It’s Official: The Masked Singer’s Crocodile Is A Backstreet Boy

Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Update: This story was originally published Nov. 18, 2020.
Every season of The Masked Singer has one contestant who can dazzle the audience and panel with their voice and dance moves. So far, only one contestant who incorporated choreography has won the show: Wayne Brady in season 2 as Fox. This season’s version of Fox is Crocodile, who switched up his performances each week from rock anthems to pop songs to emotional ballads. 
Crocodile also threw his voice during songs, which led to some wild guesses from the panel. Jenny McCarthy speculated her own husband, New Kids On The Block’s Donnie Wahlberg, could be in the flashy pink costume. While she was on the right track, it turns out she was focused on the wrong boy band. The Crocodile was revealed to be Nick Carter, of the Backstreet Boys, on the Dec. 16 finale.
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Let’s look at the top contenders — all from other boy bands — who could potentially be lighting up the stage as Crocodile. 

Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter

After Crocodile’s fourth performance of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing,” his identity was all but confirmed to be Carter. Crocodile’s safe clue was directed toward guest panelist Craig Robinson. He called Robinson one of his favorite actors and added “It’s so cool to be able to share the screen with you again.” Robinson deciphered the clue and realized Crocodile has to be a Backstreet Boy because he sang with the group in his movie This Is the End
Other panelists suggested fellow Backstreet Boys members like AJ McLean could also be behind the mask. But McLean was on this season of Dancing With the Stars, so it is impossible for him to also appear on this show. It is pretty apparent that Carter is the Backstreet Boy they are looking for. 
But before this major reveal, we learned Crocodile is full of charisma and knows how to work a crowd. The way he moves and plays to the camera suggests he has been on much bigger stages in his career. As a member of Backstreet Boys, one of the biggest boy bands in the world, Nick Carter has the experience and stage presence to be Crocodile.
The first clue package introduced Crocodile as someone who grew up in Hollywood. He said he was “surrounded by heartache and instability.” There was also a shot of a hotel against a background that resembled Las Vegas. Crocodile’s backstory aligns with what Carter has shared about his upbringing. He joined the Backstreet Boys at age 13, making him the youngest member. His instability could refer to his drug and alcohol struggles starting from a young age, which he spoke about in an interview on The Ellen Degeneres Show. The Las Vegas backdrop connects to his time in the band as well. The group headlined a residency in Las Vegas in 2016. 
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Some standout clues for the second package were the number five and the childhood clue of a piñata filled with baby dolphins, and this new blast of Crocodile details focused on his family life growing up. So, the number five clue could refer to the five children in Carter’s family: himself, Aaron Carter, Leslie Carter, Angel Carter, and Bobbie Jean Carter. The dolphin clue was much more telling because it was so specific. In 2001, Carter was announced as a United Nations Special Ambassador during the "Year of the Dolphin". He worked with the organization to raise awareness about threat of extinction for dolphins in the wild. 
For Crocodile’s third set of clues, his friend and “interviewer to the stars” stepped in to reveal the most telling clues thus far. While Crocodile’s buddy spoke, a red boat was on display in the background as well as a house of cards. Carter has his own power boat racing team and actually won a national championship. The house of cards could be a play on words that links to Carter’s E! reality series with his siblings, which was called House of Carters. 
Lastly, the interviewer also said that Crocodile has traveled six continents in only 100 hours. To promote their Millenium album in 2000, the Backstreet Boys traveled 26,000 miles across six continents in 100 hours. 
Earlier this year, Carter shared that he was supposed to be on the show last season as Turtle. He was already on The Masked Singer’s radar and too many clues perfectly fit his background that it is almost impossible for Carter to not be Crocodile. 
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Crocodile’s guest for this round was Bee, who was revealed to be Gladys Knight. She delivered a special clue that said Crocodile appeared in a cult classic movie. The popular film is This Is the End — the same flick Robinson referenced.
During his super six clue package, Crocodile announced for the first time that he has two children. He said he drives eight hours to see them after every show. Carter has a son and daughter named Odin and Saoirse. He lives in Nevada and posted a video from his home during quarantine. A trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas by car is about four hours. There and back would total eight hours Carter travels in between tapings to spend time with his children. 
Earlier this year, Carter shared that he was supposed to be on the show last season as Turtle. He was already on The Masked Singer’s radar and too many clues perfectly fit his background that it is almost impossible for Carter to not be Crocodile. 

The Crocodile Definitely Isn’t Jordan Knight Or Nick Lachey 

After his third performance, the panel thought New Kids On The Block member Jordan Knight was wearing Crocodile’s bright boa. Thicke initially considered fellow NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg’s because the first clue package included lines like “wicked smart,” which are typically associated with Boston or New England vernacular. NKOTB was formed in Boston and Knight was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Plus, in 2015 the Boston City Council announced that February 7 would be known as “Jordan Night Day.”
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McCarthy and Robin Thicke considered Wahlberg for Crocodile after his first performance. They have not mentioned him since, but it is possible they were close with this guess. It's possible that fellow New Kids On The Block member Jordan Knight is wearing Crocodile’s bright boa.
The reason Thicke considered Wahlberg’s name was because the first clue package included lines like “wicked smart,” which are typically associated with Boston or New England vernacular. NKOTB was formed in Boston and Knight was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Plus, in 2015 the Boston City Council announced that February 7 would be known as “Jordan Night Day.”  
Another significant clue from the first set was Crocodile referring to himself as a “warm, sensitive creature who just wants to be loved back.” Knight has written songs like “Never Alone” from his third album Unfinished that address bullying. 
A major clue from the second clue package was Crocodile saying his love for performing has been “revived” and he has not felt this passionately since he was a kid. This is another hint that Crocodile started singing and performing at a young age. Knight was almost 14 years old when NKOTB formed in 1984. Plus, the number five clue from the clue package could point to the five members of NKOTB. 
During the third clue package, the camera zoomed in on multiple items, including a globe. This could be evidence that the musician is a global artist. NKOTB has sold 80 million records worldwide and Knight sold 1.5 million albums as a solo artist. Additionally, Crocodile’s BFF said that they battled with each other “step by step” when playing video games. “Step by Step" is one of NKOTB’s biggest hits. 
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While these clues are substantial, there are a few that do not apply to Knight’s career which make this theory implausible. Two of Crocodile’s clues said he appeared in a film. Knight has only acted in one movie called Different Drummers. Robinson is not in this flick and the actor has not shared the stage with NKOTB before. 
This season, The Masked Singer panel has featured contestants and guest panelists that overlap with Ken Jeong’s other Fox show I Can See Your Voice. And guess who recently popped up on Jeong's other series? None other than 98 Degrees lead singer Nick Lachey, which could be a sign that he is Crocodile. Jeong also theorized that Lachey could be Croc after his super six performance. There is some evidence that makes Jeong’s reasoning logical. 
Crocodile mentioned Hollywood and being “surrounded by heartache.” Although Lachey and the other members of 98 Degrees are all from Ohio, the band was formed in Los Angeles, California which is where Hollywood is. Lachey is also part owner of a team in the American Basketball Association called Hollywood Fame. The “heartache” clue could connect to Lachey’s song “What’s Left Of Me” about his feelings after a breakup. It is his most well-known solo single. 
Two important clues highlighted in Crocodile’s second clue package were a disco ball and the American flag. Lachey competed for the mirror ball trophy, which looks like a disco ball, alongside his wife on season 25 of Dancing With the Stars. Lachey has dabbled in acting and hosting since 98 degrees disbanded. He has been a part of multiple shows that have ties to the American flag like the drama American Dreams. He then hosted a reality show in 2012 called Stars Earn Stripes and recently took to the stage for Miss USA 2019 to present and perform. 
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However, the Lachey theory is not as believable given the recent set of clues. Lachey has more acting experience compared to Knight, but he has not starred alongside Robinson or performed with him. This strongest evidence that Lachey cannot be Crocodile comes from the super six clue package. Crocodile called his kids “crocklings” and two baby crocodiles were shown. Lachey has three children and I highly doubt the show would only highlight two of them.
With Knight and Lachey crossed off the list, all signs point to Carter being the boyband member showing off his moves and vocals on The Masked Singer. 

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