William Shatner says being on The Masked Singer was wilder than going to space

Warning: This article contains spoilers from The Masked Singer season 8 premiere.

The Knight has officially ridden off into the sunset.

The fun costume was the first to go home from season 8 of The Masked Singer, which promises multiple eliminations in every episode as part of a format shakeup. After performing his rendition of Fred Astaire's "Puttin' on the Ritz," the massive studio audience voted him off, and underneath all that shining armor was none other than legendary actor William Shatner.

Next to go home was Hedgehog, who was revealed to be Monty Python mastermind Eric Idle. This left Harp and Hummingbird still standing, with Harp ultimately being crowned this week's winner. She'll move on to next week, and Hummingbird's identity will be revealed at that time, too. (What a tease!)

Ahead of Knight's reveal, the 91-year-old Star Trek icon opened up about how being on The Masked Singer compared to his trip into space, and why he has no plans to settle down anytime soon.

The Masked Singer
The Masked Singer

FOX The Knight performs on 'The Masked Singer' season 8.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Mr. Shatner, what on earth convinced you to do The Masked Singer?

WILLIAM SHATNER: [Laughs] Good question. Can I get you to answer that? All I know is that when they asked me, I knew I had a number of things that I was doing, and that I was planning publicity for. And this was this wonderful show that's very popular, and maybe I could do it, and when I'm publicizing that show, I could get some publicity for my book that's coming out in a couple of weeks, called Boldly Go, or a watch that I've designed that NASA likes and they put NASA on the wristband. And that's coming out soon. My show, The UnXplained, is on the History Channel and Netflix and is trending incredibly well. I've got two documentaries, one biography, and the other a story about my performance at Kennedy Center, which is also an album. And then an NFT is coming out soon. So I thought I would take that opportunity to be able to talk to you about those things as well as [The Masked Singer].

Yes, you've got so much going on. What are you most excited about?

Everything! Everything I'm doing I'm excited about. Everything is new that I'm doing, it's all different. I mean, from a book to an NFT, from a watch to a television show, to documentaries, and an album. I mean, that's a lot of stuff.

Speaking of your busy schedule, in the last year, you went to space and appeared on The Masked Singer. Be honest, which experience was wilder for you?

The Masked Singer is the most extraordinary experience I've ever had. Well, I mean, the wardrobe was impossible. You can't see, you can't breathe, you can't hear, you can't think. There was no oxygen in there. I had a panic thinking, "Wait a minute, I can't breathe. And I'm supposed to sing." You know how you sing? You take a breath and air comes out. That's how you sing, and I couldn't get a breath. It was incredible.

And you did it all as a knight riding a golden goose.

Right. And I almost laid the golden egg. Maybe I did, I don't know. [Laughs]

I actually just spoke to Eric Idle, a.k.a. Hedgehog, and he told me that you guys got to catch up and sort of commiserated over how difficult being on the show could be.

Right. Not only that, they want you to keep it absolutely secret. So they send a guy with a black hat and a black suit. And they put a chain around your neck. And so they follow you everywhere. From the moment I left, this guy in a black suit and black hat followed me everywhere I went and would kick me in the shins if I ever mentioned the name, like if I said costume, or if I said anything pertaining to the show. No, I'm only kidding. But it was like that to an extent. They said, "Don't talk about anything. Don't say anything."

In the show, you mentioned you couldn't believe it took you 8 years to do TMS. Had you been approached to do it before?

I think I have over the years. I think so.

William Shatner
William Shatner

Santiago Felipe/Getty Images William Shatner

And now that you've done it, what did you take away from the experience?

Well, I took away a limp from the costume. Some blood. [Laughs] Oh, I don't know. I took away one of the more unusual experiences I've ever had.

You know, my dear, the truth of the matter is, my memory of everything there is clouded by how awkward and painful the situation I was in was. And the funny part is, that I had talked to a friend of mine that had been on the show before. And he said it was the worst experience of his life. I said, "Oh, come on. You never had a baby." And now I realized he's right. [Laughs] It was tough. That wardrobe was tough. And I think that's part of the show. Part of the fun of The Masked Singer is how awkward everybody feels. I heard somebody say they had a panic attack. And I was close to that myself, not being able to breathe.

I'm not sure how anyone manages it.

People don't realize how impossible it is, and I think they do it deliberately to make these big costumes so awkward and it becomes part of the fun for everybody else. For the person inside — actually, [maybe] they could have put somebody else inside and I could have sung it better [from off-stage]… ah dear.

Why did you choose "Puttin' on the Ritz?"

Well, it's a beautifully written song, the rhythm, the rhyme, the words. Everything about it was a good choice of a song for me. And it has this syncopation that is... not difficult, but you have to know it. I studied the word grouping, which was the syncopation, and I kind of got it down. It was good, and then I never did hit it in the performance.

We've talked about all of the many things you have going on right now, but do you have any plans to settle down?

Yeah, I think maybe in 15-20 years. [Laughs] Maybe I'll go to California.

The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. Watch Shatner's big reveal below:

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