One of the most unique shows on television, The Masked Singer took the world by storm when it premiered in the first part of 2019, proving to be a critical success (albeit with a heavy dose of confusion) and a ratings blockbuster. The series feels like an odd cross of other reality competition series like American Idol, The Voice, and To Tell the Truth - but with amazing costumes and hidden celebrity identities added to the mix.
Over the course of the first season, the adorably fluffy Monster - a lovable creature who looked like a mix of Monsters Inc.'s Mike and Sulley - won hearts and fans all over the world with his soulful renditions and adorable antics. In the end, the fluffy Monster won the title and was revealed to be none other than the king of autotune, T-Pain. Here, we're taking a look back at the champ's performances and seeing how they stack up against each other.
6 “I Love Rock n' Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Given T-Pain's amazing natural talent, it was never the case that the Monster ever really had a bad performance. But as adorable as he may have looked, with his coiffed hair and star sunglasses and hot pink guitar, there's no denying that his take on the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts classic "I Love Rock n' Roll" was the weakest performance he turned in during his time on the series.
A large part of that was due to the actual production of the song, which leaned too heavily into the backing tracks and occasionally obscured the Monster's vocals. Still, he was as committed a performer as ever, playing up every last bit of the routine with a natural charm and undeniable cuteness.
5 “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
In his first appearance on the series, the Monster got things going with a lively rendition of the Queen classic "Don't Stop Me Now." He showed his soulful vocal range right away, but also his flashy and fun side, engaging in a bizarre dance routine with some equally bizarrely dressed backup dancers.
T-Pain's vocal runs were truly on point during this cover, and while he may not exactly be coming for Freddie Mercury's legacy any time soon, there's no denying that this song was a perfect fit for his (then secret, thanks to years of autotune) singing skills.
4 “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz
As if the Monster wasn't already the cutest critter on the series, in his third performance, he decided to up his game by introducing hilarious, song relevant costumes in his performances. In his third appearance, the Monster absolutely brought the house down with a soulful take on Lenny Kravitz' "American Woman," all while sporting a total badass leather jacket that said American Monster on the back.
T-Pain leaned into the vocal runs once again on this song, delivering impossibly smooth and impressive notes and riffs that even improved on the original. He also showed once again just how natural a dancer he is with his smooth grooving in coordination with the backup dancers.
3 “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan
Even before he was officially crowned the winner of The Masked Singer's first season, the Monster kicked off the first season finale with a performance that truly felt like a celebration and a victory lap. In his final performance, the Monster impressed with an ever-lively take on the classic "This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan, showing the judges that yes, this really is how a winner does it.
T-Pain's voice and range were perfectly suited for this song, as he was able to match the hip hop beats measure for measure while still maintaining Jordan's innate smoothness and suave tone. He also managed to perform some truly impressive footwork during his choreography, dance moves that found him lighter on his feet than ever before even with the heavy Monster costume weighing him down.
2 “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
While T-Pain had previously shown signs of his true soulful talent and his ability to make music that moved people, it wasn't until the Monster's second to last performance that he finally leaned fully into the romantic side of his persona and wooed the judges and audience with his take on Sam Smith's "Stay with Me."
Looking as adorable as ever with perfectly coiffed hair and a little white suit and flowers, the Monster brought tears to the judge's eyes with his rendition of this modern classic love song. Though his tone and style may have been different than Smith's original (even without taking the adorable fuzzy costumes into consideration), T-Pain's take on the ballad even improved on the original in some ways, as his vocal riffs were breathtaking.
1 “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin Degraw
Though the Monster had impressed with his initial take on Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," it was his second performance that truly cemented him as a likely contender for the title, even that early in the competition. In his second appearance, the Monster performed a heavy-hitting take on Gavin Degraw's early 2000s angst classic, "I Don't Want To Be," best known for serving as the theme song for the teen soap drama One Tree Hill.
It was this song, more than any of the others that he performed over the course of the season, that T-Pain truly put his own spin on and made absolutely his own. His distinct twang and emphasis of certain words and lyrics above others elevated the song to a whole new level, making it impossible to not rock out along with. T-Pain has a lengthy history with this song, having performed a similar rendition on Smash on Yahoo Music back in the mid-2000s. His final vocal riff, in particular, is absolutely stunning, even after all this time.