Mama June Calls Doing 'The Masked Singer' with Alana After Addiction 'an Emotional Experience'

"During The Masked Singer, I had been clean for over a year and a half," Mama June Shannon tells PEOPLE

Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and Mama June Shannon's time on The Masked Singer didn't end up being a day at the beach.

The mother-daughter duo entered the singing competition as wildcard contestant Beach Ball on Wednesday, but their first performance turned out to be their last when Thompson, 16, and Shannon, 42, received the fewest number of votes from the panel, studio audience and at-home superfans, and unmasked at the end of the episode.

"I was bummed, but I wasn't in the same aspect because I can't sing," Thompson tells PEOPLE. "So I was kind of sad, but I was also kind of happy because I didn't have to sing in front of millions of folks."

Mama June & Honey Boo Boo

The reality stars performed "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus, which they picked because "it was a really fun and upbeat song to dance to," Thompson says. "I feel like it's not a song you have to be able to sing, you could just scream that song at the top of your lungs, and you're still going to have fun with it."

Shannon wishes they made it to week 3 when they planned to sing Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," which she calls "my favorite song."

Mama June: From Not to Hot viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Thompson and Shannon's Masked Singer journey when season 6 airs this spring, but for now they dished on sweating inside Beach Ball, reconnecting on the Fox series and spending 10 years in the spotlight.

Alana Thompson and June Shannon
Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and Mama June Shannon. Robin L Marshall/Getty

Why did you two want to go on The Masked Singer?
AT: Because I felt like it would just be a fun experience, something different and something I've never done.
JS: The shows that we do outside of our shows, like Dancing with the Stars, that's for us. These are challenging because we're used to filming our everyday life. We've been doing it for 10 years. We just hit our 10-year anniversary on Oct. 12. We like showing fans that we can step outside the box and do something fun and give them something, another show to watch when our show is just in production. It's all about having fun at the end of the day and branching out.

Can you talk about being inside that costume? You expressed after being unmasked that being Beach Ball posed quite the physical challenge.
AT: It was definitely challenging because it was on wheels, and it was very dark in there, very hot. Like, oh my God, it was challenging.
JS: Our cameras caught all that hotness. That craziness inside the Beach Ball, outside the Beach Ball and at The Masked Singer, so you're going to be able to see all of our craziness that went behind the Beach Ball on our show this spring.

THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Beach Ball in the “Giving Thanks” episode of THE MASKED SINGER airing Wednesday, Nov. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.

What did you think of the judges' guesses for you, which included stars from Jersey Shore and various Kardashian-Jenners.
AT: I was literally sitting back there just laughing. When the Kardashians popped out, that's when I really started to giggle. They knew we were from Georgia [from the clue package], and they still said the Kardashians.
JS: But a lot of our fans knew who it was.
AT: You could just hear by the voice.

What was it like to work together again?
JS: Well, Alana I know would've hoped that it was just her on stage, and me too because I'm that backstage mom hyping her up. But it was a great experience. I realized the last time we were out there together doing a huge project, which was Dancing with the Stars, I was in my addiction. But during The Masked Singer, I had been clean for over a year and a half. So for me it was an emotional experience, and I guess that's why I teared up when we got on stage the night of the performance. Because I was actually doing something with her for the first time outside of everyday life, our show — a huge project in California — sober.

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Alana, what did it mean to have your mom there after all she's been through?
AT: It was very fun, and I just love being in California. That's the main thing I really liked. We were out there in California for a while, and it was just a good time altogether.

Who else in your family knew you were both coming on The Masked Singer?
AT: Not many people knew. It was like my sister, Pumpkin and [her husband] Josh, obviously. The close immediate family knew, but if you basically didn't live in the house with us, you don't know.
JS: When I tell you the people in our circle is very small, it includes Alana, [daughter] Jessica, [daughter] Pumpkin, Josh, [Pumpkin's son] Bentley, myself. That's it. We don't associate with too many other people because people just get too much into your business and want to sell it. That's a huge reason why all of us don't talk to [her oldest daughter] Anna that much. When we share things with her, she just wants to tell our business, and we like some stuff to be private.

Even 10 years into being on reality TV, does it still get overwhelming sometimes to have so much of your lives shared publicly?
AT: There has been many times where I'm like, "Oh my God, I just wish this could be private. This could be just us." Because everything you do when you're famous gets out. Everything. No matter if it's two years from that date that you did it or two days from that date, it's going to get out. So I do wish some things could be private, but I love what I do, and it's my life so I have to get used to it, I guess.

Alana, having grown up on TV, is there anything you want people to know about who you are today?
JS: Alana was 4 when we started this adventure, and time people have to realize Alana is 16 now. She's going to wear makeup. She's going to wear eyelashes. She's going to wear nails. She's going to dress a certain way because Alana's coming into herself. And I think a lot of people still look at Alana as that 6- 7-, 8-year-old girl that never grew up.
AT: I feel like so many people still look at me as that little girl that very first came on TV. Even when the posts about me and my boyfriend coming out, I feel like there was so many people that were still treating me like I was 6 years old.

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Now that you two have reconnected, what's next for you both?
AT: I'm filming, working towards graduating high school, so that's probably what's next for me. But if another show calls, I'll probably hop on it because I love doing cool, fun experiments and cool new things. So who knows?
JS: Right now we don't have any projects, but if anybody wants us to, you know what I'm saying, do it, you know what I'm saying? Y'all know how to get ahold of us.

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

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