Ken Jeong knows “exactly who this is” and is so confident he slams the “Take-It-Off” button for the first time this season — but is he right?
We’re not sure how the Finals are going to play out, because Nick Cannon stunned “Masked Singer” fans by revealing that tonight’s semi-finals was a double elimination!
With only four singers left in Group A, that means half of them were heading out the door. Will the same thing happen with the remaining four singers in Group B next week? There’s been no consistency this season on “Masked,” so we don’t expect anything!
In an “Alter Ego” crossover, panelist and Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am jumped ship from virtual reality to the surreality of “The Masked Singer” as the latest guest panelist. But all eyes were on the superstar foursome making up this group.
If we’re honest, we’d have to say the superstar threesome — and the one that has invaded our sleepless nights and that we just know is waiting in our closet to take us in the darkness of the night. That’s right, Jester is back.
He was joined by the incredible Skunk, the energetic Bull and the heartbreakingly powerful Pepper. All three are truly magical as vocalists, but at least one of them had to go. And if Jester somehow survived like he did two weeks ago, then two would have to go.
But that wasn’t the only excitement on the night, as Ken decided he knew exactly who someone was to the point he actually slammed the “Take-It-Off” button. If he was right, they had to unmask and leave the competition immediately, talent be damned.
So is that how we wound up with a double elimination in the Semi-Finals with only four masks competing? Could be, could be…
Let’s jump right in with this week’s masks. And don’t worry, before we get to the shocking unmasking, we’re going to make you power through the terrible (and occasionally good) guesses made by our illustrious panel of Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger first. We do this because we love … to torture you.
GROUP A, ROUND 5, SEMI-FINALS
Bull killed it once again vocally, but he also brought a real theatrical stage presence. From the way he moved across the stage to some of the poses he hit, and even the high kick, there was a sensuous flow to him that made us think he was probably a dancer as well as singer in a Broadway sense.
Guesses: Somehow, this experience has Bull more nervous than anything he’s done before in his life and career, which is just wild to think about. Is the trophy that exciting? Or is it because he thinks he knows who Skunk is, and it’s someone he’s looked up to from childhood?
He shot down the panel from thinking of boy bands — though they’ve not really been going there all that much — by saying he’s used to singing solo. But he also says that he has a tendency to compare himself to others (said while looking at Sun AKA LeAnn Rimes).
Tonight’s bonus clue is a connection to someone on the panel. For Bull, that clue was shot terribly by Nick, and so Jenny threw herself over the desk to fetch it from the ground as Robin and Ken were gonig around the table.
“Yeah, let me just stick my boob back in,” she quipped with her back to the camera — so it may not have been a quip at all — before revealing that the clue is “ring.” “Will, we have more in common than you think,” Bull told will.i.am. “Does that ring a bell?”
Ken really wants this to be Billy Porter, so he connected the “Ring” to ringing in the New Year. But Nicole went with the “triple threat” comment from his clue package to think of Ne-Yo, Usher and Jason Derulo.
As for the Twittersphere, they’re already sold that this is Todrick Hall, and him singing Lady Gaga and bringing it to life that way only solidified it in their minds. We can’t find a better option, either — and that includes the poor soul who thinks it’s Scottie Pippen.
Pepper has never failed to deliver, and she did it again. There was so much controlled power throughout, as well as a stunningly beautiful breathy tone on the verses. She did seem to be struggling with breath control a bit, which is either the heaviness of the mask or perhaps her emotional connection to the song was overwhelming her. She’s definitely a pro singer, though, with chops like this!
Guesses: She opened up about that emotional connection, as the song made her think of the “one she loves and cared for most” facing what she only described as “the unthinkable.” As such, she found herself just wishing that things could get better, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do.
She also spoke about a “good girl” image she’s developed in her career, and so she saw Pepper as a chance to show a spicier, hotter side to herself. Even so, though, there’s an inherent sweetness in these performances.
Pepper’s connection to the panel was with Ken, and the one-word clue to try and help him chug along was “Train.” “Ken, not even gravity could stop that train from getting to you,” she told Ken and it really did seem to trigger something in him.
We’ve heard him say, “I know exactly who this is,” time and time again, but he certainly felt more confident this time. He was positive that Pepper is Sara Bareilles. He laid out his case pretty compellingly and then slammed the “Take-It-Off” button. But was he?
If he was right, Pepper would have to unmask immediately and leave the competition. But … he was not.
“Ken Jeong wrong!” Nick declared. But he took so long that the panel had no more time to make guesses. And you know Twitter was cracking up, because they’ve been pretty confident on this one since she first showed up, with the vast majority saying it’s Natasha Bedingfield.
Jester rocked it out his first time out, and this time he went over the top to perform with terrible rhythm a Soggy Bottom Boys classic, “Man of Constant Sorrow.” He was all over the place, clearly hamming it up, laughing at himself and with the audience and even stoped singing at one point to just lay on the ground and dance weird. He also sounded exhausted from the first note.
Guesses: Even Nick couldn’t bring himself to call the performance “amazing,” as he does for everyone, settling instead on, “That was … something.” Clearly a comedian, Jester opened up about being married for 45 years, but now watching his wife in declining health.
He said that she’s going to get a huge kick out of him doing the show, and will automatically know that it’s him from the jump. Jester’s personal connection is for Robin Thicke and it’s the word “Cake.”
“Hey, twisted neighbor,” Jester shouted to him. “Have your cake and eat it.” He kind of lost the accent, too. When Robin suggested that “cake” only made him think of Rihanna, Jester helpfully noted, “I’m not Rihanna.” Robin was also a little disturbed to think this could be his neighbor.
Will.i.am decided that maybe “cake” was a reference to “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” and this was Def Leppard front-man Joe Elliott. But we’re not so sure (for one, at 58 he’s too young to have a wife of 45 years). He also said he heard the accent through the singing, so thinks Jester truly is Briitish.
Ken, though, went from bonkers (Elon Musk) to a guess Nick could actually put some respect on, Simon Cowell. But we have a hard time seeing Simon ever behave like this, cavorting around stage and really cutting loose.
Getting a little more serious, Robin mused if it could possibly be Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers. He’s certainly got that kind of energy. Backstage, he said he hoped he could “drive” through the competition with some dignity — another clue?
The internet is still a little stumped on this one, too, with the vocal switch-up leaving them confused. But we did see some love for Jack Black, still, and Alice Cooper … and then some mockery of the Alice guess. There were also a few sleuths who were able to deduce that Sex Pistols front-man Johnny Rotten’s wife is in poor health, so what if that’s him hamming it up?
It’s not a terrible guess, though we’re still getting more comedian vibes than any of those rock stars. We get that rockers often have a great sense of humor, but the body language is so over-the-top, we’re just not seeing it. Of course, we’ve been wrong before!
Skunk has an incredible rasp and richness in her tone that is perfect for Etta James — no wonder Etta said she’d like her to portray her in a biopic of her life. She’s been a powerhouse all season long, but this might be her most commanding performance yet and it was delivered almost entirely by voice. That was pure magic.
Guesses: Ironically, Skunk revealed that she’s as intimidated by Bull as he is by her. This is a competitive match-up for sure, as both are incredible at what they do. In fact, she said his energy has made her rethink her approach.
Her recipe for success is more passion, more emotion and more soul. She definitely delivered on all of those promises this week. She also shared that she’s proud that her kids will be able to see her perform and see that “Mama’s still got it.” Yes, she does!
The personal connection this time was a pillow coming at Nicole with the word “Love” written on it. “Nicole, I think you could say that we have a love connection,” Skunk told her. Skunk and Nicole both shot down Jenny’s notion that they’d dated the same person.
Nicole joined Robin’s Faith Evans guess, but not before tossing around Mary J Blige’s name if only to get a scream of excitement from the crowd. Jenny, though, thinks maybe it’s Jill Scott, but we think she has a much smoother voice without as much rasp in it.
Robin wondered if the “Love” pillow might be a reference to Diddy, who changed his name to “Love.” And that takes you right back to Faith Evans, which has been Twitter’s favorite guess since the jump. We also got a bonus clue, which was a highway map of the U.S.
We actually saw a few non-Faith guesses like Tichina Arnold and Loretta Devine (have you heard her sing?!), but we’re going to have to jump on the bandwagon, too, and declare we have faith that this is Faith Evans!
There were three pretty rock solid performances tonight, and then there was Jester. If Jester isn’t the first one voted out, then he has to be the second. If he’s neither, then there is no justice in the world and we have all gone mad.
It’s just not even close. Bull and Skunk are neck-and-neck for top artist of this Group, with Skunk probably taking a slight lead. Pepper has a really special voice, too, but she wasn’t her strongest tonight with those breath issues.
This time around, though, we’re ready to finally learn who the Jester is — besides the clown that haunts our nightmares until we wake up screaming in abject horror. Thankfully, the audience got it right this week and after two weeks of torture it was finally time to say goodby to Jester.
- Robin Thicke: first impression (Alice Cooper), final guess (Flea)
- Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Dee Snider), final guess (Dee Snider)
- Ken Jeong: first impression (Roger Daltry), final guess (Roger Daltry)
- Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Sammy Hagar), final guess (Gene Simmons)
- will.i.am: final guess (Joe Elliott)
Interestingly, we were getting comedian vibes from him since he first came out, but the panel went all in on rock-and-roll stars. Even after this wacky performance tonight, they doubled down on rockers. But we’re not so confident in that. If it is, his comedic timing is impeccable.
They were actually right — and wrong. It wasn’t a comedian, but it was outrageous performer and Six Pistols front-man Johnny Rotten. Kudos to him for convincing us that he wasn’t a legitimate singer, as Johnny is more than capable of carrying a tune!
This is the point of the season where there are no longer any easy eliminations. All three remaining singers are just that, true singers who’ve grace us with their gifts from inside ridiculous costumes. And it’s going to be hard to see any of htem go.
For us, though, we have to honor the friendly rivalry between Bull and Skunk. They recognize the other as their biggest competition in the series, and we have to agree. And if they’re the top tier of this group, that leaves poor Pepper just outside. She’s been fantastic, but she had an off night only in breath control. She still sounded great.
But someone has got to go, and at this stage, that’s the right choice for us — and the studio audience, who agreed that this is as far as Pepper can go up against talent as strong as this.
- Robin Thicke: first impression (Carly Rae Jepsen), final guess (Mandy Moore)
- Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Lana Del Rey), final guess (Dido)
- Ken Jeong: first impression (Kesha), final guess (P!nk)
- Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Natasha Bedingfield), final guess (Natasha Bedingfield)
- will.i.am: final guess (Sia)
Props to Nicole for getting on board with where Twitter has been for weeks now, and for having been on the Natasha Bedingfield train all along. It’s the best guess, she fits the clues and it’s gotta be her, right? Did Nicole just tie Ken for the Golden Ear trophy with one whole point?
You bet your tuckus she did, and so the eventual winner of this coveted trophy remains “Unwritten” for now, as Natasha Bedingfield was indeed unmasked just shy of the Group A Finals.
“The Masked Singer” continues Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.