Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from The Masked Singer episode that aired on December 11.
The Masked Singer’s Leopard says he did it all for the kids. On Wednesday, two unmaskings were featured on the Fox singing competition, but it was the reveal of the regal Leopard as Grammy-winning singer Seal that had fans freaking out.
In the semifinals round, Leopard was eliminated following an impressive performance of the Shirley Bassey song “Big Spender.” While Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger — the only two singers on the judges’ panel — pegged Seal as the mystery cat, the British musician’s own kids had no idea it was their famous dad under that elaborate Leopard regalia.
Seal told Masked Singer host Nick Cannon that he decided to do the show to make his kids laugh — and to make himself laugh. Seal has four children with his ex-wife Heidi Klum.
The reveal of Seal as Leopard had The Masked Singer panel bowing down to his greatness and thanking him for giving the campy singing show some credibility.
The Masked Singer showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra told Variety everyone on the show was in the dark about Seal’s identity, except for the few people who were given NDAs and sworn to secrecy. The “Kiss From a Rose” singer’s four kids were not in the know until the show aired on TV.
“Leopard wanted to do the show because he wanted to surprise his kids. They still didn’t know that he was on when the episode reveal aired,” The Masked Singer producer said. “He did the whole thing to surprise his kids and make them laugh. I really wanted to send a camera, the moment that his kids see that it’s him, but we couldn’t, unfortunately, for various reasons.”
The Masked Singer producers encourage the contestants not to tell many people that they are doing the show. Seal, whose kids with Klum range in age from 10 to 15, managed to keep his identity under wraps until his unmasking. But last season, actress Tori Spelling reportedly had a hard time keeping her identity a secret because friends of her five kids kept asking them if their mom was the singer under the Unicorn mask.
While Seal’s kids were no doubt thrilled to see his reveal, Masked Singer host Nick Cannon also got a kick out of it. Cannon used to work with Klum on America’s Got Talent, so he knows the family well.
The elimination of Seal’s Leopard and the Thingamajig character (aka NBA player Vitor Oladipo) leaves Fox, Rottweiler, and Flamingo left for The Masked Singer finals next week.