Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson open up to PEOPLE about their time as the Russian Dolls on The Masked Singer, as well as their new album and single
This post contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of The Masked Singer.
The Russian Dolls have been unmasked as … Hanson!
Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were revealed Wednesday night to be the elusive singers under the seemingly constantly multiplying costume on this season of The Masked Singer — no doubt a nod to their evolution as a band over the years, as well as their large families (the guys are the oldest of seven children, and have 15 kids of their own among the three of them).
The brothers — who will celebrate their 30th anniversary as a band next year — expressed their gratitude for their time on the show after being unmasked in fifth place, with Taylor, 38, saying, “It’s been a blast.”
“We would normally be touring,” said Zac, 35, of why they said yes to joining The Masked Singer lineup. “But we had this unique opportunity to do something very different and also play to a whole new audience.”
“The fact that you spend all these years performing, you’re always seen as a certain thing — people think they know what you are, and to able to just start with music and focus on singing and say, ‘Hey, you don’t know what’s behind this,’ ” added Taylor.
Below, PEOPLE catches up with the “MMMBop” masters about their experience on the hit Fox singing-competition series, their new single and album and more.
PEOPLE: I have to admit I was surprised to see you guys on this show but also that, as a fan, I recognized your voices immediately. Tell me about what got you to sign up — I’m assuming your kids had a huge hand in it?
Isaac Hanson: Actually, believe it or not, I don’t think any of our kids had watched the show before! We really liked the idea of doing the show, in no small part because of the anonymity element of being able to be out there wearing a mask and just singing and having a good time with it, and that guessing game of, “Who is this? What are they doing? Wait, are they a band? Are they a vocal group? What are they?” Being able to play with people as much as possible with that was really fun.
Zac Hanson: The biggest thing for me about this was just that it probably does relate to this COVID year, where you can’t tour and you can’t do all these things. We normally wouldn’t even be able to [do this show], because we’d be on the road. So you have this opportunity to show up, and it’s something you would never have normally been able to take advantage of, and you just go, “Hey, let’s go for it. This could be cool. We don’t really know what it’s going to be like, or what the results will be.”
“But what we do know is it’s singing, and that’s something that we always want to do in front of people.” That was our motto when we started out, which probably comes from our parents: “If someone asks you to sing, sing, because you just never know where that’s going to lead. Even if it’s at a pizza parlor or outside somebody’s front door, you go sing. Hopefully, that will just connect people to what you do.”
Taylor Hanson: I think the other component, with business, we have been doing this for many years. We’ve had lots of challenges. We started an independent label. We’ve attended causes. We’ve started festivals. You’re looking for new challenges and you’re looking for things that get you to be creative. It’s been such a crazy time.
We love how positive the show is. It’s celebrating different people, different backgrounds, doing something that we’ve known how to do since we were kids: singing. It was something that really put a bright spot into a time that a lot of people have been looking for something positive. It just really is a thing to connect with, and we were happy to be a part of it.
PEOPLE: What was it like inside those costumes? They did not look easy to move around in. Also, I’m assuming two of you doubled up inside the bigger costumes for some of the performances?
Zac: Pretty much every time the big doll was out, there were two people in it. That was not fun. … We’re full-size men. So you get two people in there and, if nothing else, just the body heat and the stale air, it was a challenge.
Isaac: Let me just say that if it were not for it being 2021 and you having the ability to have a little battery-powered fan, it would have been suffocatingly painful to be in for very long.
Zac: I think you have some advantages and some disadvantages from the different other kinds of costumes. In one sense, you have to [stay still], so that was kind of better. But it also means the face of the doll is pretty far from your eyes, so you can’t see. You have no peripheral vision. … So you just have to use The Force, essentially. You start counting in your head, “Okay, I know if I go four or five steps this way, that’s pretty much the end of the stage.” You start to get a feel for it. You listen for the other dolls on the stage, because you can kind of hear their footsteps — “Okay, I’m getting close to them.” And practice. Never enough practice.
Taylor: It’s interesting how many of the contestants are not performers. We have the advantage — even though we have not spent much time inside of Styrofoam dolls, we have spent a lot of time performing, and being on stage and to express and connect. So those experiences and that skill really came through, because we know how to walk a stage, how to try and reach out to an audience, even through the costume. If you hadn’t had that experience, as a football player, or actor, or somebody else that hadn’t necessarily spent so much time as a [musical] performer, I think that would be a disadvantage.
We certainly knew what it meant to go out there and try and make a connection with an audience, and it allows you to stretch those muscles. We learned very early on that we threw out the dancing as quickly as possible. But we [also] did learn early on how to cross our legs a couple of times and turn at the same time as a group. So we used all the skills we know.