Dr. Drew Pinsky spread his wings as the Eagle on The Masked Singer, but unfortunately, he didn’t soar through the competition.
Although Pinsky, 61, was eliminated after his first performance on Wednesday’s episode, he looks back at the experience fondly.
“I recommend it highly,” the TV and radio personality tells PEOPLE of The Masked Singer. “It was fun. It was a stretch. I didn’t know I could do it, but it was an expanding experience.”
After Pinsky’s version of “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” judges Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke thought Adam Carolla, Craig Ferguson, Jeff Goldblum, Bret Michaels, Pauly Shore or Howard Stern might be under the Eagle costume. The Dr. Drew After Dark podcast host found it funny that Jeong, 50, didn’t guess him after filling in for him on Loveline, and McCarthy, 46, got close with his former co-host Carolla.
“What really got to me is how close they got without getting it,” Pinsky says. “Jenny ruled me out and then who does she pick? She picks the two people that will never do the show: Adam Carolla and Howard Stern. Neither of them, I promise you, will ever do this show. And then a part that was cut that you didn’t see on TV was Ken says to me, ‘I know exactly who you are. I used to fill in for you. You have a talk show. You’re Craig Ferguson.’ I was like, oh my God!”
Read on for more about what surprised Pinsky about his time on The Masked Singer, why he feels relieved not to be doing the show anymore, and his unexpected medical issue.
How are you feeling now that everyone knows?
Relieved! I don’t have to keep secrets or keep lying to my family anymore. Crazy.
Who in your life knew before the reveal?
Only my wife. I have a vocal injury I discovered when I started training for this show. Because of that, a vocal coach started showing up at our house. One of our [26-year-old] sons happened to be living with us last summer and he asked me, “Why is this coach coming?” I said, “Oh, you know, I sing National Anthems for the Dodgers and for the Kings and there’s a Dodger game coming up and I’m just trying to prepare.” Then the coach started showing up three days a week and he goes, “What’s going on here?” I go, “Okay sign this paper.” So he signed a nondisclosure agreement and we told him.
Do your other two kids think it’s cool that you did the show?
One of my sons is actually a singer. He’s the real deal and I felt a little ashamed. He’s normally the one who coaches me up for the National Anthems and stuff and in retrospect, I wish I could’ve included him in the process of song selections and stuff like that. He sent me some very nice texts this morning so I think we’re good.
Has Carolla or anyone from your podcast world been in touch since the reveal?
That’s not a group that prides itself in kinds words, either the Carolla group or the Your Mom’s House group, but trust me KROQ, Your Mom’s House and Carolla have been all over me all day today. They’ve been calling and what should we say, collegially abusive. I’ll be on Carolla’s podcast.
You’re a doctor, but you didn’t know about this vocal injury before joining the show?
I sang as a kid and I trained all the way through my residency. I very wisely elected not to do that as a career and when I agreed to do this show, I started going to karaoke bars and I realized the upper- mid-range of my voice was just gone. I ended up pushing myself through it and it got worse. I went and saw a specialist and lo and behold I had a hemorrhage on my cords. When we healed the hemorrhage, I had a paresis on my cords. The treatment for that is usually laser and vocal rest and we couldn’t do any of that. We had to do the vocal rehab specialist. In the early goings I was preparing Frank Sinatra songs and Michael Bublé and American anthems, things I’m sort of familiar with. Then I put that damn costume on and I was like, this character demands that I’m not singing Frank Sinatra. This is a rock eagle. So we started all over again and then that needed a bunch of vocal re-trainings too. I would do it at like 7:30 in the morning before I went to work.
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How did you land on the Eagle?
They ask you to think about what you’d like to do and I was thinking, I sing these National Anthems so probably a bald eagle and I can keep the music in my wheelhouse. I went to the first production meeting and before I said anything they said, “We think you should be the Eagle.” So that was it. I was the Eagle right from the beginning.
What made you want to do The Masked Singer?
I saw it last year and I thought, my voice is going away as I get older. I only have so much more I can ever do with this. I can do that show. It would be funny and I would screw with Ken and Jenny for sure. I was at breakfast with my agent one day and I said, “Why don’t you put me in that thing? I could do that!��� And the next day, I was in!
Were you disappointed to be unmasked after your first performance?
I was kind of relieved and bummed. I was relieved because it is very stressful. But I was bummed because the production quality is so high, the team is so great and so fun to hang out with that I just wanted to hang out with everybody more. And once you leave, you’re gone. You’re not talking to anybody again. And I regretted that. I wanted to hang out with everybody more.
So you have no idea who any of the other contestants are? Not even the Penguin who you ultimately lost to in the smackdown?
You are blind to everything. I know as you know. I don’t know who the Penguin is, but when I find out who the Penguin is, I’m gonna go get her!
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.