Of all the celebrities we expected to be revealed as a mystery vocalist on The Masked Singer, Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon) is certainly NOT one of them. But alas, it turns out that the one-time anarchist turned MAGA supporter was the man inside the Jester suit on this season’s edition of the Fox singing competition.
Lydon, of course, refused to attend his band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, calling the institution a “piss stain,” so seeing him take part in a popular mainstream network show like The Masked Singer is quite surprising.
After singing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Soggy Bottom Boys’ “Man of Constant Sorrow,” Lydon was eliminated on last night’s eighth episode of Season 6, thus revealing himself underneath the Jester mask. During his time on the show, judges had thrown out such guesses as Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Ozzy Osbourne, Jack Black, Howard Stern, Elon Musk, and Simon Cowell.
In an interview with Billboard, Lydon explained that he took the gig to honor his wife Nora Forster, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease. “Someone contacted my manager and we discussed it and I thought it would be really good because it meant my lovely wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, might get a great sense of fun out of it if she managed to guess who it was,” said Lydon. “We’ve lived together for 47 years, Nora and I, so she must have some clues as to who I am and what I can get up to.”
When asked what 21-year-old Johnny Rotten would have thought of 65-year-old John Lydon on the show, he responded, “[He would have said,] ‘What a handsome dude. If only I could grow up to be as professional, skillful, beautiful, well-weathered and manicured as him, well, I might have a career!’ You can quote me on that!”
Lydon added, “I think you should make fun of everything you do. If you take yourself too serious there’s not much place of a place left for you in this world. You have to have a sense of self-deprecation. I can’t bear over-arrogant, overindulgent people. I’ll tear myself down as much as anyone or anything else, probably more so. Hence that’s the sadness in that character, the joker.”
In recent years, Lydon has made more headlines for his legal battles and political stances than his music.
The singer lost a lawsuit brought against him by his former Sex Pistols bandmates after he attempted to block the use of the band’s music in Danny Boyle’s upcoming mini-series, Pistol. He later claimed he was in a “state of financial ruin.”
Last year, he voiced his full support for Donald Trump at the time of the presidential election, saying, “Trump is not a politician. He’s never claimed to be. How unusually exceptionally wonderful is that for people like me, working class people. We’re bored of ‘intellectual’ left-wing ideas. We can’t take much of you. You talk twaddle. Everything you do — you just miss the point of who the general population are.”
Watch John Lydon revealed as The Jester on The Masked Singer in the video below.