Zac Brown Cries Over Firing Crew Due to Coronavirus, Calls Out ‘Leadership’

With zero money coming in, the cash tanks drying up and no gigs for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zac Brown has been forced to make the heartwrenching move to let go of his crew.

Brown told of his tough decision in a personal video, shared from his Instagram account.

“It was a hard day today. For the last 15 years my crew who I carry with me out on the road to play my shows and do what we do, I’ve had to let go of about 90 percent,” says Brown, holding back tears.

Describing his entourage as “my family,” he praises them as “the people I travel with and do my business with and the people I high-five on the way out to the stage and the people who have done all their jobs, and done them well.”

But with the global health crisis reshaping everyone’s day-to-day life, and taking a particularly heavy toll on the live music industry, Brown made the call. “I can’t generate out there and I can’t tour,” he explained.

The decision was taken just days after Zac Brown Band postponed the spring 2020 leg of their The Owl tour “This was an extremely difficult decision, but the well-being of our fans is always our top priority,” they wrote in a post last week.

In the latest message, Brown warns his fellow Americans to take action. “The longer that America doesn’t take this seriously and doesn’t stay in and try to contain this, the longer that everyone will be without jobs. The longer will be pushing into this recession that we’re all about to enter into.”

The outbreak is “just starting to rear its head, you need to wake up, stay indoors and try to socially distance itself,” he insists.

Brown also calls out “leadership” and calls on his compatriots to do their bit to limit the effects of the health emergency.

“We’re late to the game. I’m pretty ashamed of the way that our leadership has handled all of this,” he continues. “I’m pretty ashamed of a lot of things. We can’t rely on our government to tell people what they need to do…we’re less protected than a lot of those countries (with mass infections).”

America “can heal from this,” he insists, but the hard work lies ahead. “If we’re going to get back to doing whatever we were doing before this hit, everyone’s got to take this seriously.”

Coronavirus

Official HIGE DANdism’s ‘I LOVE…’ Logs 3 Weeks Atop Japan Hot 100

Official HIGE DANdism’s “I LOVE…” returns to No. 1 on this week’s Billboard Japan Hot 100, dated March 9 to 15, scoring its third week at the top spot by dominating four metrics of the chart’s measurement: streaming, downloads, video views, and look-ups.

Figure-wise, the pop-rock band’s mid-tempo love song reached 8,859,135 streams this week from last week’s 7,940,200, breaking its own personal record set by “Pretender,” which is at No. 2 this week. Downloads also increased to 40,620 units from last week’s 38,525, and video views sailed past the 10 million mark at 10,220,539 views from last week’s 8,584,300, again, breaking its own previous record.

“I LOVE…” also comes in at No. 8 for karaoke, No. 11 for physical sales, No. 12 for radio airplay, and No. 55 for Twitter mentions.

Looking at the numbers for the 10 weeks “I LOVE…” has been charting on the Japan Hot 100, the song has been performing better than “Pretender” (48 weeks on the tally) in all metrics. In order to overtake the latter – which has coasted along in the top 5 for 43 of those 48 weeks, seven at No. 1 — in the 2020 mid-year and year-end charts, the former needs to maintain its current level of performance, but right now it certainly looks like it could manage to do so.

The breakout four-man piano band currently has eight songs still charting on the Japan Hot 100, with four in the top 10. All of these songs climbed the tally this week and show no signs of slowing down for awhile.

The Billboard Japan Hot 100 combines physical and digital sales, radio airplay, Twitter mentions, YouTube and GYAO! video views, Gracenote look-ups, audio streams from Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, AWA, Google Play Music, KKBOX, LINE MUSIC, Rakuten Music, RecMusic provided by Gfk Japan, dHits, Uta Pass and Spotify, plus karaoke data from Daiichikosho and XING.

Billboard Japan Hot 100 Top 10 (dated March 9 to 15)
1. [2] I LOVE… / Official HIGE DANdism (5,357 copies / 40,620 downloads / 8,859,135 streams)
2. [4] Pretender / Official HIGE DANdism (none / 14,566 downloads / 6,092,044 streams)
3. [5] Gurenge / LiSA (2,667 copies / 20,395 downloads / 4,830,359 streams)
4. [6] Hakujitsu / King Gnu (none / 10,904 downloads / 5,730,542 streams)
5. [85] Brava!! Brava!! Brava!! / Jae Joong (51,403 copies / 3,198 downloads / none)
6. [1] INFINITY / JO1 (27,037 copies / none / none)
7. [9] Shukumei / Official HIGE DANdism (none / 5,532 downloads / 3,837,670 streams)
8. [10] Yesterday / Official HIGE DANdism (none / 3,915 downloads / 3,728,437 streams)
9. [12] Machigaisagashi / Masaki Suda (none / 5,560 downloads / 2,747,868 streams)
10. [15] bad guy / Billie Eilish (none / 4,359 downloads / 2,569,815 streams)

[ ]: Position last week
( ): Physical sales / downloads / streams (Top 50 only)

Rosie O’Donnell’s One-Night-Only Coronavirus Fundraiser to Feature Idina Menzel, Barry Manilow & More

The Rosie O’Donnell Show is coming back — for one night only.

O’Donnell will be hosting the special event, which will air live on Broadway.com on March 22. The night aims to raise money for The Actors Fund amid the coronavirus crisis, which has led to Broadway cancelations through mid-April.

The host’s daytime talk show aired for six seasons from 1996 to 2002.

According to People, who first announced the news, the star-studded evening will feature a number of performances and appearances from entertainers at home, including Idina Menzel, Barry Manilow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Darren Criss, Gloria Estefan, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ben Platt, Jordin Sparks, Billy Porter Morgan Freeman, Neil Patrick Harris and many more.

The one-night Rosie O’Donnell show will air live on Sunday, March 22 at 7 p.m. EST on Broadway.com and its YouTube channel. To make a donation, click here.

 


Watch BABYMETAL’s Trailer for L.A. Forum Concert Blu-ray & DVD

BABYMETAL is set to drop a live Blu-ray and DVD of its headlining concert at the Forum in Los Angeles, and shared a trailer highlighting scenes from the sold-out show.

The concert took place on Oct. 11 last year, the day the group’s third album, METAL GALAXY, went on sale worldwide. The J-pop metal idols performed a string of hits centering on tracks from the latest set for their first-ever arena show in North America, “traveling the metal galaxy” with the crowd at the iconic venue.

The trailer includes bits of behind-the-scenes footage as Su-metal and Moametal walk resolutely down the hall toward the stage before their big show, as the packed crowd chants to a driving metal rendition of the Japanese folk song “Sakura Sakura.”

The LIVE AT THE FORUM Blu-ray and DVD goes on sale May 13. Watch the trailer below:

Diplo on Why ‘Heartless’ Is ‘Threatening’ to Country Radio & Saying No to Shakira

Diplo wears many hats, and lately, he’s been sporting an array of cowboy hats. The genre-hopping superstar producer and DJ is prepping for the release of his “country-fusion” album Thomas Wesley, due April 3. The set includes the top 20 Hot Country Songs hit “Heartless,” featuring Morgan Wallen, along with a collaboration with Thomas Rhett and Young Thug titled “Dance With Me.”

While Diplo has found success with pop, dance, hip-hop and dancehall tunes, breaking down the doors to the country world wasn’t without its challenges. Though the country-pop tune “Heartless” — which sports an electronic 808 drum machine beat — reached No. 15 on Hot Country Songs (thanks to streaming activity and sales), country radio stations have mostly ignored the cut since its release in August. It’s so far yet to break onto the 60-position Country Airplay chart.

“We don’t get any country radio play” with “Heartless,” Diplo tells the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen to the interview, below). Even though other pop-leaning country tunes have run up the Country Airplay chart (such as Rhett’s No. 1 hit “Look What God Gave Her”), “Heartless” just didn’t click with radio, aside from a handful of adventurous stations.

“I mean, the 808s are threatening to [country radio programmers],” Diplo says.

“You know what? The song’s getting listened to,” he says. “It’s the most streamed record for Morgan, one of the most streamed country records right now, and it’s on [SiriusXM’s] The Highway, who gives us a lot of support, so that matters a lot.” Through March 12, “Heartless” racked up more than 75 million on-demand streams in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Meanwhile, The Highway has played the track more than 800 times.

“I don’t need to go through the gatekeepers,” Diplo says, “I never did in my career. I never waited for someone [to say] ‘That’s OK to do dancehall?’ Or whatever it is. I just did it. And I find the fans. And I think that’s what’s great about music these days, because you don’t need to unlock the gate to get into the scene anymore. You kind of work outside of it.”

Below are some highlights of our interview with Diplo, which took place back on Feb. 12, at his cover photo shoot for Billboard magazine (read his full cover story here). In our chat, we get updates on the next Major Lazer and Silk City projects, how he’s up for collaborating with both Enya and Barbra Streisand, if he has any unreleased collaborations with Madonna in the vault, he clears up Internet rumblings of him working on the next Lady Gaga album, and why fans should tweet him photos from Shawn Mendes’ Calvin Klein underwear campaign.

You’ve got a lot going on right now. There’s at least two album projects that you have cooking…

There’s always more on the back burners, but on the front burners … coming up really soon, not a concrete release date on the Major Lazer album but in the next two months, it’ll be done, finished and released. … [Due out April 3 is] Thomas Wesley, my side project, which is sort of this country-fusion record. … It’s cool to work in country because I’m so used to working with hip-hop artists and dance music, which is quick. Quick up and down [the charts]. But country records, if they’re really well-written, they go for like a year. They climb charts for a year, which is awesome to be part of that. And you don’t get sick of the songs. A lot of times in dance music, we jump on trends, and we have to kind of be quick. And sometimes the songs aren’t as great, you know? So it’s hard to find classics in dance. But with country, in songwriting, folk music in general, I think it’s great to have a good song record. … The next single [from the Thomas Wesley project] is with Thomas Rhett and Young Thug… it’s called “Dance With Me.”

You sort of dabble in every genre of music under the sun. We’re waiting for the Enya collaboration.

I would love that. I’m really into, like, Irish baroque songwriting too, so I feel like she’s the one. I actually love her albums. I search her albums a lot for samples. She had that huge Fugees sample [the group’s “Ready or Not” sampled Enya’s 1987 song “Boadicea”], but she also had the other record, “Caribbean Blue,” which was sampled a lot in other records. It’s another awesome one. But I mean, she just has melodies that are amazing.

You’ve collaborated with Madonna on her last two albums: You had a track on Madame X, called “Future,” with Quavo, and you had a number of tracks on her previous album, Rebel Heart. What is collaborating with her like? Is it you bringing in music and cool sounds, and she comes in with the lyrics, and it’s inspired by [the music]? Or is it more like, “Let’s get in the studio together and sort of hash out something”?

We start everything from scratch for her. So with Rebel Heart, it was like studio sessions [for] two weeks. Which for me, is not very common, because I usually have like one day here for a session, one day there, I write a record, and maybe I come back to them. But I don’t sit for whole projects, which is what a producer does… But for me, time doesn’t allow that. And I’ve always been working in a format that’s been singles-based, whether it’s hip-hop or dance music. But with her, I had to do it. She didn’t take any bullsh–. Like, we were gonna do full 16-hour days, and like work, work, work, work. And I was like, “Uhhh…” But that’s how you make records. And you do ‘em quick. And you make ‘em and you have a vibe…

I was sort of like the DJ in that album and gave her the modern sound. Before me it was like Jellybean Benitez or Paul Oakenfold … She always knew … what was happening with dance music. Or when she did Ray of Light, it was like drum n bass, [one of the album’s producers] William Orbit. She always had her pulse on it. So for her to pick me to work with her, it was like a huge amount of respect to me. I was like, “Wow, she’s put me with these other great producers of the time.”

Are there tracks that you did together that are lingering in a Madonna vault?

There’s some from Rebel Heart. There’s like some random ones. But they weren’t even close to being finished. They might have been like scratches [early, preliminary recordings] to start off with. You know, she’s very, very dominant in the studio, and she knows what she wants, and she has a strong opinion, and she also knows her brand. And her brand’s always changed. And it’s crazy that she not only knows it, but she knows what the future is going to be like… She’s one of the most, I think, strongest artists, male or female, I’ve ever worked with, that just has a definition to what she does.

You and Mark Ronson teamed up [as Silk City] with Dua Lipa for “Electricity,” the Grammy-winning project. Did you happen to work at all on her new album Future Nostalgia? Or have you gotten with her for any of your upcoming things?

We actually did some writing demos for that album. But we have something new that might be another Silk City record. We’re playing with that. It’s really about her project, so I think that’s going to come out first, and then see what hits. But I love collaborating with her. The first record I did with her was with Major Lazer. It was called “My Love,” with WizKid, which was way ahead of his time. It was a like a Dua Lipa Afrobeat pop record that honestly was like before she even had her big hit [“New Rules”]. It was right around [Drake’s] “One Dance,” so it made sense for England and London, but it was actually a huge record for us for a little while. We played it at Glastonbury with her, but …it was, like, way too early for that record. It’s still a really awesome sounding record and sounds new to me.

Speaking of Silk City, Mark has worked a lot with Lady Gaga. Is that somebody that you have ever teamed up with? Per the Internet, you’re allegedly working with Gaga and Ronson.

We’ve… I think I’ve sent… like, I’ve worked on stuff with Mark that might have gone there [to Gaga]. … She’s really cool, and I met her a long time ago back in the day… I never really went to a studio with her, but I’ve seen her around. She’s awesome. But I’ve never had a, nah, never had a chance.

Without naming names, or you can name them, you have worked with so many people — do you say no to things?

Uh, yeah. I’ve actually not really said no to many people. It’s all about time. Like, I said no once — it was a time issue — to Shakira, because I couldn’t work on the [She Wolf] album… I gave the job to John Hill, because we were working together. I was hoping that I’d come back in the studio with them and finish stuff, but he just like… went to Colombia for like two months and they recorded in Lebanon, and I was like, “Hey, guys, I’m still here!” … I couldn’t make her sessions, so… That was like the one, probably, bummer.

I’m looking forward to the Barbra Streisand collabo.

I’m ready. She’s not following me on Instagram, so, that’s a big… I check.

You follow her though?

Of course, yeah.

Among your many endeavors and side projects, you also did a Calvin Klein underwear ad last year. We wanted to know: Who had the best underwear campaign? Calvin Harris, yours, or Shawn Mendes’?

I thought you were gonna say Calvin Harris or Calvin Klein, which one’s the better Calvin? I didn’t see Shawn Mendes’ ad

How did you miss it? It set Twitter on fire.

But Calvin Harris did Armani. So, I’ve known Calvin for a long time, and his body transformation was very strong for that Armani [campaign].

You saw it before your very eyes!

I know him, I saw it. We go to the same gym. So I’m not even lying. And I didn’t see Shawn Mendes’ [campaign], and I love mine. So I’m going to go ahead and say mine.

Obviously. I mean, that’s the right answer.

[Laughs] But I didn’t see Shawn Mendes’. But I love me, and I’m just gonna have to still go ahead and vote for myself.

Now we’re gonna make it so people are just tweeting you pictures of Shawn Mendes in his underwear, so sorry about that.

I would love that, ’cause I know him. I can actually text him and be like, “Hey, I missed your ad, can you send me some snippets?”

Also on the Pop Shop Podcast, in addition to the interview with Diplo, the Pop Shop team discusses big charts news from Lil Uzi Vert, Dua Lipa and Drake, along with an update on how the coronavirus continues to disrupt the music business.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard’s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard’s senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)


Amazon Stops New CD & Vinyl Shipments as It Prioritizes Products for Coronavirus

Amazon’s announcement Tuesday that it would only allow essential household products necessary to withstand the coronavirus pandemic into its warehouse for the immediate future was yet another shock to a music industry worried that the industry’s momentum of four year’s growth might be stymied by the crisis.

But while it means that new physical music likely will be completely shut out from the company’s warehouse — labels are all re-evaluating their release schedules anyway — as it stands now, that period is only from now through April 5. After that date, Amazon expects to get back to business as normal, if warehouse capacity and circumstances allow it, according to industry sources.

In the meantime, Amazon is focusing its distribution pipeline on prioritizing goods that are relevant to the current COVID-19 situation.

“We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” according to a statement from an Amazon spokesperson. “With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers. We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”

Meanwhile, Amazon continues to ship all product lines, including music, from inventory already in its warehouses. And while Tuesday’s announcement cut off vendors from sending in new orders or getting packaging labels for product shipments, music product already approved for delivery to the warehouses and with the necessary documents that is already in transit will still be received at Amazon’s warehouses, processed and fulfilled, industry executives say Amazon is telling them.

Moreover, sellers in the Amazon marketplace likely will still be carrying whatever new titles come out during the period that haven’t been approved for delivery to Amazon’s warehouse; or whatever music product is sold out at Amazon. Also, for music product up in the store, Amazon will allow vendors to do their own fulfillment, via the Amazon marketplace, if that stock is not available in the Amazon warehouse during the down period. All together, this likely means customers will still be able to shop Amazon and get their physical music needs fulfilled.


The Swan Sings Her Swan Song, Calls ‘Masked Singer’ the ‘Perfect Thing to Bring Light & Joy Right Now’

[Spoiler alert: This story contains the identity of the eliminated contestant on Wednesday night’s (March 18) The Masked Singer.]

The Masked Singer is exactly what the world needs now. It’s precisely the kind of goofy, mindless entertainment that can ease minds as America, and the world, huddle up in their homes around screens in search of distraction from the endless string of coronavirus updates. Forget about the pandemic for an hour or two and watch a former child star and singer/actress/dancer/professional provocateur swoon around in a Swan costume singing hits by Peggy Lee (“Fever”) and Joan Jett (“I Hate Myself for Loving You”).

Besides, after last week’s jaw-dropper — in which former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin “rapped” her way through “Baby’s Got Back” — what shock could possibly be left? A big one, as it turns out. The star with the low-register voice was not, as the judges guessed, Sarah Michell Gellar, Mila Kunis, Kristen Stewart or, as always-off Ken Jeong guessed, someone he’s worked with like Kristen Bell (or Sandra Bullock).

Nope, it was none other than Assassination Nation star Bella Thorne, 22, who, by the way, is planning to release two albums this year. Billboard spoke to Thorne before her elimination about why her voice is the one you need to hear right now, why Masked Singer is the perfect show for our social-distancing times and why she dedicated her Joan Jett performance to Jeong, who is always wrong.

You’ve done plenty of wacky things in your career, but is it safe to say this is right up there?

Yes. Most… definitely.

Why this show? What appealed to you about it?

I think, one, I’m really scared to sing in front of people. It’s definitely super scary to me and my album is no Auto-Tune, no touch-ups here, that’s what it’s really made of, and I definitely want to be one of the first artists to put that on the platform and say, “Hey, I’m an all-natural bi—.” Just because you don’t sing like every pop star that has a perfect voice doesn’t mean you can’t sing. I wanted to introduce a new voice to pop even though none of the music on my album is really that pop. I wanted to let girls know that they don’t have to have the lightest-pitched voice that’s so girly-girly and light. They can have a deeper-set voice like mine and still sound pretty singing ballads. One of my main things was to really show people… I don’t think anyone is gonna believe me when they hear my album and they hear that it’s no Auto-Tune, no any of this. Hopefully they really do believe me because it’s like, “Guys, c’mon there’s a bunch of sh– on there that’s really not perfect, where my notes are… I’m a little sharp, or I’m a little flat or not hitting it or things like that that were maybe not on purpose.” It’s like, “C’mon guys!” The other main reason to do it was if people hear my voice on this and hear that that’s the same exact voice on my album and they know I’m singing live, they know I don’t have a choice, then people will start to be like, “Oh, that really is Bella Thorne’s voice!”

When is your album supposed to come out?

I’ve had the worst luck with producers and getting my music… I have two albums almost ready, summer and fall. I could drop two this year and I kind of like doing that sh–. I like dropping more than what people need and overflowing your plate, so you’re like, “No way, Bella Thorne’s been working on music, she dropped two albums in one year.”

You said in the clue package you were there to “ruffle feathers.” So did you?

Yeah, definitely ruffled some feathers. It’s my persona that ruffles people’s feathers. If someone tells me I can’t do it, then I’ll do it. You tell me I’m tone-deaf, I’ll f—ing go on a show and I’ll sing. You tell me I can’t dance or I can’t read, I’ll do both. That is really my mantra to life, to really ruffle people’s feathers and do what I want even when they say, “Oh, you might not be able to because it might not be possible.” I don’t think I would be here in my life if I listened to people tell me that because they still tell me that all the f—ing time. Damn, why are you still trying to tell me like, “Oh, Bella that will take too long you shouldn’t do it!” I don’t care how long it takes. That really is my mentality, so I’m really happy that they put it in my clue package. Because when you know me, like Ken knows me and [host] Nick [Cannon] knows me, you’re like, “Oh, ruffle people’s feathers? Huh.” You know that’s totally a me thing, and I strive to ruffle people’s feathers. It’s just unfortunate that the only way to ruffle people’s feathers is that people have to think you’re crazy or outside of the box. You can’t just ruffle people’s feathers and be yourself and have everyone be like, “Oh, that’s awesome, she’s being herself.”

What was with the Alice in Wonderland, moons and rainbows clues?

I think they were hinting at my trippy house. My other house, me and my sister, we really did it up from top to bottom. Whereas we’re doing my house right now, I can see my sister gluing up vines in the other room. But we make it so if you go look at my house on Instagram… all those clues were about [how] I’m such a big glitter fiend. There’s this huge rainbow in my house, there’s a f—ing light-up dinosaur, a f—ing huge unicorn.

It must feel pretty good to outlast a former vice-presidential candidate, no?

[Laughs] Um… you can go on that show and have any voice, that’s the beauty of that show: They appreciate your voice no matter what it sounds like. But I think the show is… it’s The Masked Singer. You want to hear singers. That’s the only thing about having me on it because I’m about to become known wide as a singer. People don’t know me as that, so that makes sense. But in general it’s like, “Huh, you’re singing against a bunch of beautiful-ass singers who have trained voices and whatnot.” I almost think that I’d do better on The Masked Dancer.

Well, that perfectly segues to my super awkward next question. How do I say this without being weird? It seems like the Swan made the most of your long legs, with tons of high kicks and most of the costume up top. That led to the panel suspecting you’ve had dance training, though I read that you had never really danced before Shake It Up.

Yes, I learned how to dance on Shake It Up. I had two left feet and I was the worst dancer you had ever seen. I used to cry leaving the studio because of how embarrassing it was.

But on the show you really seemed to showcase and embrace your inner-dancer.

Thank you. I actually had learned a lot more dance routines before I went onstage. Like a lot of dance routines. Because I can do it and the choreographer was so sweet, she was like, “Oh my God, I have a dancer! This is insane, I can actually give you so much dancing!” And she gave me so much dancing and then on the day of I was like, “F— that! I’m way too scared to be f—ing out there dancing hella and worrying about my voice and I’m singing out of my eyeholes, I can’t even breathe. Uh-uh, no, bro, I’m sorry.” Literally 20 minutes before I walked onstage I was like, “I can’t do the routine… I can’t. I’ll do these parts, but I can’t do the whole f—ing thing because I’m too nervous.”

Your choice of songs was interesting and diverse, with the common thread of two strong female voices.

Yes! Exactly! Both very strong women with strong voices. I also think too much of the time our general audience tells us that the box is this high, it’s about this much wide and they just tell us [that] over and over and over. But when you listen to music, people usually ask you, “What kind of music are you into?” And you’re like, “Oh, well, I’m into this… but I like that too.” But of course everybody has to make it fit into a box. So you like indie pop, or you like rock, so that’s about it.

Did anyone in your world know it was you and try to get you to admit it?

No! No one still has guessed it’s me, which I think is pretty crazy.

The world has definitely changed dramatically since you taped the show. Everybody is on lockdown now. What do you think The Masked Singer can do for people quarantined at home to lift their spirits?

I think that the best thing… oh my God, did you see that Trump just suspended evictions? Yeah!… Amazing. Thank God!… Corona is changing the world! I think that the best thing besides obviously washing your hands, staying safe, social distancing and whatnot… it’s great to watch The Masked Singer. Because The Masked Singer is so fun and such a level of realness but also level of fairness and wonderment and imagination that you can really buy into. I think the more you watch it, the more addicting it becomes. You’re like, “Damn! I’m really f—ing watching this show right now!” And like you said, it’s really the perfect thing to bring light and joy to people right now.

The guesses were totally all over the place, but also kind of not: Nina Dobrev, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kristen Bell. But Kristen Stewart and Sandra Bullock seemed wildly off-base. What did you think of the guesses?

I really liked the Kristen Stewart guess, because I f—ing love Kristen Stewart and it makes sense because our voices are in that same octave range. So that one made sense to me. But the other ones I was like, “Huh, OK, interesting.”

What was with all the Ken Jeong flirting and pictures of him during the Joan Jett song? Was that a strategy? Why did you dedicate the performance to someone who is always, always very wrong?

Because everyone is mean to him on the show and I don’t like that! He didn’t get a valentine, nobody ever agrees with him, he makes the worst guesses and everyone always picks on him all the time. I was like, “Oh, I love Ken.” He’s the show’s pariah, so I wanted to throw Ken some love.

You are part of the Fox family now with the announcement of your development deal today. What do you hope to do as part of that?

It’s scripted and non-scripted, so for scripted I definitely want to bring them a huge teen-leaning fanbase show. Something that’s dark and psychological and on-the-nose that really captures what we’re going through right now… not corona, but what is going on with teens every day. For Fox to take a chance on me and for once for a network to give someone my age a chance to talk to people my age, that, to me, is a beautiful thing. Thank you so much, Fox. And for all the kids out there who feel like TV shows don’t really capture what they’re going through well and it doesn’t paint a great photo of what they’re going through well, that’s what I want to do. I’m looking for that show, writing up treatments and whatnot, reading books to see what would be interesting to turn into a TV show. For the non-scripted format I have a few treatments already written out and I definitely like doing things that relate to us growing up. They’re in my history,  so it feels like it would be really dope to make a fun, Masked Singer type of show that has all these crazy things behind it, but make it something related to what I’ve got to say.