“We’ve gotta thank the Super Bowl for being an amazing pre-show,” host Nick Cannon announced as he introduced Sunday television’s true main event: the Season 3 Masked Singer premiere, which aired on Fox immediately after the big game.
Yes, all the world was indeed watching — or gawking, wondering if their Buffalo chicken dip had been garnished with psilocybin slices — as Sunday’s premiere, which made Jennifer Lopez’s and Shakira’s halftime spectacle look like an acoustic open mic night at the local coffeehouse, trotted out a troupe of Cats-worthy fabulous furries, including a rhinestone-gloved boxing Kangaroo, a punk-rock teenage mutant ninja Turtle, and a prosthetically enhanced, bootylicious Llama.
But the big moment was what gobsmacked judge Ken Jeong enthusiastically declared the “best reveal ever!”
This bonkers TV guessing game has already achieved global domination, and the new British edition of the show has recruited actually credible music stars — like Jake “The Unicorn” Shears of Scissor Sisters (covering Kate Bush and Blur!), Justin “The Chameleon” Hawkins of the Darkness (belting Radiohead!), Kelis as the Daisy, and Skin from ‘90s Britpop band Skunk Anansie (dressed not as a skunk, but as the Duck). So, it was time for America’s Masked Singer to bring its A-game.
And that it did, with Season 3’s first celebrity castoff being one of the most successful recording artists of all time.
To loosely paraphrase the Robot’s intro music, Styx’s “Mr. Roboto,” yes, I was wondering who he was. So were the judges — who, based on a reference to “stunts,” guessed that this man-machine might be Floyd Mayweather, Shawn White, Flavor Flav, or Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville or Steve-O. I thought, based on the raspy, monotonic vocals on the Robot’s cover of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” that it might be either Drake or Lil Wayne. But it’s the latter who probably-not-coincidentally just dropped his 13th studio album, Funeral, so of course it was the one and only Weezy.
“He just made this show so much cooler!” exclaimed Cannon. “This is a moment in television history!”
“This is the most shocked I’ve ever been on this show!” admitted judge Robin Thicke — who was especially embarrassed, since he has actually collaborated on five tracks with Wayne.
“My kids watch the show, and I knew they were going to like the Robot costume,” Wayne answered sweetly, when Cannon asked why he would ever agree to perform on a show like this. Aw. He really is a big softie underneath that hard exterior.
The Robot will be missed. I’m just thinking of all the Kraftwerk and Daft Punk songs he could have performed. But five more mystery celebrities survived to sing another day, and Cannon teased that they’ve “appeared in nine Super Bowls” between them. And according to Fox, this super-sized season’s 18 cast members have a combined total of eleven Super Bowl appearances, plus 69 Grammy nominations, 88 gold records, three Hollywood Walk of Fame stars, and one entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, under their glittering belts.
So, could these cosplayers be footballers, sportscasters, or even halftime show headliners? Heck, one of them might even be Left Shark, since The Masked Singer’s mad-genius wardrobe designer, Marina Toybina, actually won an Emmy for designing the viral dancing sharks that accompanied — and upstaged — Katy Perry at 2015’s Super Bowl halftime show. We at least know that none of these beautiful creatures are Jamie Foxx, who was widely assumed, even by his own relatives, to be last season’s winner (the demasked Fox turned out to be Wayne Brady) — since Foxx served as guest judge on Sunday’s premiere.
I had a hunch a Robot was Lil Wayne, but overall, the clues were tougher than ever this time around, so I doubt I’ll to score any more touchdowns in week one. But I’ll make my best guestimates. Game on!