Fox executives clearly didn’t realize they had a monster (no pun intended) hit on their hands when they greenlit The Masked Singer. And I suppose I can understand why. A totally bonkers singing competition featuring cosplaying mystery celebrities sing karaoke, on what looks like an hour-long version of Eurotrash band Alacazar’s infamous “Crying at the Discotheque” music video, perhaps didn’t seem like Emmy bait. But I bet right about now those execs are wishing they could extend this wildly successful season — rather than rushing to next week’s finale with a double-elimination this week. Expect sister channel FXX to be showing The Masked Singer on a marathon loop this summer while we all eagerly await Season 2.
Anyhoo, following previous de-maskings of Antonio “the Hippo” Brown, Tommy “the Pineapple” Chong, Terry “the Deer” Bradshaw, Margaret “the Poodle” Cho, Tori “the Unicorn” Spelling, Ricki “the Raven” Lake and La Toya “the Alien” Jackson, this week it was time to bid farewell to two more furry friends: Rumer “the Lion” Willis and Joey “the Rabbit” Fatone.
While it was shocking that the Lion was eliminated before next week’s finale — she was this season’s frontrunner, with her “California Dreamin’” performance, used in Fox’s buzzy early promos, once having viewers speculate that she was Lady Gaga or Ariana Grande — I don’t know why the judges were sooooooo shocked by this reveal. All the clues were there: The fact that the Lion comes from a “pride of women,” “Hollywood royalty” (Rumer is the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis), and “Hailey, Idaho”; the references to Chicago, the “Bluegrass State,” and Empire; even her anti-bullying advocacy. And yet the judges kept thinking the Lion was Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Fergie, Hailey Steinfeld or some member of Wilson Phillips, TLC or En Vogue. (Can we get new judges next season, please — ones that know how to use Google and Wikipedia?)
It was also obvious pretty early on that the Rabbit was a former NSync member — even his straitjacket, straight out of the “I Drive Myself Crazy” video, was a clue. Fatone, like Willis, took his elimination in stride, crooning “My Girl” one last time before hopping offstage.
So that leaves us with the Peacock, Monster and Bee, the three best non-Lion vocalists in the Masked Singer game. Let’s take a look at these surviving semifinalists’ performances from Wednesday, and keep the guessing game going before next week’s final, literal face-off.
The Peacock, “Let’s Go”
Previous clues: The 176-pound showman “started out as a little teenybopper” and has gone through “different incarnations” of his career, ranging from Vegas revues to dramatic acting. He’s also been pictured cradling a puppy, was a “dear friend” of Michael Jackson and once wore a curly wig straight out of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Also, his face has been tattooed on a person’s body.
This week’s clues: He dedicated his performance to his “soldiers of affection,” described himself as an “idol” and told judge Robin Thicke that one of his albums used “Blurred Lines” as an inspiration.
Judges’ guesses: Ne-Yo (the original singer of “Let’s Go”), Ryan Seacrest, Donny Osmond, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Neil Patrick Harris.
My guess: For weeks I’ve believed that this is “Solider of Love” singer Donny Osmond, but you know … it could be “Word Crimes” singer Weird Al. Amusingly, if that turned out to be the case, Al would actually be the least weird thing on this freaky-styley show. But my top guess is still Donny, who has also expressed a fondness for Thicke’s hit.
The Monster, “Stay With Me”
Previous clues: “Not everyone” considers him a professional singer, but now he is back to “rewrite his mixtape.” This party-monster is also from the Dirty South and has a fondness for Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be” — which a certain AutoTune rapper performed in the Yahoo studio in 2005. He’s also missing some teeth, and he wears a size-12 shoe.
This week’s clues: He’s been “vilified and persecuted for sounding like a ringtone.” Well, that was obvious.
Judges’ guesses: Jamie Foxx, Calvin Harris, Kevin Hart, Darius Rucker, CeeLo Green.
My guess: The Monster is totally T-Pain, you guys. (Why are these judges so clueless, when they’ve been provided with so many great clues? They should be clueful.) Not only does the rockin’ Monster sound like T-Pain’s Yahoo performance, but he also sounds like T-Pain’s AutoTune-free NPR Tiny Desk concert. And he was the ringtone king in the mid-2000s. I actually want to make his excellent Sam Smith cover from this week — which Thicke described as “Grammy-worthy” — my ringtone right now, in 2019.
The Bee, “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman”
Previous clues: This diva has been performing since she was a little kid in the ’50s (when she formed a group with her family members), drops many references to “Georgia,” goes by the nickname “Empress” and loves to bake. She’s “very dear friends” with Tina Turner and has won 10 Grammys.
This week’s clues: She’s also “good friends” with Aretha Franklin.
Judges’ guesses: Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker.
My guess: This is totally Gladys Knight, you guys. For one, the Bee sounds exactly like her. And she sang at Aretha’s funeral and led the Aretha tribute at last year’s American Music Awards. You know, it’s pretty amazing that she agreed to cover one of Aretha’s signature songs on The Masked Singer. The Voice and American Idol can’t even book that. That, indeed, is “Grammy-worthy.” And maybe even Emmy-worthy, after all.
Tune in next Wednesday, when the Bee likely wins a Masked Singer trophy to add to that impressive Grammy collection, as the three last masks standing compete one last time.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
- Gladys Knight delivers ‘class act’ national anthem amid Super Bowl LIII controversy
- More than a little bit rock ’n’ roll: Donny Osmond talks metal masterpiece ‘Crazy Horses’
- How Weird Al’s epic anti-Valentine song got censored on network TV
- ‘Masked Singer’ host/producer Nick Cannon on quitting ‘America’s Got Talent’: ‘One of the best decisions I ever made in my career’