The UK’s edition of The Masked Singer – a show in which celebrities don ridiculous costumes while performing to a panel of judges who try to guess their real identities – appears to be where one of rock’s most esteemed guitarists is getting his kicks these days.
Jacket Potato, a character on the show who, you guessed it, resembles an anthropomorphic spud, has been the subject of considerable speculation since the start of season 4 earlier this year, when he made his debut with a cover of Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas.
At the time, fans were convinced the mystery performer was faking his American accent, leading them to believe he was a British celebrity.
But in recent weeks, keen-eyed viewers and DIY detectives have zeroed in on the theory that Jacket Potato is, in fact, former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
And the theory has been all but confirmed, according to some fans, after the performing vegetable delivered a stellar rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way, complete with a ripping guitar solo on a gold Fender Telecaster, in the latest episode of the show.
In addition to their performances, each Masked Singer character also offers clue packages to help the judges and viewers hone in on the true nature of their identities.
In further justification of the Richie Sambora theory, fans have pointed to various clues from these packages, including when he tried turning on the tap to a slip ‘n’ slide during a performance – a reference to Bon Jovi’s 1986 album Slippery When Wet.
Another came when he offered a riddle: “Hey it's me Jack, Jacket Potato. I've got quite the collection, so big you'll say ‘Woah,’” possibly a reference both to his guitar collection and the classic chorus line of Bon Jovi’s mega hit, Livin’ on a Prayer.
A third clue came when a sign pointed to a potato marked ‘number 50’ – another potential reference to Livin’ on a Prayer: “We’re halfway there”.
And lastly, Jacket Potato’s recent performance of Go Your Own Way could be a reference to Sambora’s departure from Bon Jovi in 2013.
Jacket Potato’s true identity hasn’t yet been revealed, but we can certainly get onboard with the Sambora theory – all the clues do seem to make sense.
Back in 2021, Richie Sambora said that his role in Bon Jovi before his exit was to “shut the fuck up”.
“That was part of my deal: to shut the fuck up,” he said in a conversation with Nile Rodgers. “If I had a coffee place, the sign would say, ‘Have a hot steaming cup of shut the fuck up.’ That would be my coffee place. And you know what? Guess what? I did it. And it worked out because that's what he needed, for whatever reason.”