Pro wrestler, '90s TV star get the boot on 'Masked Singer' Country Night
Wednesday was Country Night on The Masked Singer Season 9, and the first mystery celebrity to get the boot was the adorable Axolotl — which was a bit achy-breaky-heartbreaking, because as judge Robin Thicke noted, she really had the best costume of the entire season. (I still don’t know what an Axolotl is, but it sure is cute!) The Axolotl admitted, “I’m definitely not the best singer to step on this stage, but I do promise I will embrace my inner diva and have the most fun” — and she mostly fulfilled that promise during her mic-dropping cover of Season 4 champ LeAnn “The Sun” Rimes’s Coyote Ugly banger, “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.”
The Axolotl’s performance really wasn’t all that bad, but it still wasn’t enough to put up a fight against this week’s other contestants, the Fairy and Macaw. And so, the Axolotl was unmasked, and as judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg correctly guessed, she turned out to be WWE Raw wrestler Alexa Bliss.
“This was something that was personal for me, because I have actually crippling stage fright when it comes to singing. I was actually backstage crying before coming out here, because I was so nervous,” Alexa, who is married to pop/rock singer Ryan Cabrera, confessed to the judges. “But I am just so proud of myself that I conquered my fear.”
This “total diva” wrestler and a true competitor might have been more comfortable in the Battle Royale ring. But since she was the first singer to go home, instead, it was last week’s reigning champ, the Fairy, who headed to the Battle Royale (after “captivating” the judges with her lovely cover of John Prine/Bonnie Raitt’s “Angel From Montgomery”), along with this week’s other new contestant, the Macaw. The latter's earnest version of Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” had Jenny declaring him the show’s new frontrunner, and Jenny’s prophecy soon came true when, after the two winged creatures battled on Shania Twain’s "That Don't Impress Me Much,” the Macaw impressed the judges much more.
And so, the Fairy lost her Group B reigning champ title after just one week. And while the judges thought she might be Mickey Guyton, Steve Harvey’s daughter Lori, Stevie Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris, or even Jennifer Aniston (that, of course, was Ken Jeong’s terrible guess), as I not-terribly guessed last Wednesday based on the very obvious clues, the Fairy was revealed to be actress, singer, and talk show host Holly Robinson Peete.
While Holly had personal connections to all four judges and host Nick Cannon, none of them had realized or remembered just how stunning a vocalist she is. (Post-unmasking, the self-declared “closet singer" reminded everyone with an a cappella snippet of her famous 21 Jump Street theme.) “I just want to say, your voice is so beautiful. You just pulled us tonight in. Thank you so much for gracing us with your presence and your voice,” judge Nicole Scherzinger gushed to Holly.
All this means we now have a new Group B champ moving on to Season 9’s quarterfinals, the Macaw. Based on his excellent performances this week, I think he has what it takes to fly all the way to the finale — and I have a feeling it won’t be his first finale to air on the Fox network. Yes, the judges may have guessed this belting bird to be Zayn Malik, Elijah Wood, or Hoobastank’s Doug Robb, but I know exactly who this is. This feathered friend and fan favorite is none other than American Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta.
The pure, pristine vocals were almost enough to figure out the Macaw’s identity, especially during the talking section of the Shania song, but the (also very obvious) clues added up. This shy singer said the Macaw is “everything that I’m not: flashy and confident”; confessed that “the pressure to always be ‘the good son’ has brought me so much anxiety”; and said he’s been performing since a young age but music “definitely didn’t start out as a passion,” with his dad bribing him with quesadillas as a child to get him to sing at a local Mexican restaurant. All this aligns with David’s well-publicized struggles with anxiety and his father Jeff Archuleta’s Idol-era reputation for being a pushy, domineering dadager. We also saw a jar of salsa — a reference to David’s Honduran mother, who was a salsa dancer and singer — and a silver medal, a reference to David’s second-place Idol finish. And finally, the Macaw declared, “This is the year I decided to be brave not just onstage, but in my [personal] life,” and David, at age 30, recently came out as being on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
It's gotta be Archie! And maybe he can win the whole competition this time, and not only do what past American Idol/Masked Singer alumni Chris Daughtry and Katharine McPhee could not, but also finally bring justice, peace, and closure to those poor viral crying fangirls, 15 years after he controversially lost on to David Cook on Idol.
But before the Season 9 finale, three new Group C celebrity cosplayers will compete next Wednesday, on what is sure to be a totally awesome '80s Night, followed by a wildcard round with this season’s “Ding Dong Keep It On Bell” saved contestants, and then, finally, the quarterfinals. See you then.
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