There are several moments in Masked Singer history that go down in the show’s bonkers hall of shame: Sarah “The Bear” Palin doing “Baby Got Back,” Mickey “The Gremlin” Rourke beheading himself, Wendy Williams doing an obscure disco song and being mistaken by Ken Jeong for Mariah Carey. Now add to that looney list this week’s Group A semifinals performance by Season 6’s most recent eliminee, overgrown wild card the Baby, who croaked out a performance so nightmare-fueling, it almost was too weird for basic cable. “I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say,” gasped Ken.
As it turned out, the Baby was redneck comic Larry the Cable Guy, whose warped take on the Flintstones theme was barely recognizable (judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg didn’t even recognize Larry, despite co-starring with him in the 2008 straight-to-cable film Witless Protection). But, as host Nick Cannon noted, Larry does have “one of the most recognizable voices of our generation.” The comedian confessed, “That’s first time I ever really sang anything in front of anybody,” and hopefully it will be his last (I at least wouldn’t advise him to quit his day job), but he definitely seemed to have a yabba dabba doo time during his fun, brief Masked Singer run.
As for the Group A contestants who advanced to the next round — including another coming-in-hot wild card, the Pepper — their identities remain a mystery. But let’s assess their performances and keep the guessing game going:
The Bull, “Circus”
It’s Britney, Bull! Showing his support for Britney Spears (he even ad-libbed, “Free Britney!” at one point), this ringmaster showed off his pop chops and was a consummate entertainer. “I wanna see that 20 more times!” exclaimed Jenny.
The clues: He’s “no stranger to a house party,” famous for throwing crazy soirees. Other clues this Wednesday included Carnegie Hall (which had judge Robin Thicke thinking this might be a Broadway star) and “rapping.” Past clues having included Walt Disney Concert Hall, a “small town surrounded by cows,” and Forbes magazine. He also said his “secret weapon” is dancing.
Judges’ guesses: Trey Songz, Donald Glover, Anthony Ramos, Leslie Odom Jr.
My guess: I’m still convinced that this this small-town Texan, Disney obsessive, Britney fan, dynamite dancer, and Forbes “30 Under 30” honoree Todrick Hall. He has starred in Broadway productions (of Kinky Boots and Chicago), and his last concert trek was called… wait for it… the Haus Party Tour! I am sure judge Nicole Scherzinger is playing dumb and actually recognizes Todrick’s not-at-all-disguised singing voice, since she appeared in his musical film Straight Outta Oz.
The Hamster, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
The clues: When he was in his twenties, he was “living in huge city,” “working with best pals,” and having the “most fun ever.” He became famous overnight, but he and those pals are still “friends all these years later.” Past clues have included baseball, Alcatraz Island, goldfish, and jeweled DJ headphones. He’s also mentioned that he has a body “shaped like a hamster.”
Judges’ guesses: Will Ferrell, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Jim Breuer, John Leguizamo, Paul Rudd.
My guesses: The judges are convinced this is some comic actor, and they might be right. This could be famous FriendMatthew Perry. The body shape matches, as does the self-deprecating humor, and the voice does kind of sound like Matthew’s! (If only this was the Bullfrog, then I’d be certain this was him.”) But I still think this could be — hear me out! — superstar Northern California rapper and former Oakland A’s bat-boy MC Hammer. (Get it? Ham-mer?)
The Skunk, “Midnight Train to Georgia”
This classic, elegant performance earned a massive audience ovation and had Jenny breaking out in “skunk chills.” Robin declared the Skunk his favorite vocalist in all six Masked Singer seasons, and Nicole proclaimed, “We are in the midst of a young living legend!”
The clues: She’s been to parties “with the most iconic people in the world” and used to be the “hostess with mostess,” but she left it all behind for a “simpler and more positive life.” She also mentioned the word “empire,” and brought out an old-school boombox playing gospel music. Past clues have mentioned giving up a college scholarship when she became pregnant, a career hiatus, a reputation for being volatile, and Seoul (or maybe just “soul”?).
Judges’ guesses: Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, Tamar Braxton.
My guess: This absolutely is Faith Evans. Faith attended Fordham University on a scholarship, but dropped out after a year to have her daughter; she takes years off between albums and hasn’t released a full studio LP since 2014; she once had a bad rep due to her peripheral involvement the 1990s’ East Coast/West Coast hip-hop feud; she once guest-judged an Empire-themed episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race; and she has roots in gospel. Plus, the Skunk sounds a lot like Faith. It’s her.
The Pepper, “Jealous”
This spicy new character’s clues package positioned her as some sort of flash-in-the-pan social media sensation, so I was shocked by her actually amazing vocals. A teary-eyed Nicole described this performance as “absolutely drop-dead gorgeous and stunning,” and Robin raved, “Beyond a seasonable doubt, that was amazing.”
The clues: She “always had own flavor,” but then something she did went viral overnight. Now she is “striking while the iron is hot.” We also saw X’s and O’s (which the judges believed referenced TikTok), a reimagined Hollywood Sign that spelled out “Chiliwood,” and a pair of roller skates, because “if you have roller skates, you don’t need a driver’s license.”
Judges’ guesses: Kesha, Olivia Rodrigo, Hailey Steinfeld, Lady Gaga, Pink, Miley Cyrus.
My guess: It’s not Olivia, you guys. This is Natasha Bedingfield, whose early-aughts anthem “Unwritten” njoyed a resurgence on TikTok this year and inspired a viral dance craze. That Chiliwood sign is a nod to another TV show that made the song famous, The Hills, and Natasha’s 2019 comeback album, Roll With Me, had a single called “Roller Skate.” And so, it is written: The Pepper is Ms. Bedingfield.
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