Michael Becker / FOX
Tom Sandoval isn’t the No. 1 guy in the group on Vanderpump Rules — or on The Masked Singer.
Sandoval, 41, was unmasked as the Diver during the Wednesday, October 4, episode of the Fox competition series. “This was so much fun. Being able to come out here and perform behind a mask not being judged and just being judged on my performance it was really nice,” he said after revealing his identity. “I knew I was getting guessed right away.”
Prior to his unmasking, Sandoval dropped various clues about his identity — including being “hated” by the public.
“Making my debut as the Diver last week was so rewarding. It felt great to get all the love from the panel and audience, something you know, I haven’t gotten much of lately,” he said in his Wednesday promo package. “As a kid, I always wanted to be famous. I modeled, acted and, of course, sang. I was always waiting to become a household name — I just didn’t think it would be from everyone hating me.”
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Sandoval noted that he was ready to “show the world I’m more than my mistakes” adding that participating in The Masked Singer has been a “healing experience.”
“Getting to share my talent instead of my drama is exactly what I’ve needed,” he shared.
Some of the judges thought Pete Davidson or DJ Pauly D was under the costume, particularly after the Diver revealed his affection for “the club.” Ken Jeong, however, had Sandoval marked from the start.
“The Diver is Tom Sandoval and I’ll tell you why. Clubs, restaurants, bars. Tom Sandoval owns two clubs. High heels, pumps as in Vandeprump Rules. There you go!” he exclaimed. Jenny McCarthy agreed. “There was a pump in the package, he is a performer, I think this could be Tom Sandoval,” she said.
Fans also suspected Sandoval was behind the Diver mask from the very beginning. “Usually, I’m pretty pumped, but lately, I’ve been lost in the abyss,” he said during the season premiere. “I might be the most hated creature in the ocean right now.”
Super sleuths — and Us Weekly — immediately suspected that “pumped” was a reference to Pump Rules, while “the most hated creature” seemed like an obvious reference to Sandoval’s controversial affair with costar Raquel Leviss. Us confirmed in March that Sandoval and longtime girlfriend Ariana Madix called it quits after nine years together following Sandoval’s secret romance with Leviss, 29.
Diver’s clue packages heavily implied that he’d been involved in some sort of scandal, with references to him having made mistakes in the past. “It hurts when I get judged by people who’ve never even met me, and I become a scapegoat for every bad dude they’ve ever known,” he said during the season premiere. “Getting to share my voice without the preconceived notion of who I am is really what I need right now.”
A few visual clues also hinted at Sandoval, including a compass pointing to the letters “MW” — perhaps as reference to his hometown of St. Louis, which is in the Midwest. Another clue displayed the phrase “11 million eyes on Diver” written across a magazine cover. Season 10 of Pump Rules, meanwhile, reached an average of 11 million viewers per episode.
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“The more people talk about my business, the more I want them out of it,” Diver said at one point. While this could have been a reference to his personal life, it could also have been a nod to his stakes in the restaurants TomTom and Schwartz & Sandy’s.
After news of his affair with Leviss made headlines, Sandoval asked the public to stop leaving negative online reviews of his businesses. “Schwartz & Sandy’s might have my name on it, but also there are 3 other partners and 20 employees, who especially rely on the restaurant for income for them and their families,” he wrote via Instagram in March. “Just like TomTom, I’m a small part of a much bigger thing. Please direct ur anger towards me and not them.”
The Masked Singer airs on Fox Wednesdays at 8 p.m.