Richardson with that goatee, but that would have been almost too on-the-nose.
Jenny seemed to know it was you from the jump, though. What do you think gave it away for her?
She knows her MTV, as she said, and I feel like because of that clue the night that she guessed [a video of S’more curling dumbbells], that was unique to what I’ve been doing the last five years.
You got to show off your indie rock, disco and pop chops on the show with songs by Maroon 5, Plain White T’s and the Sunshine Band. Was it fun to tap into those different aspects of your vocals?
Totally. And the KC song, that’s one of my all-time favorite disco songs. With Niall from One Direction, of all the boy band members he looks like my younger brother and doing another boy bander was a nod to my boy band past.
You said you were nervous at first and you said you did tons of cardio to get your breath. But judging by the many ripped, shirtless pics on your Instagram, it seems like you’re probably in the best shape of anyone who has ever been on the show.
You are far too kind. I am 42 years old, so it’s not quite the same as in my 20s. And now I’m in a giant, heavy costume. They did say with your boy band background and Broadway experience, they wanted to give me a lot of choreography, and I said yes and then later I almost regretted it singing these songs — which takes so much breath — and adding the choreography. My focus on fitness gave me a real advantage. If not, I couldn’t have made it through one song.
Was part of your strategy flirting with the female judges?
I really tried to be as creative as possible during this process and I kept asking for these moments I might have with the judges. My idea to sing and serenade Nicole was because going back to when she was in Eden’s Crush and we would play a lot of the same shows, I’ve always been a huge fan, so it was really fun to ham it up and switch around some of the “Hey Delilah” lyrics to sing it to her.
Your old pals in *NSYNC recently got back together after 20-plus years. What did you think of their return?
I am friends with those guys and I think it’s awesome and I celebrate it. One of my audition songs for O-Town was *NSYNC’s “Tearing’ Up My Heart.” When i was in high school, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were the biggest bands in the world and O-Town was from the same camp, but I declined an opportunity to rejoin O-Town because it’s not exciting to me where I am in my life now.