M People star Heather Small feared she would be mistaken for a footballer after disguising her distinctive voice while performing on The Masked Singer.
The singer, known for 90s hits including Moving On Up and Search For The Hero, was the first celebrity crooner eliminated from the new series of the surreal ITV guessing show, in which stars perform disguised in elaborate costumes.
The 56-year-old confused the panel of presenter Davina McCall, singer Rita Ora, broadcaster Jonathan Ross and comedian Mo Gilligan by adopting a higher and more nasal register while on stage dressed as Chandelier.
However, she admitted she had worried she would embarrass herself.
Following her exit, she said: “I wanted to see if I could, after 30 years of singing, disguise my voice, put on a different persona.
“And I had that shock of a reveal.
“So for me, that’s why I did it.
“We all do things for our own reasons and part of my reasoning was that I wanted to see.
“But at the same time, I wanted to (hide) my voice but not make it look like I had robbed a living for 30 years.
“I still wanted people to think I was a singer.
“For me, it was a different criteria.
“I didn’t make it to the end but I still feel like I won because the panel’s reaction was priceless.
“Some of the guesses, I was chuckling away.
“It’s a good job I didn’t have a mic on because I wasn’t chuckling as Chandelier, I was chuckling as Heather.”
Small admitted she did have “a little think” about accepting the offer to appear on the show.
She added: “I don’t see it as a singing show.
“I see it as a guessing game.
“So for me it was that I didn’t want people to think, ‘Oh my good grief – that Chandelier is terrible.
“Obviously that Chandelier is a footballer’.
“I wanted people to think I was a singer.
“So that was the thing, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ll do in my reputation in an hour’s show’.
“You think about these things.
“But then I thought, ‘I can do it’.”
Comedian Joel Dommett is back as host of the show, described by ITV as “television’s most bizarre guessing game”.
The Masked Singer, which is on ITV and ITV Hub, continues on Saturdays at 7pm.