When the groundhog poked its fuzzy little head up in Pennsylvania and it was declared we only had a few more weeks of The Masked Singer left, I didn’t believe it. For how could this eternal, televised winter of our collective soul ever truly thaw?
But, lo, children — here we are in the penultimate week of the tube’s latest hit reality singing shebang. Next week is a two-hour double-episode, with a “road to finals” half and a finale half. Surely, when the dust all settles on this historic leap forward in pop culture, a gaggle of Emmys will follow and we’ll all believe in magic once more.
Until then, make sure there’s enough spirit gum holding your wig in place, because Wednesday (February 20) night sees not one, but two of your disguised favorites perform their swan songs. Also, Saturday Night Live mainstay Kenan Thompson suspiciously hops networks to pick up guest panelist duties alongside Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger.
These are wild days. Read on to see how the semi-final plays out.
Peacock rocks Calvin Harris & Ne-Yo’s “Let’s Go”
If Peacock isn’t Donny Osmond, I’ll eat my remote control. This time around, he makes reference to his fans by calling them his “little soldiers of affection” — which, to me, is yet another reference to Osmond’s 1989 chart smash “Soldier Of Love.”
His song choice for the semi-final is the Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo collab “Let’s Go.” This seems like a good time to point out that I have a pretty kickass Calvin Harris playlist on Spotify called “Calvin Harris’ Butt.” Get at me and follow, classy kids.
After Donnycock’s song and dance, Kenan exclaims, “Yo! What is happening in here? There’s a peacock on stage and he just destroyed it.”
Monster croons Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”
Now, everyone, I know what you’re thinking: A student of The Masked Singer such as myself surely must be up on all the guessing games, the spoilers, the gossip du jour regarding this fine program. But, nay — I steer clear of such frippery. I choose to live in the moment. I want surprises.
So this might be old news to all of you, but it finally hits me upon watching Monster’s clues package (“I learned the hard way that it takes just one slip to make you lose your place in the world,” he laments) and hearing his powerful vocals tonight that it has to be Cee Lo Green, who departed The Voice after running into legal troubles several years back.
With nothing but his talent laid bare on stage as he sings Sam Smith tearjerker “Stay With Me,” Monster reduces Nicole Scherzinger, Jenny McCarthy and a multitude of studio audience members to tears.
Ken Jeong announces, “For me, you’re the frontrunner of this!”
Jenny wonders if Monster is Calvin Harris. Oh, sweetie. Looks like someone needs to listen to Calvin Harris’ Butt.
Lion attempts Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”
Given the previous Hailey, Idaho and Empire references, I’d already zeroed in on Rumer Willis hiding beneath Lion’s mane. Another obvious giveaway that every single panelist misses tonight is the USC banner in Lion’s clues package. Granted, Rumer only attended one semester at the Los Angeles university, but what a glorious semester it undoubtedly was!
Lion doesn’t exactly wow with her rendition of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 Innervisions classic “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing,” so when the sound strangely cuts out on my television just before her performance ends, I’m not too bothered. I know where it’s all leading for this big cat, anyway: a one-way ticket back to Chicago.
Rabbit plays it safe with The Temptations’ “My Girl”
Did I mention that I also have a pretty sweet Spotify playlist called *NSYNC Sandwich? All true, readers.
Rabbit drops a great clue tonight with his reference to *NSYNC’s rendition of “Trashin’ The Camp,” from the 1999 Disney animated version of Tarzan. Duh. I mean, who doesn’t get that totally obvious reference? Anyone? No?
Moving on, this is the blandest Rabbit performance we’ve seen. Nicole Scherzinger agrees, while Kenan thinks the mystery hare is Nick Lachey, and Ken wonders if it could be Kevin Richardson.
Wrong boy band, gentlemen. WRONG BOY BAND.
Bee belts Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
Bee is going to win this thing, isn’t she? But let me remind you, children — who was it that first presented the idea that everyone’s favorite, buzzy soul queen on this show could be Chaka Khan? That’s right: me. Who gave the clue the other week that she has 10 Grammys? Bee. And who dropped a brand new album mere days ago? None other than Ms. Chaka.
Bee admits in her clues package that she’s been giving “mixed messages” as to her identity — in other words, also dropping Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle hints. She tears through “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by her “good friend,” Aretha Franklin.
Despite admitting to her exercises in misdirection, Kenan believes Bee is Gladys Knight. Ken is still harping on about how he thinks Bee is Anita Baker. None of these people deserve paychecks.
Eliminated: It’s time for Rumer to head back to the Empire set, because Lion is the first animal to get run out of the kingdom in the semi-final. She’s followed by Rabbit, who is revealed to be Joey Fatone.
Admittedly, I totally got that one wrong, thinking all along that Rabbit was JC Chasez. But, hey — *NSYNC Sandwich, everyone.