The Masked Singer Season 6 has already been a whirlwind after just one week, with the unmaskings of Dwight "The Octopus" Howard, Vivica "Mother Nature" Fox, and, most shockingly, seven-time Grammy-winner Toni "The Puffer Fish" Braxton. And that was just Group A! As the mystery celebrity cosplayers of Group B hit the stage this week, there was yet another huge surprise in store, when the Dalmatian changed his spots and revealed himself to be none than what host Nick Cannon rightfully declared "one of the biggest stars in hip-hop."
The judges thought this spotty singer, who swaggily performed “Beautiful” by Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg, might he Nelly, Kevin Hart, Damian Lillard, Katt Williams, Reggie Bush, or even Steve Harvey. Judge Nicole Scherzinger guessed it was one "one of the Lil's," meaning an A-list rapper like Yachty, Uzi Vert, or Boosie. Well, it turned out to be Tyga, but his inspiration to go on the show was the biggest Lil of them all, Lil Wayne, who was the Robot on Season 2.
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"Hip-hop represent on The Masked Singer in a big way!" declared Nick, before he and his pal Tyga gently chastised judge Robin Thicke, who collaborated with Tyga on "This Is Like" in 2012, for guessing the Dalmatian incorrectly. But Robin was definitely happy to see Tyga, stating, "We're really lucky to have you on the show. Any time we get to have the young, hottest cats in the game on our show, it makes us all look a little cooler."
Four other Group B contestants survived to sing again, and next week they will face off with two new wild cards. Until then, let's keep the guessing game going and assess this Wednesday's performances and clues:
The Queen of Hearts, “Born This Way”
Rocking one of my favorite Masked Singer costumes of all time (basically looking like a high-end Commes Des Garcons jeweled heart), this Queen ruled the stage with her regal bearing and supermodel strut. Her voice sounded thin at first, but then she busted out some “Born This Way” power notes that made it seem like she was born to do this. Nicole got “goosebumps,” and Robin suspected that the Queen had only just begun to showcase her full vocal abilities.
The clues: She had a thick Southern accent when speaking, which had the judges thinking she might be a country music star — but I bet that was just to throw the panel off. She mentioned leaving home at a young age and never looking back after a rough childhood, and her visual clues included the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, a framed photo of Hilary Swank with the caption “BFF,” and of course, her amazingly toned legs.
Judges’ guesses: Britney Spears, Kellie Pickler, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Fergie, Renee Zellweger.
My guess: I’m going with actress Mariska Hartigay, who’s well-known for being Hilary’s longtime bestie and is the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation. Her Law & Order: SVU co-star, Christopher Meloni, was also in Oz. And finally, she also has a secret dream to perform on Broadway — so maybe that’s why she went undercover to perform on this show.
The Mallard, “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”
This dapper duck hit the stage looking like a feathered Monopoly Man, but his Big & Rich cover had more of an everyman style. (He later admitted that he usually doesn’t dress this sharp.) The judges seemed convinced that he was a “huge country star, an iconic legend,” but — while his voice seemed authentically twangy — he was giving me a comedian vibe.
The clues: He lives the “high life,” with a platinum album and best-selling book to his credit. He started hustling from a young age, selling worms as one of his first jobs and then performing for quarters as a “human jukebox” on his school bus. He also jokingly implied that he doesn’t have a very handsome face (and is therefore grateful to be in disguise). Visual clues included a framed photo of Chris Pratt, a deer figurine, and a cowboy boot.
Judges’ guesses: Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Lyle Lovett, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Sam Hunt, Dierks Bentley, or Billy Ray Cyrus — basically every male country singer they could think of before Nick Cannon told them their time was up.
My guess: This guy is country, but he's not a country music star. I think this is Duck Dynasty personality Willie Robertson. He is buddies with Chris Pratt, has written several books, and his family's holiday album Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas somehow went platinum. What better way to expand his dynasty that dressing up as a duck and winning The Masked Singer, right?
The Cupcake, “Heatwave”
This cuddly, kawaii confection came across like a Motown veteran, clearly very comfortable belting Martha & the Vandellas’ classic. “The energy that you gave, you were ad-libbing and making it your own. You weren’t just sticking to the script. That was a very confident performance,” observed Robin. “I’m getting legend vibes!” raved Nicole. It was not clear if this was a man or a woman; the Cupcake’s look was girly, but the deep, raspy voice was more androgynous. It’s possible that the frilly costume was a deliberate choice to mislead the viewers and judges.
The clues: She (or he?) is “used to sharing the spotlight” and hasn’t gone solo in a long time; she was “supposed to be here with some other sweet things,” but then someone close to her got some bad health news. Visual clues included a bottle of whiskey, heart-shaped pancakes, and the contestant’s noticeably older, slower gait.
Judges’ guesses: Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Chapman, RuPaul, Jennifer Holliday, Roberta Flack, Leslie Jones, Tina Turner.
My guess: I think this is one of the core Pointer Sisters, Ruth or Anita — whose sister Bonnie recently died of a cardiac arrest (hence the bad health news), and whose other sister June died in 2006. The Pointer Sisters were also discovered at the Whisky-a-Go-Go.
The Banana Split, “A Million Dreams”
This rare Masked Singer duo, comprising a piano-playing male banana and soprano-singing female ice cream scoop from "Beverly Hills," did a beautiful, Broadway-worthy version of Pink’s power ballad. (The banana-man did not sing, so we know this isn’t Bret “The Banana” Michaels from Season 3.) “This is what we all need now. Thatr was perfect,” judge Ken Jeong said of this passionate and uplifting tour de force.
The clues: They’re collaborators who don’t always work together, but they share a dream. (“The banana is fine by himself,” the man grumbled humorously.) The ice cream once quit her day job when she thought she’d gotten her big break, only to have it all fall apart. One key visual clue was a silver medal.
Judges’ guesses: Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony, Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin, Katharine McPhee & David Foster, Faith Hill & McGraw, Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling.
My guess: Singer/actress McPhee and her producer/songwriter husband Foster is a good guess. That silver medal could represent Katharine’s second-place showing on American Idol, and the missed-opportunity story could refer to the time when she was cast in an MTV soap opera pilot that never aired. Plus, the theatrical voice does sound like the Waitress (and Smash!) star. As for the banana, his smug “fine by himself” comment was totally something David would say, and the fact that he played piano (as David has in many home performance videos with Kat), but didn’t sing himself, indicates that he’s more of a behind-the-scenes type.
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