Debbie Gibson Revealed as the Night Owl on ‘The Masked Singer’

Debbie Gibson was revealed as the artist behind the character of the Night Owl on The Masked Singer. The evening of performances on Thursday’s (Feb. 22) episode of The Masked Singer was dedicated to the 1970s Swedish pop group ABBA.

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“I am still pinching myself over how my appearance on ‘The Masked Singer’ came about in less than 24 hours,” Gibson shared with American Songwriter. 

Gibson stepped in to perform last minute and had less than 24 hours to prepare for her Night Owl performance when a scheduled guest was forced to cancel their appearance on the show after testing positive for COVID.

“I didn’t really have much time to decide to do it,” said Gibson of the rushed performance. “I had 14 hours from the time I was landing in Las Vegas from a flight back from New York, drove out to LA and was on set by eight in the morning,” she added. “I’m more adventurous than people might know. For me, it was a special moment, as the go-to girl to save the day. I had no time to overthink or prepare.”

Before the big reveal, Gibson stumped most of the panelists with her performances of the ABBA hits “Fernando” and “The Winner Takes It All.”

“My songwriter heart was so thrilled to perform music by the legendary group ABBA,” Gibson told American Songwriter. “I was always influenced by their melodic sensibility and love of universal lyrics and catchy hooks.”

Prior to her unmasking, Jenny McCarthy and her husband New Kids on the Block‘s Donnie Wahlberg were the only two panelists to correctly guess that it was Gibson behind the owl costume. Wahlberg may have recognized Gibson’s distinct timbre since he has toured with her throughout the years with New Kids on the Block.

Other guesses included Sarah Jessica Parker by comedian and actor Ken Jeong, while Nicole Scherzinger guessed Belinda Carlisle or Cyndi Lauper, and Robin Thicke believed Kylie Minogue was behind the owl mask.

Gibson also shared that it was the one-year anniversary of her mom’s death. “My mom managed me for 25 years,” said Gibson. “So it was like my mom was saying, ‘Okay, here’s a little gig honey. Go do it.’”

Along with Gibson’s Night Owl, the character of Rock Lobster — perhaps a crustacean ode to the 1978 B-52s’ song — was revealed as a comedian and America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel.

“The experience on ‘The Masked Singer’ was everything I thought and more,” said Gibson in a prerecorded interview. “To be anonymous in this costume really connected me with that childhood love of imagination. The owl head was exquisite the first time I saw it, and I have a lot of connection to owls that I didn’t know I had.”

She joked, “I just spent the better part of the year touring and have been extremely nocturnal, so it all made sense to me.”

In 2021, Gibson released her 10th album, The Body Remembers, followed by her first holiday album, Winterlicious, in 2022. She is set to kick off her U.S. headlining tour in 2023, which will run from May 25 through July 15.

Photo: Nick Spanos / Courtesy of Shore Fire Media

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