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Disco Ball Had 1 Goal for ‘The Masked Dancer': ‘Stay Upright, Motherf–er’

”This is not ‘Dancing With the Stars,'“ Fox competition’s first unmasked dancer tells TheWrap

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the series premiere of Fox’s “The Masked Dancer.”)

Grammy-winning rapper and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star Ice-T was the first celebrity contestant unmasked on Fox’s “Masked Singer” spinoff series, “The Masked Dancer.” And though the star has a breakdancing background and busted more than one move back in the day, Ice-T tells TheWrap he was not prepared for how difficult it would be to perform as anthropomorphic disco ball.

“This is not ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ This is more like, get up there and move with professional choreographers and just kind of like try to stay in the zone,” the 62-year-old actor, who was revealed to be the Disco Ball contestant on tonight’s series premiere of “Masked Dancer” said. “And honestly, once they taught me the choreography, I was going to try to hit all the steps until I realized that head weighed 20 lbs… Backstage, I knew that if I were to lift my feet, I’d bust my ass. You’re very top heavy. So all my ideas of being a great dancer flew out the window. And it was more like, just stay upright, motherf—er. Don’t fall on national television and become a meme. You’ll be falling for the rest of your life.”

He added: “So I just tried to stay steady with it and move with the girls. At the end, I did a little freestyle stuff from back in the day. But I was concerned with falling, honestly. Because it’s not that easy with the costume on.”

Ice-T, born Tracy Marrow, took Fox up on their offer of a slot on the inaugural season of “The Masked Dancer” because his daughter is a huge fan of “The Masked Singer.”

“Well, I used to be a breakdancer and I was a b-boy and all that, but that was years gone by. I’m not dancing like that no more. But [my manager] told me it’s more about fun and a ‘guess who’ show. And I knew Lil Wayne did [‘The Masked Singer’], I knew Busta Rhymes did it, so I didn’t have to worry about cool points, because some of my peers had already done that show. To me, it could be kind of corny, but my daughter loves ‘The Masked Singer.’ But when the heads come off, she doesn’t know who the people are. So she just loves it for the costumes and the singing. So I’m like — what about this, when the helmet comes off, she’ll see me, she’ll lose her mind. So I said, yeah, let’s see what it is.”

And it turned out to be a whirlwind weekend in Los Angeles for the New York-based star, who says he was picked up from his hotel in a blacked-out van by “The Masked Dancer” team and two hours later, he was performing in that huge disco ball head. And he was more than OK with being “one and done” for the fun of it.

“I think right now, celebrities or known people, it’s time for people to see us having fun and laugh,” Ice-T said. “2020 has been a rough year. And when you’re not in your own zone, all professionals feel uncomfortable, but it’s fun. And I would advise anybody who gets the call to go for the ride. It was a great experience.”

Ice-T is a little concerned that “Masked Dancer” judges Ken Jeong (who is also a panelist on “Singer”), Paula Abdul, Ashley Tisdale and Brian Austin Green, might have a harder time playing their guessing game than the “Masked Singer” judges do.

“The clues they are giving you, they’re not just direct clues,” Ice-T said. “They had clues about ‘Law & Order,’ they have clues about me being in the military. You have to really know who the person is for the clues to work. You have to know my history. They try to keep people confused. I’m wondering if they pick anybody this season because with dancing, you’re not getting much. And at least with ‘Singer,’ you’re getting a performance, you can watch how people move and sing. With dancing, you’re not getting much.”

Among the judges’ incorrect guesses for Ice-T were Lionel Richie, MC Hammer, LL Cool J, Ving Rhames and Smokey Robinson.

“They knew I was Black. I guess the hips don’t lie. They knew I was Black, they didn’t guess one white person. So I guess they felt the flavor.”

“The Masked Dancer” moves to its regular night and time Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 8/7c on Fox.