‘The Masked Singer’ Recap: Panda Made Extinct By Voters

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More and more viewers must must be tuning in to The Masked Singer, television’s weekly costume ball of buffoonery, because the stage has a fancy new video projection floor.

It makes a nice addition to the fuzzy, multi-colored microphone wire that drops from the ceiling for host Nick Cannon to use, boxing announcer-style, during the Smackdown each week. Fox spares no expense when it comes to glamor.

Wednesday (October 2) night’s episode introduces us to Group C of this second season’s disguised performers: Black Widow, Leopard, Flamingo and Panda. These get-ups seem pretty tame, and it all kind of makes me miss last week’s more bonkers contestants, like Tree and Ice Cream -- that is, until Black Widow comes out and starts twerking all over the stage.

Black Widow vs. Leopard

The first face-off of the night belongs to Black Widow and Leopard. The former drops hints about living in the public eye, building an empire and being a film director. Leopard, on the other hand, makes allusion to being a heavy hitter in the heyday of their career and the public only being concerned with their “celebrity aspect” now. “I really don’t care what they say about what I wear or my relationships,” Leopard states defiantly.

Black Widow tears through an impressive rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” that has panelist Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg announcing, “This is the first time this season I’ve gotten the chills all over my body.” I, on the other hand, get them every Wednesday once 8 p.m. rolls around.

Jenny ponders whether Black Widow could be Amber Riley, of Glee fame. Her fellow panelist, Ken Jeong, is convinced it’s his onetime Community co-star Yvette Nicole Brown, while Robin Thicke guesses Sherri Sherpherd. These people are ding dongs.

Meanwhile, everyone assumed Leopard was a female until the spotted kitty starts singing Queen’s “Somebody To Love,” clearly giving away that the masked contestant is male. Nicole Scherzinger says, “With a voice like that, there’s somebody major underneath that leopard costume!”

Major or not, Leopard gives a flirty tug to Nick’s coat tail before losing out on the audience’s votes and being sent to the Smackdown for later.

Flamingo vs. Panda

Flamingo bounces out on stage and drops clues about giving beauty and fashion tips as well as life advice on their “ZooTube” channel. She also states that she’s here to take back control of her destiny. “It’s about damn time this badass birdie got to show her feathers again,” Flamingo quips, before launching into Jonas Brothers’ recent Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper “Sucker.”

Ken speculates that Flamingo is either disgraced social media starlet Oli Jade or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. I’d like to remind everyone that Ken is licensed to practice medicine, folks.

Enter Panda, who dedicates her her clues package to her “Papa Bear,” as she’s always admired his strength. She explains that she comes from “the world’s greatest family in the forest” and has an animal instinct. She then performs Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”.

Jenny and Nicole Scherzinger appear to be on the right path, speculating over whether Panda is a sports figure like Venus Williams or Ronda Rousey. Ken, however, puts it out there that it could be Martha Stewart or Queen Latifah. Take your paycheck and go home, Ken.

Panda proves to be this face-off’s flop, and is sent to a Smackdown with Leopard.

Smackdown

In a final bid to stick around another week, Panda goes paw-to-paw with Leopard by spitting lines from DJ Khaled’s T-Pain-featuring “All I Do Is Win.” When Leopard retaliates with a bizarro rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” I figure it’s all over for this spotted pussycat. Alas, the audience has a different take on it, and throws their vote to Leopard.

And so it’s unmasking time for Panda, who turns out to be undefeated boxing champ Laila Ali, daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali.

Well, perhaps we can’t use the term “undefeated” with her any longer. Tough beat, Laila!