'RHOA's Kandi Burruss Fires Back at NeNe Leakes' 'No. 2' Diss as She Celebrates 'Masked Singer' Win
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Kandi Burruss might be "number two" in NeNe Leakes' eyes, and that's OK by her.
"Let me tell you this -- and this is just being a little petty -- being number two has never looked so good, honey," Kandi tells ET on video chat, with a laugh. "The number two is the new number one, boo!"
"You want $1 million or you want two?" she asks. "You want one show or two shows? You want number one on The Masked Singer. Well, I don’t know…"
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star is fresh off her big win on season 3 of Fox's celebrity singing competition -- the first woman to land the top spot on the show -- and eagerly anticipating how fans will react to part three of the RHOA season 12 reunion, airing Sunday on Bravo.
"I honestly did not think that it was gonna be as good as it is," she says of the reunion, all shot remotely from the cast's homes on video chat. "I was just like, how are we just gonna sit up here and argue with people on a computer? Like, that didn't make sense to me, and then I felt like a lot of people would not really face up to whatever they needed to, because they're not right there in your faces, which I was right about one thing. People could just walk away from the computer when they got, you know, under fire."
It's more person than people. NeNe Leakes exited the chat for the second time at the end of part two, after she and Kandi went head to head in an attempt to hash out their issues, which really seemed to spark after the season wrapped. The women got into a bit of a social media back and forth after NeNe seemingly shaded Kandi’s many spinoff shows on her YouTube channel. NeNe has claimed she wasn’t actually talking about Kandi, but Kandi is the only one of her RHOA co-stars with more than one series on the network. According to Kandi, they took their drama offline before the reunion.
"To be honest with you, she and I had an argument over text messages that was, like, ridiculous," Kandi says. "We were cussing each other out, reading each other on the text messages -- just me and her, nobody else was involved in this -- just she and I, and I had just stopped responding to her at a certain point, because I realized that this lady is really just gonna keep going back and forth with me on this text message, and we over here really being childish right now."
It was after this exchange that NeNe started publicly referring to Kandi as "number two," implying that NeNe herself is "number one," at least when it comes to the show.
"From that I knew that it was gonna be ugly at the reunion," Kandi adds. "I was like, if we are doing this on a text between she and I, clearly we gonna be going for blood at the reunion. And so, I just was ready for the drama, because I already knew she was gonna be doing what she does. I didn't even care. I was just, OK, whatever she want to do, I was gonna match her energy. If she came crazy, I was gonna come crazy right back. So, that's basically what happened."
Matching NeNe's energy led Kandi to deliver an instantly iconic line: "I’m embedded in your motherf**king brain, b***h!" Soon after that, NeNe asked herself what the women would do if she left and then, she did. It remains to be seen if she’ll even appear in part three.
"I want everybody to remember, she really went around and told the whole world that she was going to read us and that she was gonna let us have it, and all this stuff,” Kandi says of the walk-off. "So, please know that we were not the reason why she got up and left. The real reason why she got up and left was because Yovanna [Momplaisir] posted a post to let everybody know that she was about to come on the show. Like two minutes after Yovanna posted that, that is when NeNe got up. We weren't even talking to NeNe anymore when she got up."
"Don't let her fool y'all," she adds. "She did not want to face the things that Yovanna had to say."
Yovanna is, of course, NeNe's friend-turned-foe thanks to "snake-gate," the drama that ensued after NeNe implied Yovanna had a recording of Cynthia Bailey speaking ill of NeNe. That recording never came to light and, at one point, Yovanna even claimed to have made the whole thing up. It seems safe to say she'll share more to the story on the reunion.
As for where NeNe and the group go from here, Kandi points out that she and the RHOA OG have always reconciled before, so it could happen again.
"When I was pregnant with [my son] Ace, that's when she and I said, OK, we need to stop being that way with each other," she notes. "We made a conscious effort to do better with each other. But this year is when we reverted back to the drama. I personally didn't know where it started. I felt like it started when Kenya [Moore] and Eva [Marcille] got on TV and started telling everybody that I made more money than NeNe."
Kenya and Eva both went on The Wendy Williams Show just as season 12 started to air. In Kenya's interview, she proclaimed that Kandi was the highest-paid Atlanta Housewife after Wendy implied her friend, NeNe, was the show's top-earner.
"All of a sudden NeNe started saying little stuff, 'Oh, you need to watch Kandi…' and all this negative crazy stuff, and I was like, what is her problem?" Kandi says. "I felt like that's where it came from. It just has grown from there."
"Like I said, I'm just gonna match her energy," Kandi adds. "If she gonna come at me crazy, I'm gonna give her crazy. And you know, it didn't help that we were in quarantine because I have time now, you know? … I'm like, OK, you got the right one today."
Kandi and NeNe’s mutual friend, Tamar Braxton, -- who has been adamant that she has no interest in joining the cast of Housewives -- recently told ET she thinks she can be the one to bring her pals together.
"I hate that they're arguing. I hate that they're fighting," Tamar said. "I haven't really even spoken to Kandi or NeNe since the whole fallout happened, ‘cause i'm just so disappointed. I hate it so much, and I told NeNe before that I really got a chance to get to know Kandi in the Big Brother house and they have a lot of similarities and they should just spend some time with each other. They would probably really, really like each other. That’s what I think."
"Man, I'm not listening to what Tamar is talking about," Kandi says. "I love Tamar, but sometimes I feel like Tamar is a little biased in her thoughts. I mean, maybe because she's only really talked to NeNe about the situation and I don't really think she gets my point of view, because I don't feel the need to even go and try to explain it. For real, to be honest with you, I don't. Much love to Tamar, but I'm not even gonna go back and forth about this NeNe stuff. If NeNe and I, if we reconcile, it'll be in the next season, how 'bout that?"
Last week, NeNe told ET she's undecided about returning to the show for season 13, but added that she thinks at least two main cast members should be fired or demoted to switch things up.
"I want everybody on the show to stop telling everybody who they think should go," Kandi says in response. "Here's the thing; none of us are the decision makers on who can go and who can stay. So, I think we need to stop trying to hate on other people's jobs and throwing salt on other people on the show, because everybody is there for a reason and if they are not supposed to be there, then Bravo will decide. That's the way I look at it. And I'm just gonna leave it at that. What I will want to tell y'all is to get this new single."
A day before she was unmasked on The Masked Singer, Kandi dropped her first single in years -- "Used to Love Me," a dance-heavy track featuring Todrick Hall and Precious. She says her time on Masked Singer as "The Night Angel" helped her fall back in love with singing and gave her room to explore genres outside of the R&B box she felt stuck in since the start of her career.
"Being in this mask, I could do whatever type of music I wanted to do," she says, lighting up. "Nobody's judging me, nobody is saying whatever, and it's just like, oh, OK, the Night Angel did Shania Twain tonight. Or, the Night Angel did Lil Wayne tonight. I just thought that was cool in itself, not to have to be stuck in a box. Not to be in one lane. You could just be wherever you wanted to be."
Kandi says, as she became famous outside of music, she got boxed-in in other ways.
"I feel like every day in life, especially being on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I have people that just dog me out or say crazy stuff about me for any reason," she shares. "Like, they'll just say, 'She can't sing…' this, this and all these different things that are negative."
"I just started feeling like, well, maybe people just don't like my voice," she continues. "But, being on this show and getting all that positivity from the judges and they're uplifting me every week, and then I was secretly going online looking at the comments from fans of Masked Singer to see what they say and they were like, 'Oh, Night Angel killed it!' And even though they may or may not have known that it was me ... they were just judging it based off of vocal ability, and it made me feel good that so many people were fans of the Night Angel, which is me!"
Kandi's new track dropped just a few weeks after NeNe released her own song, "Come and Get This Hunni," and Kandi is not here for any comparisons.
"People always try to compare the two songs or whatever. This is the way I feel about it; much love to her," the GRAMMY winner says. "You know, let her do her thing. I don't feel like we have to be compared in music, though. … We in two different places. She’s doing her thing, I'm doing mine."
"Used to Love Me" is now available on all music platforms. Part three of The Real Housewives of Atlanta's season 12 reunion airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo, while The Masked Singer is slated to return to Fox for season 4 this fall.
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