The Robopine was unmasked during the May 5 episode of The Masked Singer, and actor/singer Tyrese Gibson was underneath that massive costume. HollywoodLife was able to speak EXCLUSIVELY Tyrese ahead of the show about how he ended up being the Robopine. His daughter, Shayla, 13, talked him into it!
“I would love to take credit for why I did The Masked Singer, but I have to give all the credit to my daughter, Shayla,” Tyrese told HollywoodLife. “During the pandemic, I got to do things that I’ve never thought I would ever be able to do. I’m always busy, on flights, traveling… Hustling and hustling my way through life to maintain this life that we live in. It’s one thing to get a house, it’s another thing to be able to keep it. So here I am at home having a family moment where I get to actually sit in front of the television and watch TV, which is what I never do. She was watching The Masked Singer on Hulu, watching every season. She just was like, ‘You should do this show.’ I looked at Shayla and said, ‘Get out of here.’ We had a full-on heated debate about why I should do it and the fact that I should do this. And then literally out of the blue, I got a phone call from my agent who said, ‘Hey, we just got a call. I’m sure it’s something that you would never do. But we have to tell you the people from The Masked Singer called, and they want you to do the show.’ I said, ‘Actually, I am interested.’ They were like, ‘Really?’ I don’t drop albums, but every five, six years. I’m not chasing the charts. I’m not the guy that was competitive as I used to be, always wanting to be number one on Billboard. I’m at a place right now musically, where if I’m not singing or doing music coming from a real place, I’d rather just not do it. My daughter talked me into doing The Masked Singer. The crazy thing is, after I booked the show, I couldn’t even tell her.”
The celebrities involved with The Masked Singer are kept top secret from everyone until they’re revealed. Tyrese was shocked at the lengths the show went to keep his identity under lock and key, including not letting tell his daughter he was going to be on the show.
“They would not let me bring her to set,” the Fast 9 star said. “They said no kids allowed because kids are going to go to school and tell all their friends. I was like, well, she’s the reason I’m doing the show. Can’t she come here to set and be in my trailer and be a big part of the whole experience? They said no. They arranged for me to get picked up and dropped off in a secret parking lot. They made me cover my full face. They have a system in place. It’s really layered and layered and layered. It really is interesting how far they go to keep the people involved in the show was secret. They keep us a secret from each other and tell us to keep a secret from our family and friends and did everything. They go really far. It was interesting and very stressful.”
The Robopine costume was extensive, with a massive muscle suit covered with porcupine quills. “It was very heavy,” Tyrese admitted. “It took two to three people to put this entire thing on me and take it off. I couldn’t put it on or take it off by myself. So it was definitely interesting.” He also noted that the crew had to “turn the air conditioning up on that soundstage” because he got so hot in his costume.
For his last performance, Tyrese performed “Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Men. “I didn’t know that was going to be my last song,” Tyrese said. “I had like three other missiles lined up. That was one of my favorite songs ever written and produced. I actually just told one of the singers from Boyz II Men that. I was able to tell Babyface that.”
Tyrese sang additional songs by Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, and more. The actor/singer revealed that The Masked Singer was given permission for those songs to be performed for the first time because of Tyrese. “Babyface, Boyz II Men, and the people that run the Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass estate, they’ve been contacted many times about people doing songs on The Masked Singer,” Tyrese explained. “Instead of them just focusing on how much money they’re going to make to clear the song or whatever that might be, they’re at a place where they like…who’s singing? And then The Masked Singer is like, ‘Well, we can’t tell you who’s singing it for confidentiality reasons.’ And then they say, ‘Well, if we don’t know who’s singing it, we’re not going to clear the song.’ They had to tell him it was Tyrese, and that’s when they cleared the songs. It was a real compliment that I didn’t even know was coming.” The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays on FOX.