The Masked Singer shocked us with a double reveal during the Group B finals on Nov. 18. The Whatchamacallit was revealed as NBA star Lonzo Ball, while “Singing Surgeon” Dr. Elvis Francois was revealed to be the Serpent. Dr. Elvis has become an internet sensation because of his amazing covers of songs that have uplifted us all during this pandemic. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Dr. Elvis about his Masked Singer journey.
Dr. Elvis, an orthopedic surgeon resident at the Mayo Clinic, told HollywoodLife that he “felt like a fish out of water” on set because he’d never performed on a stage before. He also revealed the meaningful reason why he chose the Serpent costume, and how the show did in terms of following health and safety protocols during the pandemic.
How did you end up on The Masked Singer of all places?
Dr. Elvis Francois: I’ve been asking myself that every day. So it’s been a crazy, crazy year for all of us, myself included. Everyone on the show is a celebrity. I’m not a celebrity. I’m not an entertainer or a professional musician. I wouldn’t call myself a musician, but earlier this year, me and a buddy of mine were playing some music at the hospital and that video became a viral thing on the internet, I guess you’d say. I had the opportunity of doing some cover songs after that, and the producers at Fox reached out and gave me the opportunity to do some cover songs for the After the Mask show. And then they reached out and asked if I’d like to be a contestant on The Masked Singer, which was crazy because I grew up always watching music competitions. I’m a huge fan of the show and been watching all the previous seasons. When they asked me I was like, this whole year has been surreal for a number of reasons, but that was definitely the most surreal moment of all. It’s something that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And the rest is what brings us here today.
There are a ton of costume ideas to choose from, so how did you settle on the Serpent costume?
Dr. Elvis Francois: Again, I think this whole process of even ending up on the show just felt like a series of unlikely events that kept happening. It felt like it was meant to be. When I saw that costume, I kid you not, our very first thought was this is 100 percent me. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the medical symbol, the Caduceus with the staff and the serpents, they go around it. So the medical symbol itself has a lot of historic mythological meaning that is derived from serpents. The costume was incredibly cool. The animatronics in the snake looked really cool. The fact that it had this underlying meaning for medicine was almost meant to be. It was as almost if you had to create the perfect costume for my role in medicine, this would be it.
After you were unmasked, Ken Jeong teared up over how much of an impact your music has had over the past few months. How did you feel when you saw him tearing up?
Dr. Elvis Francois: I started getting emotional myself when I realized the gravity of what it meant to be on that stage. Hearing his words and realizing that so many of us have family members who were directly impacted or indirectly impacted and how a little bit of music can go a long way in putting a smile on a person’s face or making someone feel a little bit better about their day. It was incredible to hear him express those things. I was happy to be representing the millions of other health care providers on the frontlines who couldn’t be there that day. I was happy to hear him say those things because there are many people in medicine and at the hospital that I work at and in hospitals across the country who are fans of the show. Having an opportunity to just step out of the hospital, away from the craziness that we see in politics and the news with the death counts of COVID, and just kind of relax, smile, and hang out, those were all the thoughts that I was thinking as Ken was talking. My last thought was, don’t cry. I had to sing one more song, and I thought I may not even be able to get through it. There were a lot of emotions.
The panelists were guessing people like Taye Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr. How did it feel to be put in the same league as them?
Dr. Elvis Francois: I can’t emphasize enough how much I felt like a fish out of water. I had never performed on stage like that. I had never performed for a large audience. I’d never performed live on television. I’d never done a choreographed performance while trying to sing a song. I’m not an entertainer in any way. I’m a training surgeon. When I was on stage after finishing the first song, I almost passed out because it’s super hot in the costume. We also can’t see, so I was standing there, and I didn’t know how I did. The panelists threw out those names, and it was humbling. Those are people that I listen to and have such an amazing amount of respect for, so it was really cool to hear their guesses.
This season, there are so many extra precautions to protect the cast and crew due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a doctor yourself, how did you feel the show did with the health and safety protocols?
Dr. Elvis Francois: The first thing I’ll say is the people at FOX did an incredible job. Personally knowing firsthand the guidelines that the CDC has put together, being at a hospital every single day, and knowing what it takes to make sure that people are following appropriate distancing guidelines, I had never been tested more for anything than my time on set of The Masked Singer. It was really, really incredible. It was incredible to see them take that as seriously from the person who’s handing out water bottles to the lead producer. Everyone did their part, and it was successful because no one ended up getting sick. There were no reported cases. So I’d give him an A-plus for the job that they did. It was pretty amazing.
You released an EP to support health care workers on the frontlines. In the future, are you looking to maybe pursue music in addition to your medical career?
Dr. Elvis Francois: That’s a great question. Several months ago, I just enjoyed sharing music. That was something that I was personally passionate about just because I love music that has meaning. Over the past few months seeing how with surgery you can only help the person who’s on the table, with music you can cross oceans and help a much wider group of people. It’s the next step for me to work on writing and creating some original music. I’m hoping to be able to find a way to share both music and medicine for as long as I’m able to.