Prince, Space Bunny and somewhere between one and six Queen Cobras took the stage for the best non-finale night ever -- but only one act would survive!
For the first time all season on “The Masked Singer,” there was not a weak link we could easily point to. All three finalists in this third group were incredible and deserving of a spot in the finale -- but only one could land it.
That’s right, on top of being the best night of competition and singing all season long, it was an impossible double elimination. How can you vote out Prince? Or Space Bunny? Or Queen Cobra; however many of them there actually are.
It was fun anticipating their performance, because Queen Cobra started with one up front and performing, followed by two last week. And yes, the number changed again this week. Is it perhaps the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?
By the time it was all said and done, two of the performers stood unmasked with one moving onto the finale. With one representative each from Teams Good, Bad and Cuddly, Team Good was looking for a clean sweep.
Could Prince emerge victorious to make it an all-Good finale with Firefly and Ringmaster? Or could Queen Cobra bring some Bad to the party? Or how about Space Bunny, hopping along with some Cuddly?
What we can say is that it was almost impossible to choose who should go home after an incredible night of performances -- and we do not agree with these results. Seriously, why aren’t we consulted before big decisions like this?
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.
Along with the panel’s guesses, we'll be sharing some internet speculation, too, so if you don't want to be potentially spoiled (because they are very good at this), you may want to skip past the guesses sections.
(“Sir Duke,” Stevie Wonder)Prince has stage presence galore and a very cool quality to his voice. Oddly enough, we were getting some Sammy Davis Jr. vibes in his intonation and his overall sound, which is not at all a common sound out there. But it had us against thinking more showman and theatrical, perhaps, than a recording artist. That they sing for a living feels like a given.
Guesses: In his “fairy tale” clue, Prince talked about the years that it took him to finally be recognized for his true talent. While talking about this, we saw him with a pencil and sheet music, suggesting he might be a songwriter or composer.
Instead, he said he was judged by his outside appearance, saying that for years while he was trying to share his talent, no one was listening. Imagery throughout the piece included bats, one of the men in black tapping a watch face, a spotlighted high five, an airplane, and a shot of Carnegie Hall.
His performance also featured framed images of his “Masked Singer” competitors, both gone already and still in the running. He talked about being misunderstood coming from a small town, and becoming known for other things than his first love, which is music. So he wanted the chance to reconnect with his “original joy.”
Jenny was thinking this could be a “boy bander,” bandying about names like AJ McLean, JC Chasez. Robin thought bigger and Broadway, reaching and bending back to an earlier clue to find “Pitch Perfect” star Ben Platt.
Nicole was in the same book, at least, thinking it could be Andrew Rannells, who played the king in “Hamilton,” was also in “The Book of Mormon” and has performed at Carnegie Hall.
Twitter, though, is still convinced it's Cheyenne Jackson under there -- he's performed twice at Carnegie. The only other guess with any traction is Jeremy Jordan.
(“Now That We Found Love,” Heavy D & The Boyz f. Aaron Hall)Space Bunny seemed more in his element, and maybe this is what he’s been hiding all season long -- he’s a rapper. He definitely had a confident flow, with a very familiar sounding voice, while also delivering quality singing in the opening chorus. Turns out there’s more layers to this bunny than we thought!
Guesses: Like Prince, Space Bunny also talked about coming from a small town, but he moved with his mom to the fast-paced city. Beyond small town, he suggested that the people where he came from lived off the land and danced in the streets, suggesting possible Caribbean or Latin heritage.
He talked about staying connected to his roots by leaving a trail of crumbs behind him, which he still does, suggesting this is someone who proudly proclaims his roots throughout what he does. He also opened up about his new friends in the city turning bad, but he was able to avoid that and stay on his path.
Throughout the video, we saw his friends with a boom box, dangling a carrot in front of him and even wielding a drill. Early on, he was shown a crown on a pillow during the sequence talking about the small community he came from.
When Nick asked him how he felt, he said he was feeling great, but then quickly fixated on Nick’s “bling,” asking where Nick got it in a playful exchange. Clearly, Space Bunny was having an absolute blast on the stage. It was enough for Nick to believe he knew who it was.
The “island time” reference to the clue had Jenny thinking Sean Kingston, who announced a national boxing league for rappers. She somehow took the dumbbell mega clue from last week to mean boxing -- because boxers work out? So do a lot of people. But she was better wondering if the crown was a reference to that last name.
Ken Jeong went in a totally different direction, he said, and it was clear no one was steering this particular ship. He tied the crown to “Royal Tenenbaums” star Owen Wilson, who sounds nothing at all like this.
Robin, though, agreed with our Caribbean vibe, thinking the boom box is for “Mr. Boombastic,” the two angels for another song and the red handprint for being caught red handed. He’s feeling Shaggy, which is also the internet’s favorite guess.
(“Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic)Queen Cobra brought three (of six) singers forward this time, which matches their talk in the intro suggesting there are three of them. On a sassy and complicated vocal, they handled it like the pros they simply must be. Each has a distinct sound, with incredible talent, but their harmonies are so tight, it suggests they’ve been at this together for a while.
Guesses: The queens said they finally discovered that their greatest strength was each other, which lines up with what we just witnessed. This was an incredible performance, both in staging and the power of their voices combined.
The clue also featured a shot of three people posting like “Charlie’s Angels,” while we also saw three other women playing saxophone, oddly enough: Ariana Grande, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Those voices are no joke!
While they talked about coming from different worlds, but each with a “wicked” talent, other visuals included a bowl of red hot chili peppers, a replica of The Thinker statue with a $0,00 price tag and even one of the men in black wound up with a saxophone.
When Nick asked them their favorite fairy tale, they offered up “The Wiz,” keeping things in that classic ‘80s and ‘90s R&B vibe. They said they have their weaknesses, but walk together down that yellow brick road so they can “bang down the door.”
Ken immediately latched onto the phrasing of “bang” to the song “Bang Bang” to find Ariana Grande, appearing in “Wicked,” Jessie J with her song “Price Tag,” and the heart last week referring to Nicki Minaj. Nick, though, said, “Don’t clap for that.” Ariana wouldn't be a clue and in the group.
Robin recalled the ‘90s clue from their first week and wondered if maybe this wasn’t ‘90s sensation SWV, tying the thinking man to “You Are Always on My Mind.” Nicole, though, took it from the voice and thinks the statue is about “Free Your Mind” and this is En Vogue, which is where Twitter had already landed.
They even noted that En Vogue has had six total members throughout the years, with three current. That would explain the three leads we got, and the six total Cobras in these performances. It's a great way to honor their legacy -- and everything is a clue!
For their last chance to impress, the three semi-finalists hit the stage together to tackle the same song. It's a great way to showcase their diversity as artists, how well they can collaborate vocally, and who stands out just a bit more from others in the pack.
(“Roar,” Katy Perry) Easily the best showdown of the season, we can’t even nitpick anyone’s performance. We appreciated that Space Bunny reminded us all that he’s got a great singing voice alongside those rap skills, as he went note for note with Prince in the opening lines of this.
As for Queen Cobra, the ladies held down the chorus, and when all five were singing, their harmonies were gorgeous. We’d be lying if we didn’t find ourselves feeling emotional watching this moment, as it was just an incredible moment of incredibly gifted people coming together (in silly costumes) to make magic.
The problem is it also left us absolutely stumped. Rather than reveal an obvious front-runner -- or at least someone falling behind -- this Showdown did no such thing. It showed us three incredible strong acts, each deserving in their own unique way of a chance to advance to the finale.
Even though he’s blown us away these past few weeks showcasing a different side of his talent that we believe is underappreciated in his actual career -- giving us T-Pain vibes from Season 1 -- we just couldn’t imagine Space Bunny outlasting either of his competitors. He’s incredible, but the others have just a bit more range and power in what they do.
Even Nick urged the panel and audience to vote for their favorite solo performance, emphasizing the “solo,” probably because there was almost no way to differentiate any of them after one of the best group performances ever on this show.
In the end -- and after an incredibly long dramatic pause -- the voters agreed with us and ended the journey of Space Bunny. In this group and at this stage, there are no losers, though, as all three of them have been incredible.
Robin Thicke: Shaggy
Jenny McCarthy: Sean Kingston
Ken Jeong: Owen Wilson
Nicole Scherzinger: Shaggy
By this point, we were fully on board the Shaggy train, and the clues tying to his various songs only solidified that guess, so there was no surprise when it was a smiling Shaggy revealed when the mask finally came off.
He impressively had no hint of accent while rapping this week, and yet he was so authentically Caribbean in his previous two weeks, showing off much more powerful and impressive vocals than most probably ever thought he had, based on his biggest hits.
Down to these two acts, it almost feels like a crap shoot at this point. Prince and Queen Cobra are both true royalty on this show, delivering some of the most vocally impressive performances of the entire season. Can Prince actually make it a Team Good clean sweep?
If it were up to us, just for the incredible individual vocal performances and those stellar harmonies together, we’d have to give it up to Queen Cobra. We’ve not had a group win this show yet, but if ever there was one worthy, they’d be right up there.
Somehow, it indeed was a Good sweep, as Prince swept Queen Cobra out of the competition altogether. We agree that he’s a fantastic singer with a lot of theatrical power and range, but we can’t say we thought he delivered more impressive moments than the ladies.
Robin Thicke: SWV
Jenny McCarthy: En Vogue
Ken Jeong: Ariana Grande, Jessie J & Nicki Minaj
Nicole Scherzinger: En Vogue
Nicole noted that the thinker was free, as in “Free Your Mind,” and they have a song “Rocket,” while Jenny reminded everyone that they appeared in “Batman Forever,” tying into that Batman symbol clue. Honestly, we’re not sure how Robin and Ken could go in different directions?
Of course this was En Vogue, with those incredible harmonies and powerful voices. We’re still a little crushed that we won’t get to hear them perform again in the season finale, but it was great getting a few moments to watch them do their thing unmasked. They’re definitely among the best ever and a huge get for the show.
And we definitely weren't alone with our disappointment in this result!
Now #TheMaskedSinger know they wrong for voting of #QueenCobrasMask tonight 🙄. Queen Cobras killed their performances every single week!! I am so upset that they were eliminated tonight. #ThePrinceMask should have been eliminated, not them.