Masked Singer runner-up Sheldon Riley calls out 'weird' detail in finale

After delivering some of the most iconic performances on this year’s season of The Masked Singer Australia, Snapdragon was finally revealed to be powerhouse vocalist Sheldon Riley during Sunday night’s epic grand finale.

The 23-year-old Eurovision star made it all the way to the end of the competition and finished in second place to Mirrorball, who was unmasked as former Pussycat Doll, Melody Thornton.

The Masked Singer's Sheldon Riley.
Sheldon Riley came second on The Masked Singer as Snapdragon. Photo: Channel Ten

Chatting with Yahoo Lifestyle after the finale, Sheldon opened up about his time on the show and revealed some behind-the-scenes details.

“I was brought in very, very last minute,” he shares. “Pretty much within like, days or weeks. It was very quick, very rushed.

“I was overseas at the time so I flew home and did it. I thought I would have done an episode, maybe two at most, and then it was just fun to keep going. I didn't really look at it as a competition, to be honest.”


Sheldon went on to say that while he’s used to performing with a mask on stage, including his memorable appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year, he found it “really hard” being Snapdragon.

“It was tough,” he admits. “I couldn't see anything.

“I was the only mask that had zero per cent vision, like nothing at all. So the choreographers would give me numbered steps to make sure I didn't fall off the stage. It was really full on.

“And then on top of that it was so heavy, and you have to sing live too. It's not lip-syncing, you actually have to sing it. So it was a mental game and it was crazy, but I'm really proud of it.”

The Masked Singer's Snapdragon.
‘I was the only mask that had zero per cent vision, like nothing at all.’ Photo: Channel Ten

Unseen moment with Chrissie Swan

While it took a while for the guessing panel to work out who the majority of the contestants were this season, Chrissie Swan predicted that Sheldon was Snapdragon very early on.

“I kind of thought someone was going to guess my name eventually, but not straightaway,” he laughs.

“It was funny because they sent me backstage and Chrissie had guessed someone, I forget who, but as I was just about to walk out she was like, ‘One second… you're that guy from Eurovision, you’re Sheldon Riley!’ and the crowd went psycho for it. They were like, ‘Yeah it’s him!’ and they lost it.

“That never ended up airing because it was already done, but it was kind of from there that she didn’t stop and she just kept going.

He adds that while he was encouraged by producers to disguise his voice under the mask, it wasn’t something he wanted to do.

“They were saying to me, ‘Why don't you sing more nasally, be a bit more feminine, be a bit more masculine’,” he shares. “I was just like, look, it would be great if I was an actor or a chef or a footy player or something, but I'm going in as a singer and people know my voice.

“So I was just like, if I'm going to do this, people are going to guess it, so I just want to make sure people go, ‘Yeah that’s really good’. I worked my butt off, but it was fun.”

The Masked Singer's Sheldon Riley and Chrissie Swan.
Chrissie Swan guessed Sheldon early on in the competition. Photo: Instagram/chrissieswan


Speaking about his final performance of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman, Sheldon shares that he’s currently thinking of releasing an official cover online.

The performance received enormous praise from fans online and was even featured in an extended promo for the show before the season began - which Sheldon says he found “weird”.

“They gave away the entire grand final performance in the commercial,” he remarks. “A lot of people saw that one, it was like a 50-second commercial they kept playing over and over. It kind of started airing around when the Neighbours finale was airing.

“I mean, I tried disguising my voice at the start of the show, because the first few songs don't sound as much like me as what the last ones did, but they gave away the whole song so it screwed over the whole 'disguise the voice' thing from the start!

“It also ruined the mystery of ‘Is he going to make it or not’ because you hadn’t seen me sing Never Enough, so you knew I must still be in.”

‘No more TV’

After appearing on The X Factor, The Voice, America’s Got Talent and Eurovision, Sheldon asserts that The Masked Singer will be his last appearance in a reality show.

“No more TV, I’m done with that,” he says, before revealing his upcoming music plans.

“I’ve got new music coming and I'm looking at doing tours as well, which I'm finally so excited to start getting into and creating and lots of travelling.

“Actually, I've got a really exciting gig coming up in the next few weeks. I can't say too much yet, but it's on a stage I never thought I would have performed on, it's probably my biggest one yet. So you have to wait for that one.”

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