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A True Living Legend Was Just Unmasked On 'The Masked Singer'—And Had The Judges Sobbing

Judge Ken Jeong called the unmasking of The Gnome 'our greatest reveal ever.'

screenshots of The Gnome, Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger
The Masked Singer/YouTube

The judges on the reality series The Masked Singer were treated to an appearance by a true living legend this week, with judge Ken Jeong calling the unmasking of a singing gnome "our greatest reveal ever."

The reality singing competition—where celebrities sing while wearing head-to-toe costumes and face masks concealing their identities—kicked off its ninth season with an appearance by a man in a gnome costume.

The man in question performed a moving rendition of the late Frank Sinatra's version of the song "When You're Smiling."

You can hear the performance below.

But the man in the gnome costume was eliminated which meant he had to reveal himself.

The man behind the mask?

None other than the legendary actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke, best known for his Emmy-winning performances on The Dick Van Dyke Show and his roles in the stage production and screen adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie as well as the Disney musical Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The moment Van Dyke was revealed prompted judge Nicole Scherzinger—a respected musician in her own right who has spent much of her career performing in musical theater—to burst into tears.

You can watch the reveal below.

Fans loved every minute of the reveal.

They couldn't help but share their appreciation for the legendary actor who shows no signs of stopping at 97 years old.

Van Dyke later told People he was "positive" the judges wouldn't be able to guess his identity, which no doubt made his surprise appearance all the more a treat for viewers.

He also said because of the secrecy of the show, he never got to meet the crew—and would love to return to do just that.

"From the time I got out of the car, my head was covered, so I never saw anybody. I wanted to go back and meet them in person because I really never got to meet anybody."
"They led me around so I wouldn't fall down. But I was blindfolded the whole time."

Van Dyke said he ended up performing a Sinatra song at the suggestion of his wife, Arlene.

"They wanted me to do something current and I know nothing from rock. So we picked out one which typifies me. She's the one that came up with it and I liked the song, too."

In a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, the beloved star joked some people probably "thought I was dead" and his decision to appear on The Masked Singer might be "the weirdest thing I've ever done."

Van Dyke said his costume had just "two little peepholes" for him to see through and it's "a good thing" he doesn't have claustrophobia.