Fox’s “The Masked Singer” introduced a new group of masked celebrities Wednesday, and the costumes were even more elaborate than those shrouding the stars we met last week. The latest performers included Black Widow, Leopard, Flamingo and, briefly, Panda, who was revealed to be retired professional boxer Laila Ali following her elimination from the weird reality competition show we can’t stop watching.
Like “Masked Singer” judge Ken Jeong, we are feeling very confident about our guesses for this round of celebrity contestants.
What we know about them: The celebrity behind the elaborate spider costume said they chose their avatar “because, like me, they hide in plain sight and when they strike, you know it.” She teased that viewers would get to know her in an “edgier” and “darker” light, which Black Widow likened to a “director’s cut of my life.” She also referenced an empire (or, perhaps, “Empire”) and declared, “You’re in my house now.”
Oh, and when host Nick Cannon asked what made her the Black Widow, she gamely replied: “I like to hide until it’s time to feast.”
What the judges thought: Everyone knows that if you are going to sing a Whitney Houston song, you need to really knock it out of the park. Black Widow’s daring performance of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” won over the panel: “I am so blown away. This is the first time this season I’ve gotten chills all over my body,” said judge Jenny McCarthy, who guessed Black Widow might be “Glee” alum Amber Riley.
Jeong had a different idea: “I know exactly who this is,” he said, suggesting one of his “Community” co-stars: Yvette Nicole Brown. Judge Robin Thicke offered typical commentary: “She moves very nimble,” prompting the Black Widow to do an impromptu squat. “That might be Cardi B with that move,” Thicke joked before throwing out a more serious guess: Sherri Shepherd.
PREVAILING SOCIAL MEDIA THEORIES: Raven-Symoné
OUR GUESS: Raven-Symoné, who had a recurring role on “Empire” and maintained a squeaky clean image as a child actress. Her early career included roles on “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince;” she sang the theme song (and other soundtrack offerings) for her Disney Channel sitcom, “That’s So Raven.” She reprised the role in a spinoff that premiered in 2017: “Raven’s Home.” Raven-Symoné’s birthday is Dec. 10, and, as judge Nicole Scherzinger pointed out, there was a Sagittarius sign in Black Widow’s intro package.
What we know about them: The Leopard’s intro package opened on a self-assured note: “I’m adaptable and can survive anywhere, even under the harshest conditions.” Leopard alluded to a long career as a “heavy-hitter,” but lamented one aspect of fame: “Now all anyone wants to talk about is the celebrity aspect.”
What the judges thought: Leopard, who sounded like a posh British lady in the intro package, threw the panel for a loop when he started singing “Somebody to Love” by Queen. “That’s a man!” they agreed. “With a voice like that,” Scherzinger said, the Leopard had to be “someone major.” McCarthy guessed Jamie Foxx, the Oscar-winning actor with two Billboard No. 1 singles under his belt. Jeong disagreed, noting Foxx is not as tall as the towering Leopard.
Thicke tossed out an intriguing suggestion: “Pose” star Billy Porter, who found Tony (and Grammy) Award-winning success on Broadway before his Emmy-winning turn as a ballroom emcee on the FX drama. He’s also known for being a standout on red (and purple) carpets.
After Leopard triumphed over Ali’s Panda in the final smackdown, McCarthy offered another guess: “Drag Race” host RuPaul.
PREVAILING SOCIAL MEDIA THEORIES: RuPaul; Foxx
OUR GUESS: RuPaul enjoyed underground fame for years, but his celebrity increased after he began hosting his Emmy-winning reality competition show. Plus, the drag icon’s singing voice sounds a lot like Leopard’s. He is also very tall.
But what convinced us was Leopard’s response to Cannon’s question about what makes the masked celebrity the Leopard. “Leopards can be fierce, and yet so divine,” he said. That sure sounds like something the host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” would say.
What we know about them: Flamingo strutted confidently onto the stage ahead of her intro package, which not-so-subtly hinted at a notable YouTube presence (or ZooTube, as she put it), along with interests in fashion and beauty. Citing a love of “luxurious vacations,” she told viewers she would be their “escape.”
What the judges thought: The Flamingo’s rendition of “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers proved she had the vocals to match her commanding stage presence. “You sounded amazing on that song,” said Scherzinger, who noted “a youthfulness” and, um, “machestical” quality about the Flamingo. (There was a lot of talk about Flamingo’s apparently ample bosom.)
Most of the panel agreed Flamingo had professional-level singing chops and suggested she might be a former member of a girl group such as Danity Kane, Fifth Harmony, Xscape or Destiny’s Child.
Jeong went a different route, positing that Flamingo may be a disgraced YouTuber. “With all due respect, like Olivia Jade,” the doctor turned comic said, citing the influencer daughter of “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, who are embroiled in the college admissions scandal.
McCarthy said Flamingo reminded her of Tia Mowry. But as a number of social media users noted, she referenced “The Real,” which is co-hosted by the actress’s twin sister, Tamera Mowry-Housley.
PREVAILING SOCIAL MEDIA THEORIES: Adrienne Bailon of “The Real” and “Cheetah Girls Fame;” YouTuber Liza Koshy
OUR GUESS: Bailon! In addition to co-hosting “The Real,” Bailon courts more than 800,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, All Things Adrienne; the site touts “tips and tricks on all things beauty, fashion, home decor, entertaining, and even more.”
Last week on the daytime talk show, the former 3LW singer emphatically denied she’s on “The Masked Singer,” but we’re calling her bluff because Flamingo really sounds like her. As Mowry-Housley told her co-star, even if Bailon were the Flamingo, she “couldn’t tell us.” Bailon is basically this season’s Joey Fatone, who strongly disputed reports he was the Rabbit, but was later revealed to be ... the Rabbit.