Three new masks enter the competition, but only one will survive the night -- who makes a quick enough impression to avoid getting unmasked?
After a disappointing first three weeks of “The Masked Singer,” though we are in love with the first “Queen” of the season in Harp, things turned around with a whole new lineup of masks.
For the first time all season long, all three new contenders could sing. Not only could they sing, but they were all incredible singers in their own right, and they couldn’t have been more different. Maize brought an almost androgynous energy, while Mermaid was giving female icon and Robo Girl was giving youthful energy everywhere.
It made for an eclectic and exciting hour of television that finally made it to America after baseball playoffs bumped it entirely last week. This week, it aired almost an hour late in the Eastern and Central time zones, but at least Americans are finally caught up to the show Canadians saw last week -- and were polite enough not to spoil for their southern neighbors.
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber joined the panel this week as he was the theme of the night and all of the songs were from his various legendary musicals. We’re glad they gave us actual singers to take on such iconic songs because they could have so easily been butchered otherwise.
Like in previous episodes, this was a winner-take-all installment. Three masks enter, but only one gets to keep their mask on and move into the next episode. After three weeks of this, the last mask standing becomes the next King or Queen and joins Harp in the semi-finals.
That meant that tonight featured two more unmaskings. Even more remarkably, someone on the panel guessed both of them right. Is it possible that in their eighth season on this show, these yo-yos are finally starting to get good at this show?
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.
(“Heaven on Their Minds,” “Jesus Christ Superstar”)Maize really came out with Broadway on their mind. This was a showstopping vocal performance with the right kind of grit and power for this classic rock opera. There was so much confidence, they were definitely singing to the back of the room … and possibly the people across the street from the studio, as well. There are hints of R&B in there, as well, which makes for a very unique quality that’s not soon forgotten.
Guesses: Maize’s entire clue package was basically a pitch to Lord Webber to make a musical about them. There was talk that they had come up doing impressions of the greats, paired with a microphone with “EMCEE” on it. There was a canary that exploded brought into the scene, a tiny statue of liberty and a red phone box. Maize also talked about moving to the city and struggling to find their place.
One sign of their fantasy musical about themselves was labeled “The Unicorn of Shows,” while another phrase that stood out was that it was a “smash hit waiting to happen,” because that immediately makes us think of the “Smash” TV show that was about making a musical about Marilyn Monroe.
There was also a “perfect planner” clue, and an emphasis on the word “bravo,” which could lead one to think of the network. After the performance, Andrew heaped praise on Maize, saying that whoever they are, they should go professional because they were brilliant.
The on-stage clue was a big scroll which when unfurled read, “TV, Movies, Stage, Even Hosting - Maize Has Fans Frozen to Their Seats.” That, of course, makes you think of the Disney classic and speculate if perhaps Josh Gad is under there?
Jonathan Groff also came up with the panel. Robin wondered if maybe Nathan Lane of “The Birdcage” while Jenny wondered about Matthew Broderick or Mario Cantone, with the clue “carried away” possibly referring to “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw.
The internet wasn't sure about this one either, with guesses in support of the panel, but others ranging from Titus Burguss to Martin Short to even Jessica Lange and Jennifer Lewis. They are thrown!
(“Any Dream Will Do,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”)Mermaid came out sitting on a pearl in a half-shell and actually sang her entire number from that seated position, which is no easy feat. Definitely a veteran performer, Mermaid delivered a solid performance filled with a lot of maturity in that voice and grace, but with no real tricks or memorable moments. It was just presented simply and beautifully.
Guesses: Mermaid said they’re probably as big a legend as Lord Webber, and that may well prove true. We saw “doomsday prepper” as an early clue with the phrase “Simply the Best” obviously evoking Tina Turner. They also dropped the word “supreme,” which brings up that iconic group.
The emotional moment of the clues package came when Mermaid revealed a horrible accident that led to a setback so major they feared they’d never be able to perform. But that “anguish” was turned instead into an “anthem.”
“Before I knew it, oh baby, I was back on my feet,” said Mermaid. They also said they’d performed for princes and popes. Images included stickers spelling out “MOVIES” on sheet music, and a cartoon dancing girl on what looked like a record, along with a full moon during the accident tale.
Mermaid’s scroll read, “Mermaid Makes Waves, Enters Library of Congress Forever.” After skipping out on guessing for Maize, Andrew threw out Gloria Estefan here, who famously suffered a serious accident that nearly ended her career before “Coming Out of the Dark.”
Ken was a little too on point, thinking maybe it was Cher because she, after all, starred in a movie called “Mermaids.” The full moon, for him, was “Moonstruck.” We really think he was just trying to manifest this into reality, but that’s definitely not Cher’s singing voice.
Jenny wondered if the vinyl could be Roberta Flack, while Robin thought of the survivor overcoming a tough obstacle and wondered if it was Miss “I Will Survive” herself, Gloria Gaynor.
The Twittersphere was thinking legends, too, throwing out names like Shirley Bassey, Julie Andrews, and even "Little Mermaid" Jodi Benson, but there was also a lot of support for Gloria Gaynor.
(“Bad Cinderella,” “Bad Cinderella”)Robo Girl is clearly in the prime of her career and vocal power. This performance had attitude, stage presence and such an incredible tone. She had a beautifully soft register with an amplifying belt that grabs your attention. On top of that, a lot of range and such poise and control as a vocalist, she was able to do so much even when she wasn’t doing a lot -- that’s controlling the audience masterfully.
Guesses: We picked up their clues package with Robo Girl in an alley near a dumpster talking about being always in the shadow of other supersters like David Blaine. Imagery included a surfboard and a name tag that read “Stage Name,” suggesting they don’t work professionally under their true name.
They talked about having 86 cents when they finally booked their own job, which put them in a “pretty little spotlight” and helped them gain the “most magical fandom” that gave them “supernatural confidence.”
We also saw to b quarter notes on a treble clef followed by two jars of honey and were told that they “like trolls.” As for their big on-stage clue, the scroll revealed that “While on Tour - Robo Girl Holds Her Own Opposite Multi-Grammy Winner,” suggesting she’s a young artist who tours (or is currently on tour) with a more established star.
Robin wondered if maybe this was Jenna Dewan, who has danced alongside the likes of Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott. Does she have those pipes? But Nicole wondered about that “Stage Name” clue to throw out Becky G, only briefly, before shifting to Keke Palmer.
Ken went with Lucy Hale, tying the surfboard to the Teen Choice Awards, but he thought maybe the Grammys clue could refer to Cara Delevingne, who co-stars with Selena Gomez in “Only Murders in the Building.” The good news is that his second guess wasn’t worse than the first -- they were both equally terrible.
After being chastised by everyone, including the audience, Ken backed up to say that maybe it was Selena herself, which is better … but still not right. As for the internet, they're most consistent guess is "Vampire Diaries" star Kat Graham, we also saw a lot of love for Sofia Carson and Alyson Stoner, so they're not sure, either.
For the first time all season, all three performers could actually sing, which was refreshing and also disappointing to think that two of them would get unmasked. Have we mentioned that we don’t like this new format as you can’t get invested in the journey of your favorites. Remember when we’ve watched performers get better and stronger? There’s no time for that this season!
With all of them being good, it comes down to who did more or gave a more dynamic and memorable performance. Unfortunately, in our minds, that meant that Mermaid should be the first to go. Yes, she’s clearly a vocal legend, but she didn’t energize anything with that performance. It was solid and beautiful, but unremarkable -- and this is a competition.
That’s not how it played out, though, as that quiet confidence and control that Mermaid exuded clearly impressed the live studio audience enough to save her, sending her into the Battle Royale with Robo Girl as Maize became the night’s first victim.
Robin Thicke: Nathan Lane
Jenny McCarthy: Mario Cantone
Ken Jeong: Bowen Yang
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Jack White
Nicole Scherzinger: Jonathan Groff
Before sharing his guess, Andrew complimented Maize again and said he’d love to work with them any time. “Forget about this show,” Nick quipped. “You just got a job with one of the legends.”
Unfortunately, that living legend was wrong about his identity, but Jenny got it exactly right. Mario Cantone has already had an extensive career on Broadway, so Andrew was right to recognize the caliber of his talent.
(“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Evita”)Mermaid gave us what we’d been looking for, with a little more oomph in their performance. We already knew their voice was like butter, but this time it had a little extra kick to wake us up. They’re just so effortless in their talent, luring us in like more of a siren than a mermaid. But where Mermaid flowed, Robo Girl soared, bringing the whole moment to the next level. The vocals had more strength behind them, more range, a surprising moment with a growl, but a lot of breathy heart in the verses, too. They could well be about to go on a three-episode run like Harp just finished in the last episode.
It’s weird to think that a true living icon -- as we feel confident Mermaid is after those two performances -- should be unmasked, but Robo Girl came out and slayed with both of their songs tonight. That is a voice and energy that cannot be denied. Robo Girl was having a moment throughout this episode, and definitely came to play and slay.
We can’t say it was a surprise at all that the studio audience had the same experience we did, as they were whooping and hollering for Robo Girl all night long; certainly more than for any of the other contestants. At least we don’t have to wait to find out which legend Mermaid is.
Robin Thicke: Gloria Gaynor
Jenny McCarthy: Roberta Flack
Ken Jeong: Cher
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Gloria Estefan
Nicole Scherzinger: Gloria Gaynor
There were a lot of Glorias in the guesses, and one under the mask. But as much as Andrew as confident in his guess, he was wrong. It was Gloria Gaynor, which meant that both Robin and Nicole got this one right. Robin was so stoked he jumped on the desk and channeled his inner Elvis Presley.
When Gloria wrapped the show with a performance of her own iconic hit, it was like a whole different energy hit her. Suddenly, she found the power and range we’d been looking for all along. She even got her mermaid tail flipping, as this is definitely a song that asks you to get up and move. She’s a legend, but she undersold herself on this show.
“The Masked Singer” continues Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.