Like the legend of the Phoenix: Latest 'Masked Singer' reveal is Olympic gold-medalist, LGBTQ icon

Lyndsey Parker
·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music
·6 min read

The Masked Singer Season 5’s Group B bracket debuted Wednesday, and while the Black Swan, Grandpa Monster, Chameleon and Piglet stumped the judges, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg — the panel’s official reigning queen when it comes to guessing — immediately recognized the Phoenix’s voice as Caitlyn Jenner’s. Even her fellow judge, Ken “I Know Exactly Who This Is” Jeong (who actually rarely knows who anyone is), initially identified the scarlet-winged fantasy figure as Caitlyn, based on the vocals alone.

But then Ken switched his "First Impression Guess" at the last minute from Caitlyn to RuPaul, because the Jenner pick seemed “too easy.” Oops. At this rate, it looks like Ken won’t be snatching Jenny’s crown any time soon... although the two are still currently tied in the early race for Season 5's coveted Golden Ear trophy.

In Ken’s defense, certain catchphrases in the Phoenix’s clues package, like “I’m a winner, baby!” and “here’s the tea,” as a well as a race car, did seem to point to the RuPaul’s Drag Race host — or at least, as Ken worded it, to “someone who is a hero in the LGBTQ community.” (The judges’ other random guesses included Laverne Cox, Perez Hilton and Jonathan Van Ness.) But when the Phoenix was unmasked at the end of the episode, after failing to rise from the ashes of her playful but pitchy Kesha cover, Ken exclaimed, “I feel so stupid!” — to which Caitlyn quipped, without missing a beat, “Ken, you've always been an idiot.”

When guest host Niecy Nash later asked Caitlyn why she'd decided to compete on The Masked Singer in the first place, Caitlyn answered with a red-feathered shrug, “I like challenges. I've raced cars. I fly airplanes. It kind of keeps you going — something new, something different. So for me, it was fun. You can only work on the golf game for so long.”

As for what the famous Jenner offspring — who still call Caitlyn "Dad" — would think of Caitlyn's move from Keeping Up with the Kardashians to this even more surreal reality show, Caitlyn simply said, "They've always known Dad's a little crazy, and will try anything. Life's short. You gotta enjoy it."

Yes, life is short, so without further ado, let’s review Group B’s other mystery cosplayers:

The Black Swan, “Barracuda”

This beautiful creature was one bad animal belting some Heart! She rocked hard, and while her pipes were not quite Ann Wilson-esque, they came fairly close. “It’s nice to have a badass on this season,” raved judge Robin Thicke.

Clues: Her “talent made her someone else’s prey” after she was “hypnotized by a Hollywood deal” that she “could not resist.” We also saw a chess pawn, a red X, doves (representing the “faithful flock” of fans that “rescued” her), a diamond ring, and the number five.

Judges’ guesses: Anya Taylor-Joy, Camila Cabello, Mel B, Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis.

My guess: Based on the voice, I think this is JoJo — who has released five albums, has a devoted fanbase, and signed to Blackground Records at age 12 but later sued the label for “irreparable damages to her professional career.” JoJo seems like the sort of power-singer that could really sink her teeth into “Barracuda,” a song that Heart wrote about their corrupt record label at the time.

The Grandpa Monster, “Mambo No. 5”

Much like the Sloth on this year’s spinoff show The Masked Dancer, this long-in-the-tooth kooky character acted like a grumpy old man at first, but then let loose onstage. (“Those are some young knees,” judge Nicole Scherzinger observed. “OK, he can move,” noted Robin.) He did run out of breath, indicating that he’s not a professional singer. But he is definitely a professional entertainer.

Clues: He has “trained for battle before,” and he used to be a troublemaker with a “bad reputation,” “acting out all the time,” until a schoolteacher believed in him. We saw 6.2-ton kettle bell, another number 6 in chalk, the word “punked,” X-and-O football plays, and the number 97 as well.

Judges’ guesses: Ashton Kutcher, Dax Shepard, Johnny Manziel, the Miz, Scott Disick.

My guess: I think this might be Bad Grandpa star and reformed bad boy Johnny KnOXville. ("O" and "X"— get it?) But this guess is likely no better than anything Ken could come up with. I need more clues and more time.

The Chameleon: “Ride Wit Me”

OK, so his costume wasn’t quite as cool as the illuminated, body-heat-activated bodysuit worn by the Chameleon on The Masked Singer U.K. (which turned out to be Justin Hawkins of the Darkness best reveal ever). But this all-American Chameleon exhibited some Bootsy Collins swagger and a stoned-groovy voice. “You have this beautiful tone. … I would buy that album tomorrow,” said Jenny.

Clues: This towering lounge lizard has a “history with gemstones” and a famous “pop” who taught him technology. Visual tipoffs included the number 007, camouflage, a DJ’s turntable, video games, and the number 23. He also said his career once “almost tanked” and the stage is his “home.”

Judges’ guesses: Redfoo, Dwight Howard, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Tiesto… and even regular Masked Singer host Nick Cannon. Nick is supposedly sitting out the first few episodes of Season 5 due to a positive COVID-19 test result, but since this is a “game-changing season,” anything could happen.

My guess: This is another tough one. Even the usually unflappable Jenny confessed, “This is the most I’ve ever been stumped!” I think we can safely assume this particular Chameleon is not Justin Hawkins. I’m going with DJ/entrepreneur Steve Aoki — avid gamer, son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, maker of "Emerald" and "Ruby" sunglasses, and one of seven kids. The clues do hint at Nick Cannon, but I think faking a coronavirus scare just for curveball TV would be pretty distasteful, so I really hope it’s not him (and that he's now COVID-free and returns to the show soon, of course).

The Piglet, “Speechless”

This little piggy had the sort of ‘90s boy band voice that can make all the girls squeal — and it was a voice as recognizable as Caitlyn Jenner's.

Clues: He “hasn’t always been lucky in love,” because he once “gave away a few roses and the world saw his heart break.” And some of those roses had “sharp thorns.” But he’s a “hopeless romantic” who wears his heart (and apparently an ax tattoo) on his sleeve. Visual clues included an alarm clock set for 6 p.m. and a question mark.

Judges’ guesses: Clay Aiken, David Archuleta, Liam Hemsworth, Charlie Puth, and, for the zillionth time, Adam Lambert. (That last terrible guess was Ken’s. Ken is never going win that Golden Ear!)

My guess: OK guys, this is former Newlywed Nick Lachey. You can have what’s left of me if I am wrong.

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