The ninth episode of The Masked Singer exploded into being last night, and it does not care whether we live or die. Only six contestants remain after the Butterfly failed to please the internet and had her insect head struck from her shoulders, revealing Grammy-winning recording artist Michelle Williams trapped within. Williams was, of course, one-third of the popular supergroup Beyoncé and Her Two Assistants (also known as Destiny’s Child in certain markets). I predicted that Tommy Lee Jones was the Butterfly’s secret identity weeks ago, and The Masked Singer surges onward to punish me for my wrong-headedness, deaf to my cries for mercy.
Joel McHale returned as a guest panelist, although I suspect he never actually left. Robin Thicke continued to speak and sit upright, to the horror of scientists and clergymen everywhere. Dr. Ken Jeong has turned his deliberately terrible guesses into a challenging art form that I respect but cannot admire. Nicole Scherzinger was dressed like one of the Stalkers from The Running Man. Jenny McCarthy’s voice sounds more and more like a lit cigarette screaming for a lifeguard as the weeks pass.
The contestants were all escorted out of the dungeon tunnel by what appear to be Secret Service agents. Apparently there have been attempts on their lives. Nick Cannon came out dressed like the Phantom of the Diamond Exchange. He was even wearing little diamond slippers. He’s like the keeper of rich children’s dreams. At one point during the night I thought to myself, “Nick Cannon’s puns are charming.” I fear it is already too late for me.
Three other contestants performed last night in two face-off rounds. Butterfly’s opponent was the jaunty Fox, who sang “Tennessee Whiskey”, presumably to alert us to the fact that nobody on this show has stopped drinking since the first episode. In his clue package, the phrase “yes, and” was visible, and he mentioned being a superhero. After his performance Fox said, “I’m so glad I’m getting a chance to work with my friends, even though my friends don’t know they’re working with me.” I’m still pretty convinced that Fox is Wayne Brady, who famously comes from an improv background and has worked with Nick Cannon before on Wild ‘N Out. Brady also plays a superhero on the CW show Black Lightning. Robin Thicke guessed AJ McLean once again, because Robin Thicke can only remember 50 different words at a time. Dr. Ken guessed Jamie Foxx in a rare moment of actually trying to get the right answer, and Jenny McCarthy guessed Taye Diggs, which honestly wouldn’t be a terrible guess if it weren’t absolutely wrong.
Thingamajig faced off against Tree by singing Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.” I’m going to continue my run of insisting Thingamajig is the Indiana Pacers’ Victor Oladipo. In his clue package, Thingamajig mentioned suffering a recent setback. Oladipo injured his right knee this past January and had to end his season early. Thingamajig also wears a patch on his right leg, you eagle-eyed sleuths. He held up a few records during the clue video, which could be references to several awards Oladipo won in his college career. Finally, he mentions Maryland, and Oladipo was born in Silver Springs. He ended his performance by throwing a gigantic picture of Scherzinger up on the TitanTron and asking her out on a date. He’s the thirstiest stuffed animal I’ve ever seen on a television that wasn’t connected to a closed circuit camera.
Robin Thicke guessed Montell Jordan, despite the fact that none of the clues point to Jordan in any way beyond the fact that both Jordan and Thingamajig are tall. Dr. Ken guessed Brian McKnight for no decipherable reason. Joel McHale guessed Dennis Rodman because Jenny McCarthy suggested it, which is the worst reason to ever do anything.
The Tree is Ana Gasteyer and nothing is going to change my mind. She came out and performed “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, which is an inside joke that the entire world is in on, and Gasteyer is a comedian. The Tree’s clue package showed even more soup hints (Gasteyer’s first role was as a customer of the infamous Soup Nazi on Seinfeld), a witch’s hat (Gasteyer has played the Wicked Witch of the West in two productions of the musical Wicked), and dynamite (Gasteyer appeared in the Netflix series Lady Dynamite with Maria Bamford).
There was a Smelly Cat hint in there, but that was a smelly red herring. Gasteyer did a Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay impression on Saturday Night Live. Nicole Scherzinger was fooled, though, and guessed Lisa Kudrow. The clues are occasionally wrong to trick us, Nicole, why haven’t you realized this yet? Dr. Ken guessed Nia Vardalos, presumably because he is daring the producers to ask him to return for the next season. Joel McHale suggested Megan Mullally, because of previous hints about the Tree being on Broadway. Gasteyer was on Broadway too, McHale, you boob. You absolute boob.
My trial has ended for this week, but next week will bring not one but two new episodes of The Masked Singer, in which three of the remaining millionaires will be ripped from their cosplay and told they are inadequate by a table full of other minor celebrities. Soon. Soon my watch will end.