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"You're powerless." Gretel Killeen on what it's really like to compete on The Masked Singer.

When Channel Ten approached Gretel Killeen and said “Hey, Gretel, we think you’d make a great octopus on our new show The Masked Singer Australia” the comedian, TV presenter and author… paused.

“What a crazy thing to do,” she thought.

For the former Big Brother host, the decision to say yes came from a place of bravery.

“It’s weird what you say yes to in life. A lot of our decisions are instinctive,” she told Mamamia.

Here’s Gretel’s performance as the Octopus on episode one of Masked Singer Australia. Post continues after video.

Video by Ten

If you Google Gretel’s name, ‘singer’ isn’t something you’ll spy on her Wikipedia page, but that’s not to say she hasn’t sung in front of a crowd before.

“When I was 20 I was in a band and we sung once publicly – there were two people in the audience,” she laughed.

Another brief performance in a pub a few years later, and an appearance in a cabaret show 18 months ago, pretty much sums up Gretel’s experience with the world of music, but that wasn’t going to stop her having a go.

“I went on YouTube to learn how to sing,” she said. “I found some exercises and practiced everyday.”

For Gretel, stepping out onto The Masked Singer Australia stage was completely nerve-racking and absolutely terrifying, but that’s precisely why she did it.


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Oui je suis l’octopus. Thankyou @themaskedsinger . Thankyou all. I love youse.

A post shared by Gretel Killeen (@gretelkilleen) on


Dressed in a heavy, hot octopus suit, she joined a prawn, an alien, a robot, a unicorn, and a wolf – performing in front of a live studio audience and judges Lindsay Lohan, Dannii Minogue, Jackie O and Dave Hughes.

Gretel lost the round and was the first of the season to be “unmasked.” To say the judges were shocked is a gross understatement – they were floored.

Their guesses after hearing Octopus’ sultry performance of Fame ranged from Paulini to Courtney Act to Lauren Eagle.

judges Gretel
The judges were beyond shocked when Gretel popped out from beneath the Octopus. Image: Ten.

Not only was Gretel wrangling a new skill on that studio stage, as she explained to Mamamia, "There's a secret difficulty in that show that you're not necessarily aware of - just the physical nature of it. You can't see the audience and you are so vulnerable. There's a lot to overcome".


From the moment she was picked up by security for the show, Gretel says it was game on. "It's super secret, it's like being a spy but without the power," she said.

Everyone involved had to sign documents about confidentiality and no one was allowed to talk to her.

"You're completely covered up backstage for the whole day, so I got a bit lonely in my dressing room," she admitted.

"Normally I would get strength and energy from people around me, but you can't do that with this."

Gretel Killeen ten
Gretel said she felt incredibly vulnerable and was terrified before the performance. Image: Ten.

Then came the added difficulty of having to perform without any normal way of communicating.

"No one knows who you are so you don't have your reputation or your personality... you're powerless, and then you have to be singing which is such a vulnerability," said Gretel. "For the people on the show who are non-singers, it's a super duper step for us to be doing it."

When Gretel was finally unmasked and Osher managed to splutter out, "Why did you choose to be on the Masked Singer?" Gretel's answer was everything.

"Being brave is just one of the greatest qualities you can have, be courageous, push your boundaries."

Expanding on that in her chat with Mamamia, Gretel added, "It's about celebrating (from my perspective) bravery, and not taking yourself too seriously and they're wonderful qualities in a world where people are acting like sheep and not being brave".

The other reason Gretel decided to "give it a bash" is so that she could continue to do what she loves best.


"I just got back from Kenya on Saturday night. That's the reason I do things like this [Masked Singer], because it gives me an income and the profile to then go and use my voice for other people. I was trekking [in Kenya] with YoungCare, which helps people with disabilities. That is why I do this."


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Our Ubuntu Trek with @youngcareoz took us to the Mukuro slum in Nairobi. This slum is vast, polluted and dangerous. Throughout the walk we were accompanied by a plain clothes guard wearing two concealed guns. Here we met families and young living with disabilities enduring impossible hardships. Organisations like The Ruben Centre help make education, hope and change possible. Some of our fundraising is given to the Kurt Fearnley Special Needs Unit at the Ruben Centre. I’ll post some more photos to help share this world and understanding. Thank you @youngcareoz, raising funds and global awareness for young people living with disability. Thankyou @kurtfearnleyinsta #streetphotography

A post shared by Gretel Killeen (@gretelkilleen) on

For the critics out there accusing Gretel of lip syncing on The Masked Singer stage, she wants to straighten something out.

"OMG, if I was lip synching I would have picked a better voice... it's a triumph to the audio people that they make it sound so amazing. That's us singing!" she told Mamamia.

With the secret finally out of the bag, Gretel is relieved. "It makes you realise how hard it is to keep a secret," she remarked.

Despite the terror that came with stepping outside her comfort zone, Gretel's proud of herself for just saying "stuff it" and giving it a go.

"I am glad I did it, really glad," she said.

The Masked Singer Australia continues tonight on Ten, 7:30pm.

Read More:

All the clues you may have missed in episode one of The Masked Singer Australia.