On Sunday night (Feb. 2), the Super Bowl was just the pre-game for the Season 3 premiere of The Masked Singer, per jokester host Nick Cannon.
What a cad. But seriously, one year ago at this very moment, the over-the-top singing series was in its infancy, only mere weeks into its first season. Fifty-two weeks later, it’s a ratings smash getting the coveted post-Super Bowl slot, with Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx guesting as a panelist alongside mainstays Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger. Willikers!
So here’s the new deal for this time around: The 18 disguised contestants have been split into three groups. Group A is up first, and will hit the stage these first three episodes of the season until the six contestants are diminished to three. Then Group B is up, and so forth. Blah, blah, blah. The bottom line is that someone in a fancy office got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to come up with this strategy.
Speaking of which, let’s pause for a moment to let it sink in that Jamie Foxx is actually on The Masked Singer right now. It’s all a bit astounding, until you realize that his own Fox series Beat Shazam just got renewed. Fox scratches Foxx’s back, and he’ll scratch yours.
Alright, on with it.
A dude who’s easily 6’5” stomps on stage in a white tiger get-up and throws out clues about having a “giant” career full of accomplishments. An Abraham Lincoln poster with the words “Four score and seven years ago…” flashes by, before the big cat raps a terrible rendition of Vanilla Ice’s 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby.”
Ken uses Ken logic to deduce that White Tiger might be John Cena, but a quick Google search confirms what we already know: Ken is a fool, as JC is “only” six feet tall. Jenny goes with Aquaman star Jason Momoa, who I normally would say would never in a million years appear on this show… up until Jamie Foxx appeared on this show. Jamie himself thinks White Tiger might be former NFL star (and current Steve Harvey nemesis) Rob Gronkowski.
Next up is a guy who looks like he’s wearing the male version of the creature costume from 1960s horror flick The Reptile. (You know The Reptile, right? Hammer House Of Horror? Peter Cushing? Christopher Lee? Ah, sod it.)
Turtle says something about taking the slow route to fame and watching others surpass him, while also tossing out a surfboard clue. He then launches into Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.” Jenny later surmises that Turtle is a onetime boy band member. Robin gets specific and speculates that New Kids on the Block’s Joey McIntyre might be under the reptilian garb.
Late last week, I rewatched Napoleon Dynamite for the first time in 15 years, and I’m convinced Tina the llama is one of the greatest characters cinema has offered the world. And now, days later, there’s a llama on The Masked Singer. I’m operating on a level you should all be happy to avoid.
Llama is pretty obvious about the fact that his real-life job is or a radio DJ. He’s also wearing what Nick delicately describes as “a strap-on booty,” which includes an extra set of legs and a tail. Things only continue to get better when the wooly beast croons Ricky Martin’s cheeseball sex jam “She Bangs.” Golly.
Now we’re getting serious. Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle have each deigned this stage worthy enough to get out of bed and collect the check in the previous two seasons, and each time I first hoped it might be Chaka Khan under the mask. So consider Miss Monster my annual wish for Chaka-dom.
The pink creature soulfully belts out the ’90s Bonnie Raitt classic “Something to Talk About.” As a bonus, she’s joined by someone decked out in Season 1 winner Monster’s outfit. I’m guessing it’s not T-Pain, but you never can tell, kids. The panel is collectively shook, as they should be, and Jamie declares Miss Monster to be “a queen.”
I thought White Tiger had mediocre vocals until Robot said, “Hold my drink.” He warbles Lenny Kravitz rocker “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and it’s “karaoke bar at 1:48 a.m.” level.
Jenny and Jamie pick up on a skateboard clue with Robot and, respectively, guess it might be Jackass stars Johnny Knoxville or Steve-O. That seems about right.
We’re suddenly at the final contestant of the night, and it’s a female kangaroo who makes the umpteenth Destiny’s Child reference in this show’s history. (She’s a “survivor,” everyone.) She also admits she recently lost the person who “held [her] family’s heart together.”
Kangaroo gives a touching, stripped-down performance of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” that impresses the panel and has them wondering if it’s Jordin Sparks, Kelly Rowland or Iggy Azalea behind the pouch.
Eliminated: Robot. Hilariously, the first person kicked off the show this season has sold 100 million records and locked down more entries on the Billboard Hot 100 than Elvis Presley. And that person is Lil Wayne.
Like Seal last season, Weezy says he did the show for his kids. Sure, Jan. Another reason could be that he’s got a new album, Funeral, to promote, which was released two days prior. Regardless, Robin is flabbergasted at not having guessed Robot is Tunechi, given that they’ve recorded five songs together. Money well spent, Fox.