‘The Masked Singer’: Miss Cleocatra Reveals How Her Friends Convinced Her to Say Yes to the Show

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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Masked Singer Season 11 Episode 8 “Girl Group Night.”]

With the latest elimination, The Masked Singer unveiled another legendary diva—and she’s not at all surprised that at least one panelist guessed who she was.

Miss Cleocatra, The Beets, Gumball, and the new wildcard Seal took the stage for Girl Group Night. After the initial performances, it was Miss Cleocatra and Seal who faced off in the Smackdown—with “Waterfalls” by TLC—and then it was the former who was eliminated. And under the mask was actress and Broadway performer Jenifer Lewis!

Saying yes to The Masked Singer came down to “my friends made me get out of bed. I’d had an accident,” Lewis tells TV Insider, referring to her 10-foot fall off a balcony while vacationing in Africa in late 2022. “I was convalescing at the time, and they said, ‘Get up and go do what you love to do.’”

She continues, “When The Masked Singer called, they said they’d take care of me. Because I couldn’t walk at the time, they bolted me down to the floor in a harness, and I was able to do what I do. They took care of me. I was still on a walker. My friends forced me to get out of bed to go have some fun, and I had a blast.”

Where she was in her recovery also played into the costume, the very appropriately regal Miss Cleocatra. “I discussed with The Masked Singer when I knew I couldn’t walk at the time, ‘Let me be Cleopatra and that way, they could bring me out on a barge, they could put me on a throne.’ And then they called back and they said, ‘We got it, Cleocatra.’ And I loved it. I thought that was so cute and creative. And when I saw the costume, that was it,” she recalls with a laugh. “I loved it. It was just so beautiful.”

Over her two episodes, Lewis performed “Stormy Weather” by Etta James and then, for Girl Group Night, “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue. She did have input into those choices. “We had a conference, and they had suggestions, and I chose the ones I wanted to do. That was great,” she says.

Panelist Ken Jeong did guess her in her last episode, both after her first performance and then before the unmasking, but she wasn’t surprised. “The minute I opened my mouth, the world knew who I was, and you know Ken was going to guess me,” says Lewis. “I mean, my voice—everybody knows my voice. So as much as I tried to disguise it a little bit, I think I was clocked almost after one word. I think when I came out with my leg up was when everybody knew it right away. I put the good leg up, the other leg I couldn’t move, but I had a blast.”

Overall, Lewis just had fun and loved being in front of an audience live. “That was everything because I haven’t been on stage in a long time,” she shares. “I’m a Broadway performer, so being there in the moment is everything. And this was such a lively young audience. So I think I showed those kids another side of Ruby Johnson from black-ish, Aunt Helen from Fresh Prince, and all the mothers in all the movies. So the kids know me, but now they see me in a new light. They know I can sing and carry on.”

Did you figure out it was Lewis in the Miss Cleocatra costume? Let us know in the comments section, below.

The Masked Singer, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox

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