As hugely well-known as this person became through reality television, they were already a household name long before that -- and then they would go on to achieve a whole new level of fame!
In a season of “Game Changers” on “The Masked Singer,” Nicole came up with a guess that would be the biggest game-changer of all time, if true. Of course, we’ve already unmasked Kermit the Frog, so anything truly is possible!
We can spoil that tonight’s unmasked celeb was not a puppet, so it was nice to see a real person emerge from under that mask. And it was definitely one of the most famous people on the planet … who then became even more famous!
Tonight brought the second half of the main group of competitors (there are Wild Card contestants ready to disrupt the game next week) and several really incredible voices along the way. We also saw the season’s cutest competitor in Grandpa Monster.
You might be over these Monster derivatives, but this character and the portrayal might just change your mind. It is absolutely adorable. And on top of that, we think he’s one of the stronger singers in a pretty solid group.
We say pretty solid, because there was one performer who really didn’t rise to the occasion at all. In fact, we’d dare to say they were absolutely terrible. But terrible doesn’t always mean you go home on this show. Just as Rob Gronkowski.
Do we have another White Tiger on our hands? Read on to find out, and to find out who got unmasked and how hilarious it was watching Ken’s reaction.
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.
Black Swan had more of a rock edge in her voice than we’ve ever heard on this show. With power, grit and range, she was surprisingly in her own world when it came to timing a lot. So we were torn on if this was intentional, an issue with hearing, or indicative that she’s not a singer, despite definitely having a singer’s vocal prowess. She’s an interesting one.
Guesses: Lending credence to her being a singer, was the first clue was that she “covered a monster,” which has us thinking she’s performed a well-known cover of a song from one of the previous Monster characters (T-Pain, Chaka Khan … Bob Saget?)
Other clues included a stopwatch labeled with a 5, a red bishop chess piece and a diamond ring with a tiny spotlight on the gemstone. She said she was captured in a net and hypnotized by a Hollywood deal.
We saw images including a snowy forest, a castle with doves flying and her stepping onto a red X a la a singing competition show. Is she a reality alum and it was on that show she covered one of our Monster character’s songs?
Ken Jeong went with a pretty lazy guess, seeing a chess piece and immediately jumping to “Queen’s Gambit” star Anya Taylor-Joy. Jenny was getting girl group vibes, wondering if the 5 could refer to “X Factor” alum, and Fifth Harmony alum, Camila Cabello.
Nicole, though, wondered if the thing that was really different for Black Swan (she said this was way outside her comfort zone) was perhaps the vocal style, and this was UK “X Factor” star Leona Lewis.
The internet, though, has a top pick they’re feeling pretty confident and it’s a first name familiar to “Masked” fans. They’re confident they know that voice and it’s JoJo (not Siwa) Levesque (better known as just JoJo).
Seriously, JoJo fans were guessing her from a promo that featured just seconds of her performance based solely on her signature vocals. When they’re this sure this quickly, it suggests they might be onto something.
There were a few other guesses, including Kesha, Ally Brooke, Jessie J and even Demi Lovato -- but the overwhelming consensus is that JoJo has arrived on “The Masked Singer” stage.
Black Swan is definitely Ms. Joanna Levesque aka JoJo… I KNOW that voice#TheMaskedSinger
Grandpa Monster has a nice tone, but he didn’t have great breath control or management on this song. By the end of it, you could hear him struggling a little bit to find his breaths, making us wonder if there wasn’t some truth beyond the character to the coughing fit he wrapped up with. It’s a pleasant voice, but he’s definitely not a professional-level vocalist.
Guesses: Well, he’s definitely not as old as his character, as evidenced by the way he jumped around the stage, clearly having an absolute blast. His clue suggested he’d trained for battle, and he spoke of having such a bad boy reputation, he worried it would linger when he was unmasked.
But he also said he’d turned his life around after acting out in his younger years, becoming a star pupil. Images included a chalkboard with football plays in the shape of the number 6 (is he an athlete who wears that number?), as well as what looked like a shooting star hitting a cobweb.
We saw a 6.2 ton kettlebell, two agents playing beach volleyball with a beach ball and he had bingo imagery behind his performance. But we must say, he should never twerk again. The costume does not make it clear enough that’s what he’s doing!
He said he did the show as a chance to start fresh beyond the perceptions that people have of him. Robin did a great job of following the star clue to Texas A&M, landing on Johnny Manziel, who had a hugely problematic streak back in the day, which ultimately cost him an NFL career..
Nicole wondered if maybe it was wrestler the Miz, but we’ll give props to Ken for logicking beautifully that it might be Scott Disick, in part because the 97 percent grade is because Scott only dates women born after 1997.
Grandpa dropped the mic and ghosted, then, so maybe these were all terrible guesses. Well, at least, Ken’s was.
Twitter was in love with this new take on the Monster costume, with a wide range of guesses including Jay Cutler, Baker Mayfield, Mark Sanchez and no it isn’t The Rock. There was also a lot of support for Robin’s guess with a large consensus confident that footwork was indicative of a football player.
Chameleon definitely had command of this Nelly classic, proving he’s got rhythm and a nice, melodic flow. He struggled just a bit with breath at the end of long lines, suggesting he’s not used to performing like this vocally, but he’s definitely got a real sense of musicality and a fun stage presence.
Guesses: This dude looks crazy tall, but he also appears to be wearing platform shoes so it might be a bit of an illusion. His clue package was all about technology, from digital imagery to his story about his father teaching him how to tinker with electronics.
Then, he said that when things took a dive for him, he used those skills to amplify his career and “change the game,” suggesting he’s a creative innovator in whatever field he works in. The whole presentation had us immediately thinking of a DJ, but is that too obvious? When he talked about it, we did see a turntable.
We also learned he has a history with precious gemstones, saw a pair of red fuzzy dice numbered 2 and 3, as well as a “Camoflag” license plate. We saw a video game controller and a game that looked like a cross between “Excitebike” and “Pitfall,” as well as the numbers 007 on a monitor.
When asked why this show, he said in his sultriest voice that he loves being in front of people, “Whether it’s on stage, or in your home.” Ken wondered if maybe the 23 refers to LeBron James, so maybe it’s teammate Dwight Howard.
Robin, however, took a different approach, wondering if perhaps it’s LMFAO’s Redfoo, son of the famous record producer Berry Gordy. But Nicole took it in an absolutely bonkers direction, suggesting that this season of surprises means that it’s Nick Cannon.
It’s crazy, but is it that crazy? Maybe the whole COVID-19 thing was a lie, and the reason they could never say when he might come back is they didn’t know how long Chameleon would last. Could Nick Cannon chameleon into a contestant on his own show?
“I think they’re Scooby-duping us!” she said, with Jenny thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s not as crazy an idea as it sounds. So for now, we’re going to climb on board because it would be great if she was right.
While there was some support for Nicole’s crazy idea, there was a larger consensus on who Chameleon might be and that’s Wiz Khalifa. As one fan put it, at 6’4” “he’s definitely tall enough.”
In fact, it quickly became the dominant guess online, with many starting to fit the clues into his story, as well. It’s another of those times where their collective confidence starts to get you on board. But wouldn’t it be great if it was Nick?
Chameleon sounds like Wiz Khalifa...he's definitely tall enough! #TheMaskedSinger
Phoenix definitely does not perform professionally. There was almost no movement at all, the rhythm was terrible and she basically talked the whole way through. As such, we started to feel even more confident we knew who this was.
Guesses: Fans of a certain reality show probably picked up on the particular cadence and nasally vocal style even with the voice manipulator on, but as soon as she started performing, we became absolutely convinced we knew who this was.
Clues talked about people seeing a winner, suggesting she was a former winner. She looked at the stars through a Hopescope 81 to see a sports car. There were lots of candles, some ballet shoes and she said she never really told her dad her truth.
Further comments about hiding behind a mask for most of her life, even from those closest to her, really had us absolutely convinced even before the performance was over that this was Caitlyn Jenner, who didn’t come out as transgender until 2015.
It seemed almost as obvious as Wendy Williams and JoJo Siwa. Some voices and personalities are too distinctive. But then again, are we right? She told the panel she’d flown with one of them recently, but they’d also never met, which didn’t make that super helpful.
Nicole, though, wondered if perhaps it could be Jonathan Van Ness, while Jenny suggested Jane Lynch. Both at least agreed with us on LGBTQ vibes in that clue package and the story, with Jenny actually making her way to our first instinct, Caitlyn. If the queen agrees, we’re onto something, right?
Ken, however, thinks the race car, and “here’s the tea” could be suggesting RuPaul, who’s just putting on a voice even he admitted sounds a lot like Caitlyn Jenner. It’s not a bad guess, but we like ours better.
And we’re not alone, as the internet consensus was that Caitlyn’s voice is just too distinctive to hide … and it’s not like she even really tried all that hard to do so. Maybe she wants this to be a short visit?
Piglet came out looking adorably cartoonish and then delivered a beautifully heartfelt performance, leaving us all “Speechless.” This was such a polished and professional vocal, if he’s not a professional singer, he’s got all the abilities and skills necessary to be one. There was such a smooth command of every moment of the song, and even the way he used the stage was effective. He certainly carries himself like a pro up there.
Guesses: Amid a sea of “Bachelor” clues -- or at least a similar show about finding love -- we were told that he knows how to stay cool, even in the heat. He shared that he’s unlucky in love, and that he learned that even the most beautiful flowers can have sharp thorns.
He said he wears his heart on his sleeve (showing a tattoo with an axe crossing the heart) and sees his future on stage. With that voice, we’d agree. Aside from a slew of “Bachelor”-like visuals, we saw an opened fortune cookie and a bouncing question mark (his lost love?).
We learned Piglet had only four days to prepare for doing the show, but since he’s “a ham,” he loves being on stage. Ken wondered if maybe the heartbreak referred to singers who didn’t win “American Idol,” finding a tenuous connection to Adam Lambert. The fact he had to connect the thorn to Adam’s hair tells us it’s a stretch.
Nicole thinks that it could perhaps be Charlie Puth, who had his heart broken by Bella Thorne (aka Season 3’s Swan). The Cloo-ster, Cock-a-Doodle-Clue, whatever, then directed our attention to an alarm clock at 6:00 in Piglet’s clue package, so that’s important, too.
The internet actually did a pretty great job of marrying the quality of that voice with someone who definitely struggled in love -- at least those who didn’t immediately get lost down “The Bachelor” rabbit hole (a few guesses landed on Jed Wyatt who tried to use the show to boost his career).
Nick Lachey now hosts a darting show, by landing on Nick Lachey. His marriage to Jessica Simpson burned out famously in the public eye, while he’s been married to Vanessa Minnillo for a decade now. We’re here for it.
This week’s batch had to be a no-brainer, right? Unless Gonzo the Great is under one of these masks and wants out of the competition, it has to be Phoenix, right? Everyone else could carry a tune, and Phoenix -- well, Phoenix couldn’t even find it on a pretty straightforward rap song.
It was easily one of the worst performances this show has seen, which is fine. Not everyone is a singer or rapper. But we can’t have another White Tiger situation, so we’re hoping this gets nipped in the bud right now and Phoenix can join the Gronk in post-”Masked” infamy.
Thankfully, whoever is voting this time around agreed that Gronk outlasting Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan is a travesty that must be put right, and perhaps this small gesture would be a step in that direction. In other words, it was the end of the road for Phoenix.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Laverne Cox), final guess (Laverne Cox)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Caitlyn Jenner), final guess (Caitlyn Jenner)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Caitlyn Jenner), final guess (RuPaul)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Perez Hilton), final guess (Jonathan Van Ness)
Obviously, we agreed with Jenny -- and the internet -- on this one, which made it even harder to watch Ken talk himself out of what certainly seemed so obviously the right identity for the person beneath the Phoenix mask. But did Ken have us all fooled?
No, Ken was the fool. Of course it was Caitlyn Jenner. That’s one of the most distinctive talking voices on television. And once you started thinking about her, the body language and everything else about her demeanor just fit so perfectly.
Even though Ken absolutely blew it in his final guess, his First Impression was right, so he still gets the point in the battle to take Jenny’s Golden Ear trophy from her. Is he stepping up his guessing game this season? We’ll just have to wait and see.
“The Masked Singer” continues Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.