Four became five again as Group A welcomed Orca -- but could this new singer do what Kermit the Frog could not and actually get the tone-deaf Raccoon out of this competition?
Joel McHale returned to the panel just in time for the biggest game-changer yet on this season of “The Masked Singer,” the arrival of our first wild-card contestant.
Enter the Orca, swimming into the competition to see if he can give the audience and panel another reason to not get rid of Raccoon. Yes, we’re still bitter that his terrible singing somehow outlasted Snail (aka Kermit the Frog).
Russian Doll surprised yet again, with a new twist in their performance this week that -- well, many of us saw coming, while Seashell continued to come out of her (ahem) shell and grow in confidence and Robopine brought Nicole to tears.
It was all rather beautiful, as he serenaded Nicole with his smooth silky vocals. Not to be left out, though, Raccoon offered the same sort of attention to Jenny -- only, it didn’t sound nearly as pretty. Like not at all.
So, could the arrival of Orca upset the other contestants of Group A, or was he thrown back into the sea as quickly as he was reeled onto the stage? Good lord, what’s happening to us? We’re starting to sound like Nick Cannon or Niecy Nash!
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.
Russian Doll came out with a whole new look, and a whole new member. The duo became a trio as the big doll was gone, replaced by three like-sized dolls. And this trio really had lovely harmonies, while featuring at least two soloists with very different tonal qualities. But this was clearly a performance by a well-seasoned group used to singing together as they sounded absolutely lovely together.
Guesses: The clue package detailed a harrowing medical crisis for one of the dolls that almost changed him permanently, but the glue that holds them together was able to carry him through. New imagery included a letterman jacket with an M on it, and the world HELP spelled out in blocks (with the E tilted).
This week’s on-stage clue was a self-portrait art project, which looked a bit like an Andy Warhold repeating image (with 21 total images of Russian Doll behind the wheel of a car. “These colors really pop like we do,” said one of them, making us think pop music.
The three banjo strings in the clue package also make us think that maybe this is all the members. Jenny was still contemplating Lady A, but Robin noted that Sugarland suffered a horrible stage-collapsing accident -- though we think those were male vocals.
Joel threw out Boyz II Men, but Ken wondered if the high-five we saw one give the other in the clue package could be a Jackson 5 reference, and this is a bunch of Jacksons. As one of them turned around at that suggestion, even Neicy shut that down. And she’s right, it’s not.
Now that Twitter is in our ear with their Hanson guess, it’s easy to hear their vocals in that performance. Or if not them, a group similar to them in sound, style and musical approach. This does not sound like a country act -- or the Jacksons!
Even Cluedl-Doo’s new clue of them bantering backstage about whether or not they have a fourth member suggests they do not… Is there a baby Hanson? Well, between the brothers, there are thirteen Hanson babies, but would any of them suit up to play with their dads?
There’s no convincing Twitter of any other guess, (though we did see a Big Time Rush and Jonas Brothers thrown in there), as they are absolutely over the moon in anticipation of their favorite ‘90s group emerging form underneath the masks at some point down the road -- our guess, some point way down the road.
Raccoon was both slightly better and infinitely worse than his “Wild Thing” performance. He again talked his way through most of this song, but had no rhythm or sense of timing. It was hard for the track to even know what to do with whatever he was singing. He even stopped to shout directly at Jenny.
Guesses: This week, we learned that Raccoon is starstruck by Jenny and that he’s surprised by his Hollywood success, which came later in life. He said he trained as a boxer, later trained a movie star and then somehow became one himself.
There were images of fighters with mustaches, blowing bubbles and a closeup on a coffee grinder. His self-portrait included bats flying around him, and a monologue about trying to catch raccoons in your backyard. He might not be able to sing, but his personality is absolutely adorable.
Robin considered Tony Danza, who did start his career as a star athlete before coming a little later into acting, but we don’t think quite as later as Raccoon was indicating in his package. Nicole, though, was wondering if maybe it was “Rocky” himself, Sylvester Stallone. Could “Rocky Raccoon” be a layered clue?
Jon Voight was Jenny’s guess, but Raccoon could only giggle at that before he started serenading her again. It was all very cute and very odd at the same time.
The whole thing was a bit much for Twitter, who spent as much time trashing (get it?) the performance as they did making their guesses. But their top pick at this point might just be Danny Trejo, if they can make that scratchy high-pitched wail match his face.
Scratching my Gary Busey guess for Raccoon in favor of Danny Trejo, a former boxer who started his acting career later in life. #TheMaskedSinger
Robopine got Nicole in tears by pointing to her before tearing into this John Legend song like he’d written it. He sang it like a genuine serenade to the girl he loves and his voice was so stunningly rich and beautiful, he’s right up there among the best of the R&B genre. He has to be a successful singer already because there’s no way he’d have that much control, intention and emotional connection otherwise.
Guesses: It turns out that Robopine remembers street cleaners in Costa Rica, and credits that type of public service -- perhaps including police officers -- for instilling in him the strong work ethic that’s seen him already on big stages like this. Well, maybe not exactly like this.
We saw a lightning bolt on a necklace, plush cat and mouse, an hourglass symbol on one of those street cleaner trash cans and we learned that he still steps out to help them from time to time in appreciation. He also shared that he’s been in a funk lately, but this show is helping lift him out of it.
We suspect Nicole might be, too, because that was some pretty hardcore flirting. After pointing to her, he basically performed the whole song directly at her, standing in front of her on the stage and really connecting -- even through a robot porcupine costume.
His self-portrait clue was a very dramatic rock-and-roll shot of him rocking the guitar with blonde hear and wearing a spiderweb shirt to confront his fears of spiders. Nicole really just wanted to guess Brian McKnight, because does she really know if he’s afraid of spiders or not?
Nicole rejected the idea he might be 60 and from Costa Rica, instead taking that cat to Jason Derulo, because that’s where she wanted to go. Is Nicole just trying to manifest the hot guy she wants to be under that suit because he was making moon (robot) eyes at her?
Robin found himself wondering if the superhero and red-eye imagery could point to Wesley Snipes, while Ken thought maybe it was Snipes’ “Dolemite” co-star Eddie Murphy -- but we don’t think either of them are quite this good as singers.
“The fact that we both have rodents in love with us is kind of telling,” Jenny told Nicole as Robopine made his way off the stage.
Twitter, though, is thinking along the lines of a Tyrese, who’s definitely had his very public ups and downs emotionally in recent years. That said, we also saw guesses for the likes of Terry Crews, Jesse L. Martin, Jamie Foxx and Lionel Richie, so it’s not a done deal … but Tyrese is definitely pulling ahead!
Seashell was more “Confident” this time around, but still came across like someone who’s talented as a singer, but never really pursued it long enough to make a career out of it or learn things like proper breath control to tackle a song like this one. She’s got a good tone and lots of power, but she’s unpolished yet.
Guesses: The number two surfaced again, this time on a stopwatch, in a clue package that saw seashell tiny in various real-world scenes. We saw her in front of bagels and pretzels, under the bed hiding from a giant hand, on a desk under a lamp and falling out of a cactus pot.
The cacti were among several images (including a heart in one of them) like the gray cat, a black dog and a whole baseball segment that seemed to suggest the man she was talking about who asked her out and is always there to catch her may just be a baseball player.
Seashell’s self-portrait called her “Supershell” and featured a tornado of random objects that she’s maybe making (with a peace sign?). Swirling inside were a mixing bowl of batter, a book, a microphone and a dumbbell. She said it resembles the many hats she wears, which can be a bit much at times.
Joel thinks that maybe Ashlee Simpson is making a post-baby comeback, as she likes to cook and we’ve seen cooking imagery thus far. Ken took the script from the clue package to Jenny Slate’s “Marcel the Shell” book, adding that she cooks a lot on the ‘Gram, so he thinks it’s her.
Robin paired her going solo with the clue from last time of her traveling with her family when younger to think maybe it was cooking show host and Hilary Duff big sister, Haylie Duff. But Twitter is only growing more and more confident that’s another famous sister (sister).
Tamera Mowry used to be married to a baseball player, which was easily the night’s biggest clue. But at least there’s a hint of uncertainty that it could be … her sister, Tia. But that’s about as far as they’re willing to go, and even that doesn’t have much support.
There were a few stray guesses out there, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Lea Michele, but they are awash in a sea of Tamera guesses. Cooking show, baseball husband, traveling with her family as a kid and all those twos. It’s all there.
Seashell is obviously Tamera. The clues from night one gave it away, but also, her husband used to be a professional baseball player. I don’t know how they don’t hear her voice and just know..🤨 #TheMaskedSingerpic.twitter.com/DjeLiiaTWO
Orca brought the rock, and immediately proved he’s not a seasoned rock singer. He may be a singer, but he didn’t have the push to really sell the anger of this piece. It was a solid vocal performance, and he certainly knows how to entertain the crowd, but it sounded like someone who’s a singer, but not a rocker, having some fun on a rock track.
Guesses: Brand new to the show as a Wild Card, we got our first clues this week for Orca, and they were all about pizza delivery. Apparently, at 24 years old and with one more year before his dad told him he’d have to give up, he started slipping his audition tapes into pizza boxes for his deliveries.
He said he was close to becoming a punchline at that point, suggesting he may have been known, but not for what he wanted. The pizza menu showed orange, lemon and pumpkin pizza and later a bowl of what looked like hard candies had similar fruity colors.
While talking about his time running out, a spinning clock stopped at 2:59. He also threw another number at us, with the pizza shop’s address: 1313 Melville Court. His masterpiece had what looked like a fighter jet and him hanging ten on a surfboard, with the whole thing looking like graffiti street art.
He said he’s always a killer, always the biggest fish in any sea, so he catches the big wave. Nicole’s knee-jerk reaction was Laird Hamilton based on the “biggest waves” comment, but even she’s not buying it.
Instead, she actually thinks the fighter plane is a reference to Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly,” but Dave Grohl definitely would bring a more confident rock edge to his performance than that. Joel actually had a decent guess with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, because he does have that interesting nasally whine that would make more of a traditional rock push more challenging.
Jenny went down a different path, noting that Kevin Bacon recently went viral for singing a “New Kids on the Block” song to his goat (“As you do,” Nicole noted), so could this be him? She also connected the 1313 to “Apollo 13” and “Friday the 13th,” his first movie.
With a lot less to go on, the internet pretty quickly latched onto the notion that Orca might just be Adam Sandler (24 years old when he landed “SNL”). They had some other guesses, like Mark McGrath (tying the Sugar Ray album 14:59 to military time for 2:59 pm and the fact he says they got their record deal with a tape in a pizza box), but Adam still took an early lead.
Another interesting-- but unlikely guess -- is Rami Malek, with Twitter saying he used to put headshots in pizza boxes -- but we think Mark is probably the most likely. Adam Sandler seems to be a popular early guess online, reminding us of the panel and Jamie Foxx, but it seems unlikely either of them would do this show.
The Wild Card didn’t come in as the strongest singer, but neither did he do anything to make Raccoon’s journey any easier on this show. As much fun as he is when standing and chatting with the panel, his performance was just not great.
As Joel pointed out, he didn’t sing as much as he did throughout that, so he didn’t even give us a full routine to really enjoy. There’s just no way he should move on past anyone else in this competition, as everyone else actually does have singing chops.
So did justice prevail, or did something crazy happen? The good news is that the voting audience and panel proved that sometimes they can get it right … when it’s this damned easy. And so the journey came to an end for Raccoon.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Danny DeVito), final guess (Tony Danza)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Dustin Hoffman), final guess (Gary Busey)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Mike Tyson), final guess (Danny DeVito)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Gary Busey), final guess (Sylvester Stallone)
Joel McHale: final guess (Tony Danza)
The panel was a little bit all over the place, but we started to think that maybe this could be Danny Trejo, as a former boxer who found fame as an actor later in his life. He’s always been incredibly humble and appreciative of his success, and definitely willing to goof off and have fun -- despite his tough-guy persona and image.
So were any of us right? As he started taking his pants off, we found ourselves wondering what the big reveal would turn out to be? Well, it turned out to be Danny Trejo, clearly living his best life and enjoying every opportunity that comes his way.
As for his admiration for Jenny, he said it comes from raising two autistic kids, so he loves the work that she does, “and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.” Jenny, who has an autistic son herself, has been at the forefront of raising awareness of autism.
She also found herself embroiled in anti-vaxxer controversy when she was among those suggesting a connection between vaccines and autism -- which has not been proven scientifically -- though she has tried to emphasize she's more about assuring vaccines are safe.