Each of the three semi-finalists perform twice, including an incredible head-to-head-to-head showdown on a Kelly Clarkson classic.
For the first time all season, we’ve already seen every single one of the artists performing on “The Masked Singer.” That’s right, it’s the semi-finals, baby!
After a bizarre and disjointed season that eliminated two celebrities a week (most only performing one night), we finally got the winners of the first three rounds, or “groups” as Nick Cannon has been calling them.
Harp came out from Week 1 and dominated through three rounds before advancing to these semi-finals. The Lambs hit in Week 5, so they only had to win twice before they advanced. The same went for Snowstorm, who just finished her Group 3 victory on Wednesday night.
The good news for all three of them is that tonight only one of them would go home, with the other two advancing to next week’s season finale. It was a heartwarming and emotional Thanksgiving-themed episode with each of the artists sharing what they’re thankful for.
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.
(“About Damn Time,” Lizzo)Harp took on one of the more challenging modern artists to cover and she absolutely slayed every element of this. She’s an incredible performer with a mesmerizing stage presence. We were happy to see her shake the harp off her back for a while, freeing her to move about and show some dance moves to complement her incredible range and power. What a gifted singer she is, and a gift to this show.
Guesses: We’ve missed seeing Harp on this show, as she always delivers. New clues for this semi-finals appearance included a “#1” trophy and a series of photos of past contestants Sun (LeAnn Rimes), Monster (T-Pain) and Night Angel (Kandi Burruss) -- who just happen to have all won.
Is she friends with them? The pictures started sliding by as she talked about how she hasn’t told her family or friends about being on this show. Even her man thinks she’s off filming a movie. Only her mom was in the know, which was very sweet as she got emotional talking about her mom’s unconditional love and support.
She also shared that she and her mom have a lot in common, like her mom was also a singer, and they’re best friends at this point in their lives. Is she also friends with her on-stage clue, which was a picture of Oprah Winfrey?
Harp shared that she brought her mom with her when she met Oprah for the first time, but before she could introduce her mom, Oprah apparently already knew it. “You know you’ve made it when Oprah knows your name and your mom’s name,” she said.
Ken tried to justify his terrible Jennifer Hudson guess by tying J-Hud’s new talk show with Oprah’s old one. Jenny didn’t do much better, taking that trophy to “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks. Nicole was also feeling that vibe, but switched it up to Fantasia, who also starred in Oprah’s remake of “The Color Purple.”
“Or, you know who else has a trophy?” Nicole asked, before answering, “Amber Riley.” The “Glee” alum did a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2017 for her work on the stage production of “Dreamgirls.”
She’s also been Twitter’s dominant guess for Harp since the beginning, and honestly, there’s no way this can be anyone but Amber Riley. Listen to her tell that story about her mom, listen to the way she sings and moves and try to her and see anyone else? It can’t be done.
(“Thinking of You,” Katy Perry)Snowstorm was so earnest and sweet in this performance, it was as if her inner little girl crept out. It wasn’t as confident a performance as we’ve seen from her before, but it was one where you could hear her pushing herself because she had something to prove. She has a nice tone, but definitely needs to put some work and finesse on it to really capture the entirety of the performance.
Guesses: Her new clue package was both an inspirational piece and a beautifully brilliant F-U to one certain individual in her life. She talked about how she’d always wanted to be a pop star and even took vocal lessons when she was in high school.
But then, her teacher told her mom that she doesn’t have that elusive “it,” dashing her hopes and dreams. That was the day her dream died, she said, until now. This is an opportunity to express herself in a way she never thought she’d be able to artistically.
Instead, the ticket we saw on her dressing room table had a laughing-crying-face emoji, suggesting her comedic background. She said she hopes that her journey inspires anyone who doesn’t think they have “it,” telling them that they do, they just need to unmask it (see what she did there?)
She also dedicated this particular performance to that vocal instructor, saying, “This one’s for you, dreamkiller.”
Her on-stage clue was a “Maskies Thanksgiving Day Parade,” which involved a bunch of people walking across the stage with silver balloons, with one being the word “squiggly.” It was a tribute to Snowstorm’s “dear friend” Squiggly Monster, the late Bob Saget, who performed in Season 4. She said he got so much joy from the show, that’s why she came on to do it, saying her performances were for him, “whether he would want that or not.”
Robin took that connection to solidify his previous Whitney Cummings guess, which is close. Jenny was all over the right track, sticking with the idea of funny and comedy to land on “Comedy Central Roast” staple -- and the internet’s favorite guess, and the right guess -- Nikki Glaser.
Ken, however, took the “Live” sign from the clue package all the way to “Saturday Night Live” and Kristen Wiig. The body type is close, but this is not her. For one thing, as Robin pointed out, Snowstorm is considerably taller than 5’5” Kristen. Nikki is 5’9”.
Twitter isn't quite as sold on Glaser as Jenny is, though, with a lot of stray guesses still filtering through (and some support for Jodie Sweetin). It's always tougher when it's someone who doesn't usually sing publicly because you really have to work those clues.
(“Need You Now,” Lady A)The Lambs continue to blow us away so much more in harmony then when singing solo. Don’t get us wrong, the solo work isn’t bad by any means, but they are so magical when together. It’s the harmonies of years together honing their craft. It’s so effortless and yet so mesmerizing.
Guesses: Speaking of years, they told us it’s been “a very, very long time” since they’ve won an award, though they’ve picked up a few in their day. They also talked about how their relationship goes back to childhood and they first blew up as young women.
Like many who get started young, the stress and pressure of their success and burnout caused friction between them, causing them to go their separate ways for years. But that only made their reunion all that much sweeter, and like no time had passed -- which we can hear in those harmonies.
When talking about the friction, they were tugging a white wreath back and forth, while we saw a “Platinum Class” international plane ticket, likely indicating platinum-level success as recording artists. All indications are that they enjoyed a stellar career years ago in the music industry.
The on-stage clue was a cornucopia brought up to Robin with a “Reunion” sign on it. “For a long time, I didn’t think we would be singing together on the stage ever again,” one of the Lambs shared. “But I never gave up on the three of us getting back together.”
Nicole went a new direction with all the group guesses we’ve seen so far to All Saints, which was a four-part English group from the ‘90s. She tried to justify it with their multiple reunions and the wreath representing … St. Nick? Even Nicole didn’t look like she was buying her own guess.
Ken tried to argue this was Spice Girls (or three of them) because of the international on that plane ticket, but it was a mess. Robin strayed from his Chicks guess to the proper guess the internet has known all along, Wilson Phillips. He connected a previous wedding ring clue to their “Bridesmaids” reunion.
The #Lambs are #WilsonPhilips. I called it on the first episode. Their voices are lovely and also a dead giveaway—there's only one pop act of 3 women who sound like one person when they harmonize. If they're not, I'll eat my damn shoes. #TheMaskedSinger
(“Since U Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson)Snowstorm really stepped up and made a strong statement for herself as the only non-professional singer. She was still a little hesitant at first and didn’t fully project, but she nailed all the notes and continued to push herself. Harp came out and was already battling for the trophy with a showstopping take on the track that reinterpreted the melody in subtle ways to make it her own. She is such a star. The Lambs slowed it down beautifully, but were still stronger harmonizing together than when singing individually. This was surprisingly uneven in places, but overall they remain an incredible force when they come at it with three voices as one.
At this point, it really does seem like Harp is running away with this competition as she’s been doing since the very first week. She was virtually unstoppable all night long, blowing our minds with every single performance. That left it down to Snowstorm and The Lambs.
Ultimately, even though The Lambs sometimes don’t blow us away when they sing their solo work, their incredible consistency in harmony is still stronger than Snowstorm. While the new format has not allowed for much individual growth for contestants, Snowstorm has defied those odds and grown in each of her three appearances.
She still has some work to do to reach that pro level, but she’s made huge leaps and bounds here, and hopefully gained the confidence she’s been lacking and seeking ever since that music teacher told her she didn’t have the “it” factor.
All of that said, she did an incredible job making it to this stage and going up against four singers who’ve been performing at a high level for years and years, but it definitely felt like she was just a bit out of her league here.
Rather than just dump her from the show, Nick instead sent the other two acts into the finals one by one, but it was Snowstorm who was left out in the cold. Still, she has so much to be proud of even making it this far, living a bit of her pop star dream on this show.
Robin Thicke: Whitney Cummings
Jenny McCarthy: Nikki Glaser
Ken Jeong: Kristen Wiig
Nicole Scherzinger: Eliza Shlesinger
It was clearly in the direction of the roast comedians, and the Bob Saget clue clinched it -- not to mention the tenor of her voice, her body shape and language, and the cadence of her rapid-fire joke deliveries all season long. Of course this was Nikki Glaser.
She again talked about how singing was one of her first dreams and how heartbreaking it was to have it squashed at such a young age by her vocal instructor. Even better, she said that the show allowed her to explore her voice and she’s looking forward to continuing to expand and work on this passion of hers.
This is one of those uplifting stories that is at the heart of “The Masked Singer” experience, kind of like T-Pain wanting to prove he was a real singer all the way back in the first season. It’s why we missed those journeys with this season’s new format that saw so many singers come and go in one episode.
Hopefully, next season they tweak the format again (we know they will) to bring back some of that ongoing narrative. We get that we’re guessing who these people are too fast, but you could always be stingier with the clues, you know!
“The Masked Singer” wraps up Season 8 next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.