En Vogue Reveals Why Going on 'The Masked Singer' as Queen Cobra 'Was a Bit Intimidating'

Rhona Bennett, Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron-Braggs got unmasked Wednesday night, narrowly missing out on a spot in the finale of the Fox singing competition

This post contains spoilers from Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.

Queen Cobra pulled a real snake-like move by keeping Masked Signer viewers — and the judges! — guessing when it came to the actual number of Queen Cobras competing on the show.

But Wednesday night, Queen Cobra confirmed their status as a trio and revealed themselves as Rhona Bennett, 45, Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron-Braggs of En Vogue. Ellis, 58, tells PEOPLE that keeping the Queen Cobra member count a mystery "was the decision of the production."

"We were wondering, how are they going to throw people off?" she continues. "So we thought it was genius that they came up with a number of Queen Cobras, as opposed to just showing the three of us up there."

Masked Singer, En Vogue
Michael Becker/FOX, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Although En Vogue narrowly missed out on proceeding to the finale as the result of a double elimination that also sent Space Bunny (unmasked as reggae singer Shaggy!) home, they feel fortunate to have simply gotten to perform again. The Grammy-nominated group will keep the momentum going with a summer tour.

"During the pandemic, it honestly felt like live performance was never going to make a comeback," Herron-Braggs, 60, says. "It felt like everything's going to be virtual from here on out. So we're really grateful to be able to get back out there and be live on stage and have our fans come out and support us. We still love performing and doing what we love to do."

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En Vogue reflects on singing in those body-con Queen Cobra costumes, how The Masked Singer brought them closer together and the one song they didn't get to perform.

What made this the right time for En Vogue to go on The Masked Singer?

CINDY HERRON-BRAGGS: Well, we didn't pursue it. It pursued us. Our manager was contacted by Fox regarding us doing the show and we thought, that actually sounds like it might be fun. It's a great show. We enjoy watching it. I never saw us on there because I never saw a group on there. I didn't know how that could work. But they made it work.

Was anyone in the group hesitant about going on the show?

TERRY ELLIS: It was a bit intimidating, the thought of it. Because as a singer, when I watched the show, I was always amazed at how they are singing through those masks. I wasn't sure exactly how, really. But we agreed to do it. We thought it'd be fun. It was definitely a challenge, but we grew because of the challenge as singers and entertainers. So we're really glad that we did it and are grateful for the opportunity.

The Masked Singer
Michael Becker/FOX

What was it like singing under the masks?

CHB: It was challenging. The mask had a little bit of weight to it and they had it built so that inside it rested on the crown of our head and sat on the tops of our shoulders. When you're singing and you want to reach for a note, sometimes you'll [crane] your neck or you'll do something with your shoulders to help you feel like you can grab that note better, but the mask restricted all of that for us. We had to learn to sing past those restrictions.

Also, the costumes were obviously body-con, so we didn't utilize our diaphragm breathing as much as we should have because you didn't want to see those diaphragms poking out. We had to put the air in our chest. And then we had these high heels. So what usually would've been a much easier performance for us, made it more difficult physically and vocally. The hardest one was "Say a Little Prayer." By the end of that song, I was much more winded than I would've been.

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How did you pull off the choreography so well in the costumes?

TE: It was difficult, because when you have a mask on, your sense of depth perception is challenged. It's totally, 100 percent impaired. There's no peripheral vision. And it's dark. So all you're getting is minimal stage light coming through some teeny tiny little pinhole in the mask. You don't know if you're walking into somebody or not, or how far you are walking out. You feel totally uncomfortable. I had moments where I felt like I was afraid to take a step. I was so nervous that by showtime, I was not going to have my balance, but somehow I was able to regain it. I'm glad it was a short performance.

How did you decide on which songs you sang and what else would you have wanted to sing, had you stayed in the competition?

RHONA BENNETT: They had a list of songs that they suggested to us and then they also offered us the opportunity to list the songs that we would want to do. We brainstormed and we ended up landing on what we did. We had a lot of fun with each of those numbers in a different way, but I think Cindy really wanted to do ... what's the name of that song by Camila Cabello?
CHB: "Don't Go Yet."
RB: That was another one that we were heavily considering, but I don't know if we could get it cleared to do so. We were happy with what we landed on.

Austin Hargrave

What did you make of the judges' guesses for you before Nicole Scherzinger got you in the end?

CHB: We thought they were some interesting and some good guesses. Danity Kane, Monica and Brandy, TLC, Anne Hathaway. It was funny.

How did this experience bring you ladies closer?

TE: It's sort of like being in an escape vault. You have to rely on each other. We all agreed that we wanted to uphold the integrity of what we're known for and because we were all challenged, we knew we couldn't give up or else we would've been giving up on each other.

What's next for En Vogue?

CHB: We will be going on tour with New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa and Rick Astley. That's going to be 58 shows all around America and in Canada. That's what we're going to be doing all summer.
RB: We're also going to be re-initiating our Funky Divas Podcast. We're going to be bringing everybody backstage with us. We're really, really excited.
CHB: We're really happy that we still have fans that support our music and want to come out and see our shows. It's amazing that after these many years, we still are able to do what we love to do.

The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.

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