No, folks: Last week’s premiere of bonkers reality competition series The Masked Singer was not some hangover-induced, post-New Year’s Eve/Day hallucination. Fox actually did that.
And on Wednesday (January 9) night, host Nick Cannon assured all and sundry that “TV’s wildest singing show” was back for episode two, complete with celebrity hodgepodge panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke. Six disguised celebrities were trotted before the audience last week, with the Hippo, a.k.a. Antonio Brown, getting the boot for having the weakest performance. Oh, come on. You know Antonio Brown. As in Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown? Celebrities, people.
Another half-dozen supposedly famous performers in masks were introduced in episode two. Which five made the cut and whose disguise was removed? Hold on tight and read on to see how all costumed drama played out.
Rabbit vs. Alien
Some dude decked out in a straight jacket with a rabbit mask on struts across the screen. The clues he gives to his identity are a dead giveaway to pretty much everyone except the expert panel of Robin, Jenny, Ken and Nicole. “I’ve spent most of my life on stage, but never alone,” says Rabbit. “Now I pop up here and I pop up there. Synchronized singing is my forte… The last mask standing is gonna be me.”
Let’s add this up: “It’s Gonna Be Me.” Synchronized singing. He’s wearing a straightjacket, just like *NSYNC member JC Chasez did on the cover of his 2004 solo album, Schizophrenic. This is an easy one, right? Well…
Rabbit tears through a shortened version of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” and, to their credit, Robin and Ken guess that he’s either Lance Bass or Joey Fatone from *NSYNC. Close, but no cigar — or, as Jenny puts it so eloquently, “Joey has a way bigger gut than that bunny.”
Facing off against Rabbit is Alien, a female performer who notes, “In my family, anonymity is a completely alien concept. Growing up in the public’s eye, my life was never my own. I let others define me, but no one will ever control me again.”
The mentions of a famous family and “control” should send any nasty boy or girl’s mind to Janet Jackson, as should Alien’s whispery voice while singing Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still.” Alas, having no idea who Alien could be, Ken, who is married, opts to make cracks about the mysterious singer looking like “a sexy toothbrush” and wanting to take her on a date to IHOP.
Adding to that classy panel commentary, Nicole surmises about Alien, “I don’t think you’re a professional singer.” At this point, I really do hope and pray that this particular masked singer is Janet Jackson, who amassed no less than ten chart-topping singles on the Billboard Hot 100 over a 15-year period. (Nicole eked out one — ONE! — solo top 40 single stateside, and it peaked at No. 39.)
I digress. The winner of the first face-off of the night is Rabbit, which means Alien is beamed to the bottom three.
Raven vs. Pineapple
Black-clad Raven hits the spotlight next, complete with feathers and a cage around the disguised performer’s head. The panelists aren’t quite able to pinpoint this bird’s gender until she belts out Kesha’s “Rainbow” and reveals a female voice. As for the clues to her identity, Raven says, “All my life, I’ve listened to other people’s stories, so now it’s time to share mine. I’ve always been a sunny kind of person. No one talks more than me.”
Raven’s competitor is a guy with a pineapple on his head and a Hawaiian shirt hanging open to reveal fake six-pack abs. Think about that each and every day of your lives, television fans.
Pineapple states that he beat a life-threatening disease, has been in the public eye for decades and “this OG takes things as they come.” He then gives such a godawful performance of Gloria Gaynor’s glitter ball classic “I Will Survive” that I wonder how 2019 could be doing me this wrong so early in the game? If disco wasn’t dead by the early ‘80s, friends, it certainly is now.
Robin quips, “I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like this since Burning Man,” while Jenny guesses, given the Hawaiian attire, that Pineapple might be Cheech Marin or Tommy Chong.
Predictably, Pineapple is rolled to the bottom three by the audience and panelists, while Raven is safe to flap another day.
Poodle vs. Bee
The final face-off comes between Poodle and Bee, because why wouldn’t it? The former points out that ever since she was a little girl, she loved to be on stage and take on a character. She also notes that she comes from a musical family. Meanwhile, Bee says, “In my long career, I’ve flown to soaring heights. Being a worker bee keeps me young. You can call me Queen Bee. I’m looking forward to singing to a new generation.”
Poodle rocks out to Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” while Bee gives a soulful performance of Sia’s “Chandelier” that has me wondering if it’s vocal powerhouse Chaka Khan buzzing under that mask. Poodle is ultimately left stung by Bee once the votes are tallied and must march off to the bottom three.
Eliminated: It’s no shocker when Pineapple is diced for the having the night’s weakest showing. What’s actually surprising is that Jenny guessed the fruity performer’s identity correctly earlier: 80-year-old comedian Tommy Chong.
And with that, another episode of The Masked Singer has gone – you guessed it — up in smoke.