It was the return of the Smackdown on The Masked Singer, but that wasn't enough to save this abrasive, controversial comedian who went into a tirade against the panel after they were revealed -- and no one guessed who they were!
The Masked Singer took on the 2000s, which had special meaning for several of the remaining four masks. They also welcomed back Season 6 winner, as Queen of Hearts, Jewel for a stunning performance to kick off the show.
This week's Group A semi-final also brought back the Smackdown, which pitted the two performers with the least votes at the end of the first round of competition. They then sang again, only this time taking on the same song and with the panel deciding their fate.
There were definitely some incredible performances, as well as some incredibly entertaining moments -- though perhaps there was nothing more entertaining than what happened as soon as this week's unmasked celebrity was revealed. We've seen epic responses to losing, but nothing like this!
Let's jump right in with this week's mask. And don't worry, before we get to the shocking unmasking(s), 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.
Jewel [Season 6 Winner Queen of Hearts]
("Standing Still," Jewel) Like stepping back two decades or more, Jewel looked and sounded absolutely fantastic as she took on one of her classic tracks. It was just a reminder of how fun it was to watch her journey unfold on Season 6, and all the different sides of her powerful voice we don't usually get to hear on her own songs. This was her signature sound, but now we know just how diverse she can be and she's a real showstopper.
("Beverly Hills," Weezer)Pickle is not a good singer, by any means. Not only does he have no pitch, he can't even maintain his breath throughout the song, getting exhausted. He also spoke at one point during this -- whic his the song -- and made it even more clear who this probably is with that distinctive voice. He may not be a singer, but he's definitely an entertainer. "Pickle, pickle!"
Guesses: After name-dropping some entertainment greats last week, Pickle spoke this week about all the beefs he's had over the years, from Real Housewives to NBA stars, as well as his ability to squash them and reconcile. He chalks it up to him being outspoken. Some of his fights, he noted, have been big enough that we've heard of, including one with an entire online publication.
A new visual clue, aside from a police car when he was talking about his beefs, was a prominent shot of him holding a baseball. Lance Bass brought out his on-stage clue, which was "a lovely collection of pickles with beautiful wigs."
There were six total, with one blonde, one redhead, a brunette and the other three appearing to have black hair, kind of reminiscent of the cast of Friends to the panel. "I've done so many things for so many years and people always associate me with my famous friends," Pickle said with a laugh.
The last clue package leaned into the bad boy persona as well, showing a microphone and headset like you might see on a radio show or podcast. He said that his school teachers thought of him as a "hyper, disruptive kid who had no interest in anything but sports," dismissing him as a "bad boy with no future."
He admitted that it wasn't until he found his passion that he became laser-focused. He then managed to achieve massive success in it, saying he'd rubbed elbows with some greats, name-dropping Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scoreses, and Martin Short. At this point, the vibes are all still feeling very radio deejay known for conducting meaningful interviews.
Other images included a joker card taped to a locker and a balloon arch, as well as shots of him spray painting on the walls. His on-stage clue came from the players in the VIP lounge woh revealed an "On Air" sign, again pointing to radio. "When I speak, people listen," Pickle. Are you listening, Ken? Kenny, are you listening? I get paid a lot to talk, so pay attention, Kenny."
When Nicole joked that he must know Ken, he added, "Oh I know each and every one of you, just a little bit different. And I'm bringing that BDE, that big dill energy, what? Just like Nick, that BPE, that big pickle energy!" That came with a fanny smack, leading Nick to wonder, "How many times am I gonna get assaulted?"
This week, Nicole thought Charlie Sheen would make an "amazing" Pickle, which prompted him to say, "Winning!" He has had many public struggles, is married to a Real Housewife, and guest-starred on Friends. Ken, again, tried to manifest Sean Penn being on this show by pointing out he also appeared on Friends and was a cop on Colors. He is outspoken, but he's not Pickle.
Nicole then wondered if Pickle's level of comfort on the show right now could point to frequent guest panelist Joel McHale. This came after he poked fun at Ken's guess, which is certainly something Joel would do.
But, we find ourselves getting drawn back to the internet's favorite guess, which is Michael Rapaport (though there are a few strays). He has such a unique accent and way of talking and moving, if you watch and listen to Pickle with this in mind, it's really hard to see or hear anyone else. In particular, that "rap" portion of this song was all Rapaport.
I’ll be honest, I actually don’t think the #PickleMask on #TheMaskedSinger did that bad actually. He’s very comedic, very entertaining…. and he’s a Weezer fan. The Pickle has gotta be the juicy and crunchy Michael Rapaport 🎩
("Lucky," Britney Spears)Gazelle rebounded last week but reverted back to a shakier vocal this week as she took on a song that shouldn't have stretched her too much vocally. She did go for some bigger moments, which were hit or miss. She's got a lot of great personality that shines through when she performs and a pretty solid vocal, but this was shaky enough to tell us that singing is not her main gig, but perhaps something she's passionate about.
Guesses: For her latest clue package, Gazelle talked about how much this costume meant to her, as she associates deer with a dear friend she lost shortly before her wedding. We saw a mouse next to a bouquet and dog tags as she talked about his "adventurous spirit" and how the rain that fell during the vows told the couple he was with them.
The Office's Kate Flannery brought out her on-stage clue, which is a DVD called "Gazelle Love Story." Gazelle explained, "The 2000s are a special time for me because it was when I had my film debut." That adds a husband and a timeline to her previous clues.
A major focus of her second clue package was Gazelle's heritage and unique name. She said she was pressured to change it professionally at just eight yeras old and casting directors didn't quite know how to place her because of her "unique look." Now, she sees herself as a trailblazer for other little girls who look like her.
Images that we saw included a sign reading "Threat Level: 3," suggesting an entertainment triple threat, as well a a test with the grade A, and a surfboard, which could be a surf movie, a love of the ocean, or even a Teen Choice Award. On stage, Antonio Gates tossed Nick a football that had "Villain" printed across it. Gazelle explained, "I'm not actually a villain, but I can play the part. Gazelle's got range!"
The first package revealed that she hit up a Broadway show at six years old (the sign in the clue package read Hello Doll! which could mean she saw Hello Dolly!). That sparked her interest in being on the stage, which she says she leaps at any opportunity to do.
One of those opportunities came as a teen when she entered a national talent competition … and "crashed and burned." After this, she almost swore off singing for good, but she's too passionate about it. Now, she's looking to face her fears, which is another reason we suspect singing isn't what she's known for.
With a petite frame, that first clue package included a Hawaiian shirt, three statues of bulldogs together, a director's chair and a camper in the desert. David Spade then brought out an LP with "Movie Soundtrack" printed on it. "Not only do I act in movies, I also sing in them," Gazelle told Nick.
Robin wondered if perhaps it was Mandy Moore, who played a villain in "The Princess Diaries," but we think Mandy has stronger pipes than this. She's also very tall, and Gazelle is not. Nicole focused on the fact that she's married, which blew all of their previous guesses, but opened the door to Hilary Duff, with the mouse perhaps representing Disney. Jenny, though, went with High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale, along the same lines.
The internet, though, has been circling more and more one particular iconic villain from a Disney network, this time Freeform. The show is Pretty Little Liars and there is no question as to whether or not Janel Parrish was playing a villain on that one!
("Hey There Delilah," Plain White T's)S'More gave an interesting vocal because it was definitely professional, but it also lacked polish. The only thing we could think was that this was someone who either hasn't done this in awhile, or perhaps was used to singing with others around him -- or even both. He's got a great sound and a pureness to his voice that was very rich, but it lacked a certain polish.
Guesses: This week, S'More was a proud papa, talking about having a child while he was touring. Along with this we got a tour bus with 2005 on it, so is that when his kid was born? He said the 2000s was his decade as he got to hang on the set of TRL and his videos were on rotation at MTV.
Visual clues included blue sunglasses and a bottle of hairspray as he talked about stepping away from performing so he wouldn't have to tour and could instead take root somewhere for the sake of his child(ren). His clue was a map of the S'more Bros Tour, with S'More adding, "The 2000s were a busy time for me. I was busy touring with my bros."
Last week's clue package talked about defying his father as a teenager and commanding the Broadway stage. He said a big opportunity came his way as a teen and his dad told him to turn it down, but instead, he moved out. Luckily, his dad showed up backstage at his Broadway show to say he was proud of him.
New visual clues included a game console, a TV with M (like for a Mature rating) on it. Nick was doused with a cooler of orange balls, dumped on him by DeSean Jackson. The clue was oranges, which S'More explained, "I've tasted victory before and it's so sweet. I hope to do so again here at The Masked Singer."
In his first clue package he talked about being cheered on by millions, being a household name, making headlines with his "fellow adventures and idols." He said he became a heartthrob in a matter of weeks from virtual obscurity. Images included a deep dish pizza and soda.
S'More said his life has always been about blazing his own trail and he's hoping to recapture some of that here. Other images included a Christmas tree with silver ornaments on it and an angel on top. His first on-stage clue was a film reel that read, "Starring S'More." He said not-so-humbly," As you can tell I'm very talented on and off stage."
Nicole wondered about Jordan Knight, who was literally on tour with his brother Jonathan as part of New Kids on the Block. She also wondered about James Marsden, who starred in Hairspray. Ken, though, threw out a terrible Rob Thomas guess because he just doesn't sound like it.
Jenny, though, knows her MTV and boy bands, so she took all the clues right to where the internet has been, O-Town's Ashley Parker Angel, who also happened to star in Hairspray on Broadway. Social media has been feeling this one for a bit now, along with Kevin Richardson. Everyone seems to agree it's a boy band-er.
The #SmoreMask on #TheMaskedSinger really played with my heartstrings tonight. I really love the song “Hey There Delilah”…. and The S’more definitely nailed this song tonight. Without a single doubt in my mind…. this has got to be Kevin Richardson 🥰
("Cry Me a River," Justin Timberlake)Cow just dropped one of the most powerful vocals in the long and storied history of this franchise. And he did it while getting all sexy and feminine in a cow suit. That was just masterful, absolutely incredible, choose your own superlative. Those were silky R&B vocals with incredible range and control. Everything about this performance was everything you want in a performance. It was leagues beyond everyone else.
Guesses: Cow was definitely feeling this week's theme as the 2000s is when it all came together for him. He recalled packing up a van with his buddies and performing on top of it in front of the Capitol Records building, convinced he'd get a deal. Security threw them out instead.
But, he said, they kept coming back and now his picture hangs in the halls of that building, suggesting he's a major musical star. If the clues didn't tell us, that performance certainly did. No amateur delivers that fully-realized a performance.
Visual clues included a gavel, a birthday cake with one candle on it and a newspaper. On-stage, the new clue was a banner reading "MOOOsical." Cow said, "The 2000s were really, really good to me. So much in fact that I got to star in a musical."
Last week's clue package saw Cow really emphasizing how important family is to him. He has kids of his own and despite all the temptations of fame, he's always made sure to put family first. Perhaps that's because he didn't have a dad when he was growing up.
In fact, he said he didn't have a lot of positive male role models at all, coming up in a house of all women. He also credited this with the fact he's a sensitive soul. New images included a red boxing glove with a yellow down arrow on it and a crayon drawing of a red heart drawn by his calves -- ahem, children.
His on-stage clue came out in a giant purple bowl, out of which Le'Veon pulled a pair of tap shoes. To this, Cow said, "Much like a Super Bowl Halftime Show, I am known for my killer moo-ves."
Previously, he told us he didn't even know fame was in his future, believing he was instead destined for a pretty simple life at home. This was despite his dreams of standing out and being a big star. The problem, he said, was that he struggled controlling his emotions. But everything changed when he learned he could write, presumably referring to music. He said he's since gone on to win multiple Grammys and traveled the world with "hit after hit after hit.".
Images included the date July 4, a Classic Culinary Cuisine for Cows cookbook and the recipe "Classic Cow Cake," which he proceeded to mix and bake through the clue package. HIs first on-stage clue came in a popcorn bucket with a "Blockbuster Movie" ticket. He explained, "One of the better things known about me all started with a moo-vie."
Robin was throwing out names like Mario, who was in Rent: Live, Ne-Yo was in The Wiz: Live, and Jason Derulo was in the Cats movie ("Sorry, Jason"), but was definitely getting Ne-Yo vocals from that. Nicole, though, was wondering about Taye Diggs, who's done Rent and Chicago, as well as a legal show.
Social media, though, has been putting down what Robin picked up this week with their guess that it's Ne-Yo. He certainly has the ability to embrace a character, has those same smooth vocals, and he can move. All of the qualities we're seeing here, he possesses, so we're not mad about the guess -- plus, it's hard to deny the receipts.
Tonight's four masks were split in half at this point of the competition, with two of them advancing automatically to next week's Group A final while the other two battled it out for that final spot. Without a moment's hesitation, we figured Cow would take that first slot at the top.
It was between Gazelle and S'More for the other one, but our edge would go to S'More. He's been more consistent across the weeks -- though we know that doesn't really matter to this studio audience -- and he was stronger tonight. Gazelle was a little shaky.
After the vote, the two masks that had to battle it out one more time for a chance to advance came as a huge surprise to us -- well, half of one. Pickle indeed fell into the Smackdown, but it wasn't Gazelle who joined him. Instead, S'More s'mehow didn't connect with this audience. Still, it should be obvious who would win this … shouldn't it?
Bringing back the SmackDown when there's an obvious gap between the abilities of the Pickle vs the abilities of S'more is so funny like why are y'all doing Pickle like this 😭#TheMaskedSinger#MaskedSinger
("Sugar, We're Goin Down," Fall Out Boy)Pickle really made an effort to deliver a strong vocal, but it's just not in his wheelhouse. His voice even cracked at one point. We loved how hard he was trying, and there was his signature sense of fun with this performance, but it wasn't great. S'More seemed to be having trouble with his mask, but it didn't impact the strength of his vocals. He put different nuances on different lines and really delivered. This wasn't even close, as S'More really delivered vocally. But Pickle is a fan-favorite, so what do you vote for?
Here's the thing. Pickle is entertaining as all get-out and he fought harder here than in any previous round, but he stands no chance at winning this group, nor should he. He's fun, but S'More really should be in this Group A final already.
The only right answer, so far as we were concerned, was for the panel to fix the voting mistake and send him on. But is that what they did? It is, and well deserved. But that also meant it was time to find out what goofy personality has been lurking under the Pickle costume.
Robin Thicke: Joel McHale
Jenny McCarthy: Conan O'Brien
Ken Jeong: Howard Stern
Nicole Scherzinger: Charlie Sheen
"If that is not Joel McHale, then I've never seen Joel McHale dance before," Robin said confidently, certain he was right after watching Pickle's moves during the Smackdown. The internet, however, begged to differ with their guess that no one on the panel was thinking.
If only they could see what we can all see, and that is that you never doubt the internet when they're this confident. After running away for a while, Pickle was finally unmasked and revealed actor and outspoken podcaster with a very distinctive accent and voice, Michael Rapaport.
"I'm not even gonna start with you!" Michael shouted at his pal Nick before turning to the panel. "I'm gonna start with you, Ken, you fake-ass doctor. You, Robin Thicke, I sang about Beverly Hills, you [expletive] where you grew up. And Jenny, I'm calling Donnie tonight. And Lance Bass, where is he? Bye, bye, bye, you [expletive]!"
"Don't suck up to me now!" Michael shouted at Nicole after she said she was starstruck. "You had your chance!" He then turned it down and said that he loves this show and was thrilled to be a part of it. "Much better than Joel McHale," Ken declared.
The People’s Pickle!!! Big Dill Energy to the entire World & beyond! Smile for a moment if you can 💙☮️