Mantis as movie rocker: ‘I didn’t expect that far’ 2023
6 mins read

Mantis as movie rocker: ‘I didn’t expect that far’ 2023

On The Masked Singer, Gargoyle, Mantis, and Medusa competed for a berth in the quarterfinals.

Mantis lost the initial bout in Wednesday’s “Battle of the Saved” and was saved by Robin Thicke during “WB Movie Night” for sentimental reasons. Mantis performed Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll,” which was the panelist’s late father Alan Thicke’s favorite song, and “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, which the “Blurred Lines” singer’s 12-year-old son had recently performed in a play.

“I cannot let you go home when you sing my dad’s and my son’s song,”

Mantis performed the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” this week, but he was eliminated with no bell remaining to ring. After initially guessing Thomas Lennon, Thicke settled on Dennis Quaid, Nicole Scherzinger on Steve Buscemi, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg on Kevin Bacon, and Ken Jeong on Brendan Fraser.

When Mantis exposed himself as Tony and Golden Globe-nominated actor Lou Diamond Phillips, star of La Bamba, Young Guns, Stand and Deliver, and Prodigal Son, everyone was mistaken.

EW chatted with the actor about his low expectations for the show, his clues being too clear, and Thicke’s emotional reaction to his announcement.

Mantis as movie rocker: 'I didn't expect that far' 2023 5

I sang in Elena of Avalor and Firebuds after David Hidalgo’s voice in La Bamba. Country singing was my role on The Ranch. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had an elevated garage band. Although I’m not a vocalist, I’ve always liked singing. I’m not a real singer, but I can sing.

I’m a performer, but The Masked Singer’s cast ranges from non-singers to Grammy winners. Indigo’s favorite show is this insane, cool, bizarre experience. It’s more about performance than singing. So I tempered expectations.

Did your daughter know you were on TV?

After Prodigal Son, we’re living in New York, so I have to explain where I’m going on site. Since I never lie to her, I had to tell her this time.

Your energetic performances wowed everyone. In a hint package, you claimed Mantis had a rock god stage demeanor you didn’t expect. You channeled who?

In the 1980s, I loved Springsteen, Mellencamp, and Seger. It was definitely rocking. I would have liked to perform 1980s English invasion songs in a new-wave style.

Mantis as movie rocker: 'I didn't expect that far' 2023 6

Dennis Quaid, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Bacon, and Steve Buscemi were mistaken for you. Their guesses?

I was astonished because some of the signals were so clear, but that’s just the undercover person getting paranoid: the fact that I had played a famous singer in a film, the Broadway thing. I figured the poker and Texas thing would give it away, but that’s Dennis Quaid and probably Kevin Bacon. I think the guesses were accurate, and I felt flattered to be in such good company.

You were saved by Robin after singing his dad’s favorite song. When he saw you, he adored you. What was it like to have him save you and be so happy that it was you?

When he revealed why he saved me, I was touched. It was fate that his father used to karaoke “Old Time Rock & Roll” and that his son played Charlie. It’s odd since his dad was kind to me back then because I had to bite my tongue so much. He was usually friendly at gatherings we attended. I understand Robin’s anger because I did the show for family reasons too.

Despite winning I’m a Celebrity, you indicated you weren’t convinced you’d perform well on the show. Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. You chose to win?

You must want to win. I’m a celebrity, therefore I anticipated to win Rachael vs. Guy. I wanted to win, but my skills were better. Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, and Toni Braxton were removed from TMS. They’re Grammy winners and fantastic, so I sat there and thought there’s no way I’m going that far in the competition. I was amazed when I heard Dandelion and Medusa sing. Those ladies sing beautifully. If apples to apples, I wouldn’t vote for me.

The show taught you what? An album?

Years ago, the band wrote some great tunes. I wrote the lyrics, and some of it reminded me of how much I adored performing live. Never say never now. You know what, guys? Let’s make an album. You don’t need a huge label to share your music. It’s not a priority, but if it came up, we might do it.

Next for you?

The clue package stated The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira, my debut novel with my wife Yvonne. I’ve finished a sequel, which will likely be released early next year with Yvonne’s illustrations. This excellent plot was hers. Our literary cooperation is lovely. I’m trying to write stories again.

    Leave a Reply