Ken Jeong finally manages to make a guess so terrible that a random audience member actually shouts for him to sit down!
It’s getting down to the nitty gritty on “The Masked Singer” as the four remaining Group B semi-finalists take to the stage -- with only half of them surviving the night.
To try and help the panelists not embarrass themselves too much with their awful guesses, Cheryl Hines returned -- only she proved as awful as they were. We don’t want to say too much, but one of her final -- and we do mean final -- guesses was George Foreman.
In fact, the guessing was so bad that Ken Jeong was actually heckled by a random woman in the audience, who shouted at him to sit down while he was spouting off another nonsensical justification for his terrible guess. At least she didn’t say, “Sit yo’ ass down.” We think Nick Cannon has that trademarked.
Thankfully, it’s not just about the awful guessing from our celebrity sleuths. There’s also the singing, and things really tightened up this week with Group B. There have been some clear front-runners in Banana Split and Queen of Hearts, but Caterpillar proved he’s got some skills and Mallard continues to surprise.
When the talent gets tight like this, crazy things can happen. And when it’s a double elimination, awful things can happen. Did they?
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.
Banana Split wasn’t quite as dynamic on this vocal as we’ve seen them in the past, but “Poker Face” doesn’t offer a lot of room to really shine. Nevertheless, it was still a solid vocal and proof that this is a consummate professional. And Banana shifted over to the drums for some subtle accompaniment before briefly conducting some strings … versatility!
Guesses: So if anyone was thinking these are pop stars, they’d better think twice. Well, maybe one of them thinks she is -- or certainly aspired to be. Banana joked that one of them dreamed of being a pop star, but it didn’t work out.
Ice Cream shot back, “Excuse me!” He insisted he wasn’t talking about her, so either he was or he was talking about himself. Either way, it still fits the internet’s favorite guess that this is Katharine McPhee and David Foster.
After all, following her disappointing (for many) second place finish on “American Idol,” McPhee clearly had designs of following Kelly Clarkson to pop stardom, only it didn’t work out that way for her.
This week’s bonus clue theme is “Bring Your Trophy to Work Day,” so they were tasked to bring the one they’re most proud of. Banana Split brought out a Trophy Case, spotlighting a light-up mirror that says “Favorite Hottie.”
Banana joked that it was this one he’s particularly proud of, but in such a way we’re pretty sure it was an honor bestowed upon Ice Cream, and not him. “It’s pretty obvious who the hottie is,” he joked and then got a booty shake from Ice Cream.
As for how she won the award, Ice Cream said, “I don’t remember, and that could be the real problem.” Jenny wondered if maybe this was BFFs, rather than a couple, throwing out Ed Sheeran (who can drum) and Jessie J.
Robin noted that OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder also plays all of these instruments, so could this be him and Leona Lewis? Nicole recalled a “Director” clue from before wondering if it could be John “Macaroni” Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt -- though she had no proof he plays drums.
The internet thinks it’s all very cute, but this is clearly Katherine McPhee a little perturbed at David Foster for embarrassing her out there about that “Favorite Hottie” trophy. Didn’t she agree that it be spotlighted?
Caterpillar switched it up to country and sounded even more authentic on this style than ever before. He had a twang, he had that signature country break in his voice, and he even dropped effortlessly to those low notes. It was not a super high energy performance, but it was a confident, gentle vocal in great pitch with a really rich tone. If he is not a professional singer, he very well could be.
Guesses: This one still has a lot of people scratching their heads, and guessing boy banders. The country thing could be a misdirect, but then there’s the fact he said tonight that he’s never done anything like this before and he’s actually terrified on that stage.
Does he mean performing at all, or perhaps without the support of his bandmates? He did say that he used to sing this and songs like it with his sister, as country music takes him back to his roots, which would certainly narrow down the regions he’s likely from.
His trophy case had him giggling before it was even revealed. His proudest achievement? Coming in first place for State Champion Bible Quiz. “Yeah, he’s from the South,” Nicole said.
He said that this was a crowning achievement for him, but nothing comes close to when he received a VMA award. And now we’re right back to professional singer, so why terrified? How has he never done anything like this? Is he part of a band, but not the singer?
Nicole jumped on this bandwagon, thinking maybe it’s Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, perhaps terrified to be singing without his partner Brian Kelley. But what about all that not country before this? Does Nicole have goldfish memory all of a sudden?
Brian and Cheryl both were thinking maybe actors, and she was determined that this is someone a little bit nerdy -- because of the braces -- so she landed on Jim Parsons, who can “do anything.”
Jenny wondered if maybe this is this season’s Oscar winner, tossing about Luke or Owen Wilson before suddenly a light bulb went off and she lost her damned mind, wanting the “Take It Off” buzzer stat because she knows exactly who this is!
She slammed it down, but could she do better than Ken’s failed attempt to catch someone unawares like last week? She couldn’t do much worse as he thought Pepper was Sara Bareilles (it was Natasha Bedingfield, voted out later that night).
“Big actor, knows how to sing, who would have an Oscar nomination. And this guy was in a huge movie called “Brokeback Mountain’ and he also has a sister, which he mentioned before, Maggie. It’s Jake Gyllenhaal. Robin wasn’t feeling it.
And he shouldn’t because Jenny blew it as much as Ken did. They should call it “The Booby-Trap Button,” because all it does is make you look like a boob on national television. And now the button is gone.
Viewers got a bonus clue when Emily Hampshire recorded a video message saying that whether on the red carpet or dressed as a caterpillar, she will always have his back. She’s done a lot in her career, but “Schitt’s Creek” is the most current and buzzy so could there be a connection to that? Does Dan Levy have this kind of range?
Mallard came out and did his thing like the solidly capable non-professional singer he is. He chose a safe song that didn’t vary much in pitch or tone and kept a pleasant gait throughout it. He’s an enjoyable presence on stage, and clearly is enjoying the ride and his sophisticated character, which makes him entertaining to watch, but he can’t compete with the big singers on this show.
Guesses: We already knew about his teen sweetheart wife, but this week we learned that he’s also got “lots of kids,” and it’s for them that he’s doing this show -- even if they do groan at his dad jokes.
Mallard also said he considers himself the “underduck” this season, before talking smack about all his Group B opponents. He eats banana splits, is a real heartbreaker and caterpillars? Well, they make good bait for fishing.
That and the gentle Southern twang that sits authentically in his voice, even through the distortion, paints this as a true Southern man. But he’s also an extremely well-known one, as evidenced by his hardware.
The trophy he’s most proud of is apparently being named one of Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People. Now, she has generally selected people from all walks of life, so other than being prominent in what he does, it doesn’t narrow things down much by itself.
“Being known as fascinating has always been my true … calling.” There was a hesitation before that last word because as everyone on Twitter knows, this is duck calls and “Duck Dynasty” and Willie Robertson and how has no one on the panel even come close yet? His clues are so obvious at this point!
Nicole might be getting warmer, though, taking Mallard’s underdog thoughts to throw off country music star and consider reality television. But then she said Dog the Bounty Hunter and we’re done with her. Robin said it was a good guess, so he’s done, too.
Ken threw a lot of Garth Brooks jokes, but that’s not right. And Cheryl threw out George Foreman, who does have a lot of kids. But at this point, we have no further use for this panel. These guesses are all over the place. Even Nick couldn’t handle this one.
“This might be the craziest guess range ever,” he said. It also might be the worst. Later, viewers got a bonus clue in a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, which would have probably had the panel guessing that it was JFK under there.
Queen of Hearts brought a purer and more straightforward sound to this Patsy Cline classic, and it really let the texture of her voice shine. She really does have masterful control of her instrument and a powerful range. It’s the rich and nuanced voice of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and has done it at the highest level.
Guesses: Queen of Hearts hinted that this song about heartbreak after your man moves on with another woman (cheating?) is one she can relate to. She said it reminds her of the “best worst time” in her life; worst because a dream was ending she never thought would and best because of how strong she came out the other side Could that be the end of a marriage, or long relationship?
She also talked about how empowering last week’s last-minute song change was after it was so well-received. In fact, she went so far as to say that she now feels she can do anything. And after how she’s switched it up week after week, we’d have to agree.
We also think this stripped back vocal further revealed who it is under the costume, as we could hear the signature sounds that defined her career in the ‘90s coming through. She said the song tells her that if it doesn't work out with a man, you thank God because that just means there’s a better one coming along.
As for her most prized possession, Queen of Hearts scored a Blockbuster Entertainment Award winner. “When I won it, I felt like a real leading lady,” said Queen of Hearts, which had the panel scrambling to remember what those awards were for exactly.
Cheryl wondered if perhaps this could be Kristen Chenoweth, Nicole thought Sia, and Ken wondered if the power of the voice could be pointing to Kelly Clarkson. No one, though, and we do mean no one was feeling it, with some random lady from the audience even shouting for him to sit down.
But did they not hear Jewel in that voice? And the fact that she is a giant jewel of a heart? And literally every clue we’ve gotten about the Queen of Hearts since the beginning of this season. We don’t think she ever sounded more Jewel than tonight, which Twitter has been saying since they first saw her.
With a double elimination, this group is a little more evenly matched than we first expected. Queen of Hearts does seem to be soaring on a different level. On paper, we’d say she and Banana Split would sail right through, but we’re not sure this was Banana Split’s strongest moment.
Mallard and Caterpillar were both entertaining and solidly good, but neither of them have ever really risen to the level of either of the women in this group. And, of course, that worries us that one of them could slip into the next round, leaving a great singer unmasked and out.
The first one gone, though, should most likely be Mallard. His performance tonight just sat there and did nothing for us. But did the audience feel the same way? They did indeed, but Mallard should be thrilled to have come this far among such great singers.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Larry the Cable Guy), final guess (Alan Jackson)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Toby Keith), final guess (Jason Aldean)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Billy Ray Cyrus), final guess (Billy Ray Cyrus)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Dierks Bentley), final guess (Dog the Bounty Hunter)
Cheryl Hines: final guess (George Foreman)
After a slew of terrible guesses, at least Mallard can appreciate that three of the five thought he was a real professional country singer. He does have a very pleasant voice and handled himself very well as a genuine underdog in a world of legitimate singers, so that’s something he can take pride in.
He can also take pride in the fact that even though “Duck Dynasty” was the biggest thing on the planet a few years ago, no one thought this might be Willie Robertson, and of course that’s exactly who it was.
Willie has a bestselling book and a platinum album, his “Duck Dynasty” line has generated nearly half a billion dollars and he’s told stories about he and his wife meeting very young, as well as selling worms and acting as a “human jukebox” on the school bus. And he has five children, which would qualify as “lots.”
After he was unmasked, Willie laughed in sharing that most of the names they threw out are people he’s friends with. “He’s gonna die when he hears that [they] thought I was him,” Willie said, without specifying which "he" he's talking about. Our guess is all of them.
After watching the duck fly the coop, it was time for another elimination, and we’re still feeling that Caterpillar is the most in danger. He was stronger than Mallard, but he’s still not at the caliber of Banana Split or Queen of Hearts.
The only way he could survive is if somehow the audience wanted more gender parity in the finals, and they don’t think Banana counts as male enough since he doesn’t sing. But in all seriousness, this one should have been pretty obvious.
Thankfully, the audience had their ears fully tuned and were listening carefully, as it was indeed -- as Nick would say -- Caterpillar who was poised to crawl off the stage. But not before we could finally find out who it was.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Howie D), final guess (AJ McLean)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Brian Littrell), final guess (Owen Wilson)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Aaron Carter), final guess (Dan Levy)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Chris Brown), final guess (Tyler Hubbard)
will.i.am: final guess (Jim Parsons)
As it turns out, none of them were close, though some sleuths online did figure it out. Largely, it was the Taylor Swift connection that turned them on to “Queer Eye” star Bobby Berk. He’s a part of the Fab 5, and he fronted a Christian rock band.
He also moved out at 15 because he was gay in the Bible Belt -- and that’s among the least accepting places in the country -- and lived out of his car for a period of time. The clues all fit if you line them up, but that singing voice was more unknown than his backstory, which is how he hid so well.
He’s also got a great personality and sense of humor, which he displayed almost immediately by trashing the panel for just how bad they are at playing this game called “The Masked Singer.” And he did it by praising the entertainment value of the show.
“We need people who make us smile,” he told the panel. “No matter how stupid some of the things you say are, they’re funny!” Wait, was that a compliment? It was dead accurate, but was it a compliment?
“The Masked Singer” returns for the Group A finale on Wednesday, December 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.