But if hiding the gig during filming was easy, it was another story while the show was airing and Mahalia’s recognisable voice flooded through her family home.
“My husband and my eldest daughter (Ruby) knew the second they saw me perform a first note. They were looking at me like, ‘Really, you’re going to try and tell us that’s not you?’ My littlest one, (Rosetta), who’s five, she also recognised my voice and kept saying throughout the episodes, ‘That Pavlova sounds like my mum’, but she was a bit confused because obviously she said ‘My mum’s here’.”
Even the performer’s friends were adamant that Mahalia was lurking under the Pavlova mask, with the performer revealing that she received many inquisitive messages from her closest pals.
“I find it very hard to hide the way that I sound, I think it is pretty clear that it’s me when you know. So a lot of musicians and a lot of dear friends and family all messaged me straight away – some even when they heard the first ad like ‘That’s definitely you, I don’t care what you say’.”
As for how she responded to these questions, Mahalia had a few tactics up her sleeve.
“I just would laugh or I didn’t respond to some. I got pretty good at ghosting people, to be honest. I just kept saying ‘Wow, that’s hilarious, what a crazy show’.”
According to Mahalia, her reveal garnered a lot of “positive feedback” from her nearest and dearest. But none were perhaps more excited than her youngest child, Rosetta.
“She loved it when I was revealed, she said, ‘I knew it was you'. She was laughing.”
Now that Mahalia has left the stage and is watching all the clues, the musician confesses that she has “her suspicions” as to who is still in the competition as she thinks she “recognise(s) a couple of those voices”.
But all throughout her Masked singer journey, the performer was left in the dark. Even though she performed alongside three of the characters last night (Dolly, Mullet and Vampire), each of the celeb’s respective identities remains a mystery to each other, and to most people working on the show for that matter.
“I don’t think anyone on set really knows who you are except for the people dressing you and the producers behind the scenes. Most of the people working on the show don’t know. I was in costume any time I was in any sort of visible areas or public areas,” Mahalia explains to New Idea.
She continues: “We didn’t get to see anybody else until we walked out on stage and there they were. In the whirlwind of everything happening and you’re trying to learn your bit, work out what you’re doing, you don’t really get much of a chance to try and figure anything out. So I had no idea who anyone was.”
The same goes for host Osher Günsberg. Though, Mahalia thinks he might have a bit of an edge when it comes to guessing.
“I think he probably makes some good informed guesses for himself. It sounds like he seems to recognise a lot of people. He has a different connection than the judges do because they’re quite far away, he’s right there so maybe he picks up on some things. Someone even said to me, ‘He recognises people’s perfumes’ and things like that.”
Her Masked Singer experience may have come to an end, but the good news is that her dad Jimmy has spent this time learning to make pavlovas (completely by coincidence) so the sweet treat will live on in the Barnes household. The Aussie rocker even sent a pav his daughter’s way for a very special reason.
“While we were filming it was actually my birthday and he dropped over a pavlova. He like dropped it out the front of our house because we were in lockdown, and it was a pavlova there at my doorstep.”