It’s going to be hard — if not impossible — to top the first big reveal on Season 9 of “The Masked Singer.”

When elimination time came during the season premiere Wednesday night, the Gnome was the first character the audience voted off. Stagehands gradually removed the parts of the elaborate costume, ultimately leaving the show’s panelists and audience with what panelist Ken Jeong called “our greatest reveal ever”: Dick Van Dyke.

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Donning his Gnome costume, Van Dyke performed Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “When You’re Smiling” for his debut on “The Masked Singer.” The performance led the show’s panelists to throw out guesses that included actors Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman.

“I said, ‘Those guys don’t sing,’” Van Dyke told People. “I hoped they would say a good singer, but they didn’t.”

The panelists did eventually guess Tony Bennett, which Van Dyke said “flattered” him, per People.

When the 97-year-old actor got voted off, his reveal led to wide smiles — and in some cases, tears.

“This is the most seasoned and decorated entertainer we have had on our show,” host Nick Cannon said. “Truly a legend.”

“I love you so much,” panelist Nicole Scherzinger said through tears. “We love you so much. The whole world loves you so much. It’s an honor to have you on our show. ... I can’t believe you’re here.”

The Gnome appears on “The Masked Singer” Season 9 premiere.
The Gnome appears on “The Masked Singer” Season 9 premiere. | Michael Becker, Fox

Jeong, who starred in the sitcom “Community,” added that Van Dyke is one of the reasons he got into comedy.

Before exiting the stage, Van Dyke — known for his role as Bert the chimney sweep in “Mary Poppins” — performed a short excerpt from “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Van Dyke is the oldest contestant to appear on “The Masked Singer.” Last season, 91-year-old legendary “Star Trek” actor William Shatner appeared on the show.

“I couldn’t speak, couldn’t hear, couldn’t breathe,” Shatner told People following his reveal. “Like everybody else that I know who has done the show, the performance is a lot less than what you had hoped for because of the awkwardness of the wardrobe. But, at the same time, that’s part of the fun of the show.”

The Season 9 premiere had another unveiling — country singer Sara Evans was the Mustang, according to Parade. The person behind the Medusa costume remains a mystery and will appear with two new performers in the next episode.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays on Fox.

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What Dick Van Dyke said about ‘The Masked Singer’

Van Dyke had never seen “The Masked Singer,” but when the show reached out to him, he thought “it looked like fun.”

“I was so positive that nobody would ever guess it was me, that they would have somebody 97 years old on there,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

Following his reveal, Van Dyke said “it was real dark” in his costume and that he “couldn’t see anything.”

But he was all smiles as he looked out at the reactions of the panelists and audience. It’s a reminder that his many roles — including in “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” — continue to have a wide reach.

Dick Van Dyke appears on the Season 9 premiere of “The Masked Singer.” | Michael Becker, Fox

“Little kids will recognize me and say, ‘There’s Bert,’” Van Dyke told People. “I love that. I’m on my third generation now.”

“When I was young, I really was hoping to make a living. What happened to me was such a surprise,” he added. “The successes I’ve had, I still can’t get over it.”

Although he’s three years away from 100, Van Dyke continues to make plans for his career — he’s not planning on ending with “The Masked Singer.”

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“I would like to go back and do a play,” he told People. “I’ve got enough material together to sit down to a one-man show, which I think I may do just for fun.”

A few years ago, Van Dyke appeared at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention in Salt Lake City, dancing to his seat at a small table, where he proceeded to answer questions from his many fans. One fan asked how Van Dyke felt about his multigenerational influence.

“It’s a feeling I can’t even describe,” he said at the 2017 event, per the Deseret News. “Everything that happened at each step was not planned — I didn’t sing or dance or act or anything — and just one thing after another, it was like learning to fly. I don’t regret a minute of it. I’ve just had the best time I can have.”