THE QUARTERBACK SNEAK (THE MASKED SINGER RECAP)
The novelty of The Masked Singer is wearing off on me. It sounds like its wearing off on host Nick Cannon too, as his voice over hustles the Lion, Deer, Peacock, Unicorn and Monster on stage. “Who Are You?” plays as Nick slides into view wearing a turban, panda mask and a pink houndstooth suit.
He explains the premise of the show and introduces the four members of the panel. This week, Ken Jeong brought along his Community co-star Joel McHale. “Are you ready for like, some craziness?” Nick asks Joel. “I don’t know what would be crazy about this show,” Joel says as the camera cuts to Monster and everyone laughs politely.
“Let’s hear it for the Lion!” Nick says, as Lion mugs for the camera. “Your first performance totally tamed our wild panel who wondered if you came from a girl group,” Nick says. Lion shrugs as Nick introduces her clue package.
Lion says in voiceover she’s on Cloud 9 after the panel complimented her Episode 1 performance. “Now I feel like I could be a frontrunner,” she says. “I’ve always loved to sing, but the anonymity of the mask has made me feel truly courageous.” We then see Lion pumping her fist as members of the audience hold us protest signs saying #PRIDE, #NOCIRCUSLIONS and #cagefree. The signs look like they’re written in purple crayon and green marker.
The camera captures Jenny McCarthy saying, “She’s leading a charge; she’s an activist.” “It’s a lion who believes in something,” Ken says. “Like ‘Let’s go eat that wildebeest’” Joel says. “Maybe!” Ken says.
There’s more protest footage. “I tell my pride you have to be strong and stand up for what you believe in,” Lion says. Then, Lion is found reading the the front and back pages of the Hailey Times (No judgment. It’s hard for newspapers to sell ads these days!) with the huge headline GOLD FOUND IN HAILEY!!! I’m going to be mad when Lion is unmasked and that clue is shown to be something obvious that I should have known tonight. “Hailey, Idaho?” Joel asks. “Halley’s Comet?” Robin Thicke says. Lion says she’s going to sing her heart out, because she’s going to win.
“This is gonna be good,” Jenny says. Lion, surrounded by beaded curtains, launches into Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” The camera looks at Robin and Nicole Scherzinger, who are trying to figure out who Lion is, but only succeed in looking like they’re trying to place a bad smell.
Needless to say, Lion crushes it. “You got another standing ovation!” Nick says as he goes to the panel. Jenny says to Robin and to Lion that the creature is professionally trained, while Nicole takes a swig of her coffee, shakes her head and murmurs to Joel, “I don’t think she’s professionally trained.” Joel tells the lion, “You’re like a huge, sexy belt buckle out there.”
“I. Am. Part. Of. Your. Pride,” Ken says, pointing at Lion with every word.
Robin thinks that Lion’s vocals are seasoned and that she may be a little older. Nicole says out loud that she thinks Lion is not a professional singer, but that she is an actor who has vocal training. The camera cuts to audience members thinking over her statement. “No, no, definitely a seasoned performer,” Robin says. The panel starts throwing out celebrity names like Kelly Rowland, Emily Blunt and Hailey Baldwin. Lion shrugs.
Jenny asks if Lion currently has a platinum album. “I have nothing gold or platinum on my walls,” Lion says. “Yet.” “You’re definitely on your way,” Nick says.
Backstage, Lion says, “...The panel is nowhere close to guessing who I am.” To be fair to the panel, neither am I.
After the commercial, Nick introduces Deer’s clue package. The video opens with Deer sitting on a couch in someone’s living room, watching the results of his face-off with Lion on Episode 1. “Man, the last time I was on that stage, I was really off my game,” Deer says, giant antlers nodding. Two weeks ago, Deer ended up in the bottom 3 and was in danger of being unmasked. “Being in the bottom ain’t my style,” Deer says. “I used to be able to sell salt to a slug.”
In the next scene, Deer is filming a commercial for a used car dealership. Jenny says he’s an athlete who has done commercials. In the voice over, Deer is psyching himself up for his performance and says, “Trust me, I know how to throw.”
In the video, he starts throwing stuff from his desk at the director and cue card guy. “Oh my gosh, they’re throwing,” Nicole says. “Who does that?” “He’s a thrower! He’s a quarterback!” Jenny says. “John Elway,” Joel says, referencing the Denver Broncos quarterback. Once Deer’s desk is clear, the commercial shoot is over. Jenny repeats her Episode 1 guess and says its former wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. Ken agrees with her. Nicole thinks it’s a boxer, like George Foreman. “George Foreman weighs 200 more pounds,” Joel says.
Deer is on a platform singing “Get Your Shine On” by Florida Georgia Line. Joel cringes. Jenny says, “Older guy.” Nicole lets out a “WOO!” as he launches into the chorus. It’s a WOO that mean girls summon to make things suck less. Ken air banjos. Joel claps off beat as Deer struggles to keep up with the backing track.
The backup dancers help Deer down the six stairs of the platform after the song. “Take your time,” Joel says. “Must be an athlete, right? No knees left?” Ken laughs. “Deer was definitely shining,” Nick says, as the Deer bends over just enough to maybe get an antler in his eye. Nick winces. Robin tells Nick to be careful.
Nicole puts her empathic face on, telling Deer that the song was suited for his vocal range. “I think your vocals shone a little bit more this week. Good job.” Jenny takes a shot at the Deer’s age. Ken says,”I can tell you’re not a professional singer, but I can tell you’re definitely game.” All of America groans.
“It was the best song I’ve ever seen sung by a deer in a gas mask,” Joel says. “Ever. I love all your albums, Brett Favre.” Robin thinks guessing the Hall of Fame Packer quarterback may be the best idea yet. “Why don’t we just ask him who he is?” Joel says.
Robin thinks that Deer might be Ben Roethlisberger. Jenny says he may be a quarterback. “Terry Bradshaw?” Nicole says. Deer is taken aback.
Nick lets Deer give a clue and he says that he has multiple world titles, he started in track and field and then it went to horses. Robin says that Deer could be a horse owner. “I think they’re trying to throw us off the scent,” Ken says. Nick wraps up the Deer’s segment, but then stops to request someone help Deer off the stage.
Backstage, Deer says that he knew the song, but he was scared he’d panic when he got on stage. “And I did,” he says, laughing.
When we come back from commercial, Peacock is on a 30-foot lift. “DON’T. FALL.” Joel yells. Nick is in the audience and introduces Peacock’s clue package.
Peacock is strutting through some backlot, high on his Episode 1 success. “This show appealed to me so much because I’ve had so many different incarnations of my career,” he says. “And everyone thinks they know me.” Nicole and Jenny think he’s a magician again. Peacock says he’s gone from being a teenybopper to a dramatic actor. “Yeah, a little bit of everything,” Robin mutters.
Peacock says that his performance tonight will take him out of his comfort zone. “Did I mention I have a terrible fear of heights?” he says.
Peacock starts singing “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic as the audience waves glow sticks. Fireworks go off and the lift sinks to the floor in time for the first chorus. “He’s like Peacock Elvis,” Ken says. Nicole pumps her fist. Robin claps along, smiling. “He’s such a performer!” Nicole says. Backstage, Unicorn looks away from the monitor and covers her mouth, Home Alone-style.
Nick goes to the panel. They are forthcoming with compliments. Nick asks the panel what clues they’ve picked up. Robin rattles off a bunch of generalities about Peacock being a performer when Joel says, “It’s Neil Patrick Harris!” “Oooh!” Robin says. Then Robin bring up the magician idea AGAIN. Jesus. Magicians don’t usually sing and singers don’t usually practice magic, guys. “The name David Copperfield hasn’t been thrown around,” Robin says. Jenny talks about the Las Vegas clues and brings up a black and white photograph of fans from the clue package. “I have performed in Las Vegas,” Peacock says. “I’m starting to think Tom Jones at this point,” Robin says. Nicole says Peacock is a natural born performer. “Thank you!” Peacock says.
Backstage, Peacock says he feels more confident. “I have really stumped the panel,” he says. “I am going to strut my fabulous stuff all the way to the end.”
We’re welcomed back from commercial to the Unicorn’s eye-view as she walks on stage. I don’t blame all the creatures for sometimes stumbling around! All you can see is a bunch of neon. Nick empathizes with their plight, but then says, “And they’re all celebrities. They already high maintenance without their masks! No offense, Unicorn!”
“For years, I’ve been lacking confidence because I’ve lost my sheen,” Unicorn says in voice over. The panel thinks Unicorn is Charlie Sheen ex Denise Richards. She says she was terrified during Episode 1. “I came here to conquer my fear of singing and being judged. And I did it… I’m feeling victorious and tonight I’m going for the gold.”
Unicorn is singing “Oops! I Did It Again!” in front of a fringed pink curtain with the hands of backup singers waving out of it. Okay. I’m reminded of karaoke night a half-hour after you should have left the bar. Nick joins the panel to cheer on Joel and Ken as they pelvic thrust.
Jenny tells Unicorn that she loves her vulnerability. “I almost pooped a rainbow,” Jenny says. “It was really sweet.” Robin agrees. Nick asks if the panel picked up on any clues. Robin thinks she’s a model. Nicole says she’s Denise Richards. “She keeps referring to flying, so I was like, ‘Maybe she’s a gymnast ‘cause she said ‘Gold’.” Robin asks Nick to figure out how high her heels are and thinks Unicorn could be Olympian Gabby Douglas because their mannerisms are similar.
Jenny shouts out Mary Lou Retton. Jenny. Who the hell remembers Mary Lou Retton? “Mary Lou Retton is FOUR ELEVEN,” Joel says. The panel talks gymnasts.
Nick asks, “Unicorn, are you known for being a gymnast?” “In the bedroom!” Unicorn says. TMI!!!! “You definitely know Charlie Sheen,” Joel says. The clue does nothing else for the panel.
“I love that Robin thought I was a model,” Unicorn says, giggling. “I was like, ‘yeah, this is awesome. I can be anyone I want to be behind this mask.’”
Nick is back in the audience when we come back from commercial. It’s time for the Monster’s clue package. “Man, almost being unmasked that last time was a really tough pill to swallow,” Monster says. “When I was given a second chance, I realized I had to do a little reset and move forward.” He drove up from the south in a Cadillac and the screen shows the New York skyline. Then he’s out in the desert.
The next scene shows a machine shooting out dollar bills in front of two guys, both wearing sunglasses. The guys have malfunctioning confetti cannons and they’re now in an apartment? All the while, Monster says on the voiceover that he’s ready to do better this week.
Now we’re back in the studio. Monster is singing “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw complete with furry microphone. He can sing. Well.
“Talk to the Monster,” Nick says to the panel. “After watching you perform, I’m like, ‘This is the weirdest show on television,’” Joel says. “But you can sing. This is really great.” Robin says that Monster provided his favorite performance. Ken and Nicole both say, “Really?” The other singers didn’t really try and stretch their voices, in Robin’s opinion. Nick agrees with Robin.
Robin says that it could be Nelly, due to the rap world clues in the clue package. Nick asks Monster for a clue. “I like to keep my head in the game,” Monster says, pointing at his head with the furry mic. “Maybe it’s a golfer? Is that crazy to say?” Jenny says. “Maybe it’s an athlete who can sing,” Ken says.
Robin says he noticed the reference to New York City, so possibly it’s Derek Jeter. Monster sinks to his knees. Nick throws out Kevin Hart. “How dare you! He’s way shorter,” Joel says.
Ken laughs. “This is a hard one,” he says.
Backstage, Monster adds to a common theme for tonight. “The panelists have no idea who I am, and I plan to keep it that way until the end of this whole thing.”
On the final return from commercial, the five creatures are back on stage. It’s time to vote for your favorite performer! Nick says there was only a two percent difference between the bottom two singers.
“Tonight, our masked singer who must take it off is...the Deer!” Nick says. Deer shrugs. The panel gets to their feet, as the other creatures walk off the stage.
“This is bittersweet for me, because I hate to see you go, but I’m glad I’m not going to be stabbed with them damn antlers,” Nick says. He asks the panel for their final guesses. Robin rattles off a bunch of clues, but mentions that he watches Fox NFL Sunday and notices that former Steelers quarterback and commentator Terry Bradshaw hikes his shoulders to his ears when he laughs, just like the Deer. Nicole doesn’t watch a lot of football, but agrees. Jenny says it’s well-known quarterback Peyton Manning. Joel thinks it’s Terry Bradshaw because Deer had to be helped down the stage after his performance.
I’m not going to tell you Ken’s guess, because Deer takes off his mask… and…
It’s a very flushed Terry Bradshaw. I want to pour a bucket of water over his head and give him a hug. Nick tells the crowd that Terry won four Super Bowls with the Steelers and was a two-time Super Bowl MVP. “How does this compare?” Nick asks.
“It’s so stressful,” Terry says. “I gotta thank y’all for voting me off. It’s been so much fun.” Nick points out that Terry has put out some albums. Terry sounds bitter as he points out the judges said he wasn’t a singer. Joel points at Nicole. “You gotta put this on and stick a microphone up there,” Terry says.
Joel asks him to wear the outfit on Fox NFL Sunday. Terry laughs again and Nick invites him to sing “Get Your Shine On” again as the credits roll.
See you next week.