Dick Van Dyke (‘The Masked Singer’ Gnome unmasked interview): ‘I just loved it that they thought I was Robert De Niro!’

Three all new celebrities in disguise hit “The Masked Singer” stage on Wednesday night’s Season 9 premiere. After crooning “When You’re Smiling” by Billie Holiday, Gnome was the first performer to be cut, revealing Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner Dick Van Dyke. The panel consisting of Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger failed to correctly guess the legend was right in front of them.

SEE Everything to know about ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 9

“It was real dark in there,” the 97-year old told host Nick Cannon during his unmasked interview. “I just loved it that they thought I was Robert De Niro! I didn’t know Robert De Niro could sing.”

“I love you so much,” Nicole gushed as tears poured from her eyes. “The whole world loves you so much. It’s an honor to have you on our show. I can’t believe you’re here! I’m trying to play it cool. You look so gorgeous!” Ken added, “You are one of the reasons I got into comedy. Our greatest reveal ever!”

Before departing, Van Dyke entertained the crowd with a bit of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from “Mary Poppins.”

Prior to Van Dyke’s reveal, the panelists submitted final guesses as to who they thought was hiding inside Gnome: Dustin Hoffman (Robin and Nicole), Robert De Niro (Ken) and Tony Bennett (Jenny).

In his clue package Gnome revealed, “Just like a wise, magical gnome, observing the forest around him, I’ve become a mainstay in your lives over the course of my storied career. Just ask the producers! I really have done it all. I’ve joked with the cleverest comedians from Robin Williams to Ben Stiller. I’ve performed with the biggest names in music from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Madonna! And my address book includes all the president’s men, from Barack to Biden. But there’s always more to do, especially when you’re working for the fun of it. Because being a true entertainer isn’t about money or awards – it’s about going to bed every night having put a smile on someone’s face and being proud of what you’ve done.” Visual clues included a butterfly, a little red bird, an umbrella, bundt cakes, a trophy with Tony Danza‘s face on it and a stethoscope.

Gnome was the first act eliminated from Season 9 of “The Masked Singer.”

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