And we thought the panel’s guesses were the worst thing about this show!
How did tonight’s quarter-finals episode of “The Masked Singer” deliver one of the biggest surprises of the season, one of the strongest vocals of the season, and still turn out to be such a disappointment.
We’ll chalk it up to the nerves of being so close to the finals, or perhaps the weariness of having been doing this for so long, but three of the remaining five acts really did not quite rise up to their usual level of excellence.
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Just as we were praising the sheer level of talent in this Feisty Five, as the show is dubbing them, they go and lay an egg this week. But even that wasn’t the biggest problem with the night.
Even after a sub-par evening for some of our contestants, there was absolutely no excuse for botching the elimination this badly. We get that a night of disappointment from so many fan favorites is frustrating, but how can you forget a season of some of the best performances we’ve ever seen on this show?
We could rant for a long time about this week’s unmasking — and we probably will until everyone around us tells us to shut up — so we might as well just get to it. This way, we can relive the trauma all over again!
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.
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Russian Dolls delivered another outstanding performance, though this uptempo Elton John piece didn’t showcase their beautiful harmonies as well as other numbers they’ve done. Vocally, they still sound incredible, but we were a little worried that this may not have been exciting enough if everyone else goes crazy tonight.
Guesses: The Dolls took us inside their costumes to show just how little they can see as their performing in a package very light on actual new clues, Maybe producers realize that everyone pretty much has this one figured out already.
They did reveal that they themselves are huge fans of “Weird Al” Yankovic, saying that he has literally given them direction in their lives. Then, fan mail arrived. The letter writer said they were a fan of the Dolls individually, but even more so when they banded together.
They then signed it, “Love you to the moon and back.” Rob, though, said the clues mean nothing to him and simply declared that his gut instinct tells him this is Devo.
“Ken, this really is your friend,” was all Nick could say in response to such a terrible guess. Ken then proved him right with a bizarre rant that saw him somehow go from Savage Garden trying to form a super group with “Weird Al” to Barenaked Ladies, a not unreasonable guess.
Nicole remembered that Hanson went to the moon in their video for “MMMBop,” which is probably why they really didn’t need any more clues. The internet has known for months and now even this terrible panel is figuring it out. So that’s a lock!
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Black Swan got off to a slow start, but by the time she started stalking the stage like the pro she is, this rendition was on fire. She put some signature vocal runs in there and managed to bring all her emotions into that vocal. It was an absolutely stunning performance that had us covered in goosebumps and feeling it right along with her. That’s how you demand a spot in the semi-finals.
Guesses: Once again light on clues, though she did sit at a table filled with previous clues we’ve seen along the way so far this season, Black Swan shared that Cher (natch) is actually her favorite artist. Not only that, but Cher was part of her world already by the time she first shared her gift of voice.
Her fan mail talked about Black Swan being excited during an appearance on Oprah and how she got the major recognition she deserved. Even though Oprah’s show has been off the air a while now, Ken still thought it might be Dua Lipa (maybe one of Oprah’s newer projects?).
Like Rob, though, he was going more on the vocal way Black Swan tackled Ed Sheeran tonight than any of the myriad clues we’ve been receiving all season that fit another singer very, very well.
Robin paid attention to the clues, noting that Fifth Haromy’s Normani dressed up as Cher and appeared in Oprah’s magazine recently, so could it be her? See, that’s how the game is played, Ken. Don’t get us wrong, Robin is still wrong, but at least he’s playing.
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Piglet was a little out of his depth on Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” but it’s a lot of song for anyone to wrangle. He’s got a nice voice, but we could see him straining both to hit some of the higher notes, and even more noticeably with his breath control. The opening opera sequence, though, was quite remarkable and an impressive testament to his overall vocal ability.
Guesses: Piglet shared that during Season 1 of this show, his kid said he should go on there and be a pig, so this is perhaps kismet. We also learned that he’s been pretty serious most of his life and he considers himself a fellow action star to his idol, Bruce Willis.
His fan mail clue said that he was on TV and in headphones in the ‘90s, meaning music and television during that decade. They further said they’d never been jealous of his public relationships, and that they drew his picture.
You all know how well that letter speaks about Nick Lachey, who was famously in 98 Degrees and on television in the ‘90s with his very public relationship with Jessica Simpson. Jenny, though, wondered if it might be Justin Timberlake, who worked with Bruce Willis.
Ken keeps wanting to guess Jeremy Renner on this show, but this isn’t Jeremy. Instead, Robin got it right away, guessing Nick Lachey … because that’s who it is. Just ask anyone with a Twitter handle. They know.
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Yeti has established in previous weeks that he’s more of an R&B styled singer, but he was absolutely effortless in this shift to country. He didn’t even try to switch it up and put a bunch of R&B runs into it, but rather tackled it straightforwardly and it was beautifully done. This rendition could sit on country radio today and do quite well, it was that perfectly crafted.
Guesses: As if to emphasize his roots in R&B and hip-hop, Yeti revealed that his idol is Diddy, who he credited for helping him to “reach the top of the mountain,” which can only mean a number one hit (at least one of them) on the charts, right?
After Rob threw out the idea of Channing Tatum because “stepped up” was in his fan letter, Ken went with Twista, as a Diddy collaborator. The rest of the letter called Yeti a “quadruple threat.” The “stepped up” was saying he’d stepped up with a “Masked Singer” legend, seeming to indicate he’d been in a project with one of the biggest names to get unmasked on this show.
Jenny noted that it could be Ne-Yo, who’s worked with “Masked Singer” legend T-Pain. Nicole suggested he’d also worked with her, but Jenny didn’t seem impressed with that. Based on some of her guesses, we’d hardly call Nicole a legend.
Cluedl-Doo then stuck his beak in to say that Yeti makes a much better panelist than all of them, before saying he’ll be around one more time next week before revealing his identity — so do we know who he is yet? Our money is still on Joel McHale, with Nicole immediately thinking so, too.
Robin, though, joked that it could be Jamie Foxx, which would be absolutely incredible.
As for his clue, Omarion was a panelist on Season 5 of “America’s Best Dance Crew” where he was more competent than most of this panel, and he recorded an album with Bow Wow (aka Frog) called “Face Off” … which is almost “Mask Off.” We’ll take it!
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Chameleon tackled Snoop Dogg and while he put his own stamp on it, it still paled in comparison to the original. Normally, Chameleon has enough swag for days, but he just couldn’t match Snoop’s chill. Instead, as he opted out of a few of the chorus lines, it felt like this was maybe a bit much for him. We know it wasn’t, as we’ve seen him do more in previous weeks, but it felt like he was a bit off his game this week.
Guesses: This week, Chameleon revealed a theater background, and showed that his hero was Jackie Chan, who he said always brings “that rumble to the stage,” just like he does. His superfan letter revealed he’s a friend of Martha Stewart.
The letter also mentions seeing him perform at Madison Square Garden, which is a pretty major venue. But there’s no way this is Snoop Dogg unless he can make himself sound so much not like himself as to pull off what we just witnessed.
Rob randomly threw out Blake Griffin, while Ken keeps thinking this could be Young Thug, which just goes to show that no one has any idea who this really is. At least, no one on the panel.
Honestly, with the stakes higher than ever, this was a little underwhelming as far as vocal performances go. Black Swan clearly stole the night with an incredible vocal, while Yeti was rock solid in switching it up.
We found ourselves a little less impressed with the other three contenders. Chameleon seemed a little swallowed up by his performance, while Russian Dolls chose the wrong song for a competition like this where standing out matters.
As for Piglet, he’s just reaching beyond his ability every week and we feel like he did so again b taking on Stevie Wonder. Ultimately, he just hasn’t been nearly as strong as he was in the earlier rounds, so if it were up to us, he would go home.
Alas, it’s not up to us, and one off week spelled the end of the road for Russian Dolls. It’s a shame, because unlike Piglet, they’ve been incredible in every single round before this one. Should they pay such a steep price for one off week when he’s had several in a row now?
As it turns out, it doesn’t matter if they should or not. They did. At least Nick told us it was a close vote, but we’re still pretty disappointed. We thought they could go all the way.
- Robin Thicke: first impression (Black Eyed Peas), final guess (Sugarland)
- Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Boyz II Men), final guess (Hanson)
- Ken Jeong: first impression (Donny & Marie Osmond), final guess (Jonas Brothers)
- Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (the cast of “Glee”), final guess (Hanson)
- Rob Riggle: final guess (Hanson)
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At least we were feeling incredibly confident in this guess. It’s sounded like Hanson since the beginning, and the internet has been so confident from the start that the ‘90s trio of brothers has been beneath these masks, it’s hard not to get on board.
And of course that’s exactly who it was, though we still found ourselves surprised that all three Hanson brothers were able to fit fairly comfortably underneath that largest of the Russian Doll costume pieces.
We’re still pretty outraged about the whole thing, as Russian Dolls were by no means even the weakest performance of the night, much less the season. Thankfully, we don’t have to vent anymore about it, because the internet was happy to step up and do it for us.
And yes, we agree with you, it was Piglet’s time to go. He’s been faltering for weeks now and yet somehow is still considered this great threat, even by the other contestants. We all know Black Swan is going to win this thing now, right?
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“The Masked Singer” continues Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.