Fox’s very own Circus Maximus came roaring back onto television Wednesday (September 25) night, full of more fur, more wings and a lot more “celebrities” with enough time on their hands to slip into a ridiculous costume in order to make a buck. But who am I to judge? I barely got out of sitting through the first season of The Masked Singer with my sanity in check, yet here we all are, a mere six months later, for round two. Dance, monkeys. Dance!
Host Nick Cannon tips us off that 16 “masked freaks” will be sliding across our screens over the coming weeks in a bid to, um, win nothing but a spot on stage during the finale, when they’ll ultimately be unmasked anyway. So what’s the point in this show again? There are just some questions the universe never answers, I’m afraid.
Also back — because where else are they gonna go? — are panelists Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger. They seem perhaps the most flummoxed that ratings last winter were good enough to warrant a second go.
So let’s break it down nice and simple: This season’s 16 constants have racked up 42 Grammy nods, 140 film appearances, 35 No. 1 hits, 21 Platinum records and 22 Broadway credits between them. Nick helpfully points out that they also have 29 children, 28 tattoos and eight divorces. Noted.
Eight singers are set to face off against each other during tonight’s two-hour episode. Four of those will wind up at the bottom, once voting from the studio audience and the panelists is wrapped, and they’ll have to sing again for a last chance to avoid being eliminated. That will leave two of these costumed kiddos hitting the exit door tonight.
It all seems way more complicated than it needs to be, so just roll out these fools already.
Butterfly Vs. Egg
Butterfly looks like something you’d wake up at 3 a.m. and see, through half-opened eyes, standing in a darkened corner of the bedroom, just before it pounces on you and drags you feet- first into a cocoon to feast on your soul. Other than that, neat costume.
The clues package shows that Butterfly used to live in London and is powerless for some reason, but ready to take back her power and bring us all to church. Got it. She then reveals herself to be a pretty decent singer while belting out Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang.”
Next up is Egg, whose clues include a snow globe and the phrase “going for the gold.” Once he launches into Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” it’s pretty obvious this is Olympic skater-turned-sassy-TV-personality Johnny Weir, who used to incorporate Gaga into his routines on a fairly regular basis. My mind briefly goes to Adam Rippon, as well, but he’s probably not quite at the “resorting to The Masked Singer” phase of his career just yet. Give it a year.
Once the votes are in, Butterfly is declared the winner, which means Egg is heading to “The Smackdown” for one last shot at hanging around.
Thingamajig vs. Skeleton
Thingamajig looks like a seven-foot Troll doll. He raps some clues about singing not being the main talent he’s known for, but he winds up surprising the panelists with a not-shabby vocal performance of The Commodores’ “Easy.” Ken says that he did not expect that voice coming from that body, while Robin states that he’s getting a “Larry King and a Muppet lovechild vibe” from Thingamajig.
And then comes this hot exchange:
Nicole Sherzinger: “Who was it that used to do… make his hair different colors?”
Robin Thicke: “Dennis Rodman?”
Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg: “No way! He’s in North Korea right now.”
Nick Cannon: “He’s on the Korean version of this show.”
Ken Jeong: “How dare you, Nick Cannon? I’ve always been good to you!”
Moving on, out comes Skeleton, who clues us in that while many doors have opened for him, he’s tired of playing second fiddle. Tonight, he says, is gonna be a wild and crazy party. I kind of doubt that.
Skeleton then gives us the worst rendition of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” we’re likely to ever hear, though the performance is somewhat saved by his goofy dance moves and overall charming demeanor.
Nicole raves, “That was fire, Skeleton. I freakin’ love you.” Of course you do, sweetie.
Ken, meanwhile, is convinced Skeleton is Martin Short. Whatever the case may be, the bag of bones gets sent to the graveyard by the votes, and must face off against Egg in The Smackdown.
This all proves to be a thankfully brief encounter. Egg sings Blondie’s “One Way Or Another,” while Skeleton attempts Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle.” In the end, Skeleton is voted the winner, which means Egg will be unmasked at the end of the show.
Side note: Nick Cannon is wearing $2.4 million shoes encrusted in diamonds. Think about that each and every day of YOUR lives.
Ladybug Vs. Rottweiler
Not to be outdone by Butterfly, Ladybug sports an impressively elaborate costume. Her clues package makes references to several game shows, including Wheel Of Fortune. She also reveals that she was born into the spotlight, with the media following her “every family feud.”
Ladybug’s song choice is Bonnie Tyler’s Footloose soundtrack hit “Holding Out For a Hero.” Robin states that she sang very strongly. Ken ponders if it’s Lindsay Lohan under the mask, but the Ladybug doth protest. She then speaks briefly and reveals a Southern accent.
Rottweiler next struts onto the stage and throws out some football clues, including a Fantasy Champion ring and a reference to Friday night lights. He gives a surprisingly gold-star performance of Daryl Hall and John Oates’ “Maneater.”
Despite the sports-related hints earlier, Robin thinks Rottweiler is Backstreet Boys member Brian Littrell. Jenny is leaning more towards Nick Lachey.
Following this round, Rottweiler wins the votes and Ladybug is off to The Smackdown. NEXT!
Tree vs. Ice Cream
Kids, there’s someone dressed as a tree and someone dressed as an ice cream cone. Let us process.
Tree jibber-jabbers about having a cooking show. She then sings Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” solidly enough for Robin to declare her as “one of [his] favorite frontrunners.” With her bubbly personality, this has to be Rachael Ray, right? Oh, who knows.
Tall and lanky Ice Cream bops onto the stage next, telling us that he took a lot of flack while growing up for doing the thing he loved the most, until he was able to turn his fantasy into a reality. One thing’s clear: It’s a fantasy that he’s a good singer. He does a dire turn with Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” and, well, needless to say, Tree wins this round.
In the second Smackdown of the night, Ice Cream fights for his anonymity by singing Devo’s “Whip It,” while Ladybug flies circles around him with Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
The voters reject Ice Cream’s flavor, and so he’s sent to join Egg in the flophouse.
Before Egg’s face is revealed, Robin and Jenny join my line of thinking, and guess (correctly) that it’s Johnny Weir in the white suit.
Ice Cream proves to be a harder nut to crack. Once the cone head comes off, it winds up being YouTube and gaming celebrity Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.