IT'S NOT CHO FRIENDS, IT'S CHO BUSINESS (THE MASKED SINGER RECAP)
Before tonight’s show gets started, host Nick Cannon wants us all to know that the celebs who said yes to being on The Masked Singer have been previously recognized for their excellence. “Between them, our Masked Singers have 65 Grammy nominations, 16 Emmy nominations, and four of them have already taken their place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, ” he says. There are no Floribama Shore cast members here, America! The audience approves.
Nick introduces the panel, and Joel McHale (The Soup, Community) has come back this week as a guest detective. Joel blows kisses to the crowd and fellow panelist Ken Jeong tries to pull Joel back to his seat. Nick goes to the creatures from episode 2 with him on the stage and explains that one of the five singers will have to take off their mask and leave the competition at the end of the episode.
First up is Rabbit. His clue package doesn’t really say anything new except that he worked in a carnival (?) before he got into performing and that he is no longer in a group, but he cooks up something new every week. At the end of the clip, he throws handfuls of hot dogs and buns at the camera (??). Freud would have a field day with that, but our panel does not, trotting out the ex-boy band member and athlete tropes. Respect to Joel for guessing Corey Feldman and further respect to Ken for not laughing hysterically.
Rabbit sings “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. He’s got a good voice, but this recapper remains unmoved. Nicole Scherzinger asks Nick,” Is it one of the N*SYNC boys?” “Could be,” Nick says. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far into the recapper and not described Nick’s outfit. He’s wearing a turban again and a suit with a red and blue floral pattern - I approve.
To their left, Ken tells Joel, “Definitely not Corey Feldman,” as he claps along to the beat. “How do you know?” Joel asks. “Feldman can’t sing like that,” Ken says. Joel leans closer to the stage.
We’re getting to the chorus of the song, and Rabbit is swinging the straps on his straightjacket. “Get mad! Get angry, Rabbit!” Robin Thicke says, pumping his fist. The song ends and Joel asks Nicole, “Was that a professional singer?” “YASSSSSSS!” Nicole (with a cute haircut) shouts at the direction of the stage.
“Panel! Please compliment my friend the Rabbit!” Nick says. Robin tells Rabbit that he’s a seasoned performer, but this week he noticed a little bit of a twang. “I felt like he was putting that on,” Nicole says. “It does change where I might go with who I think you are,” Robin says. Nicole compliments Rabbit on his willingness to put his whole self into the performance, including a kick that he did around the middle eight of the song.
Nick asks the panel for any new clues that they’ve picked up on. They riff on the food talk in the clue package for a bit. Jenny says that she doesn’t think Rabbit is a chef, but may have guested on MasterChef in the past. Ken doesn’t think the celebrity chef matters, that Rabbit was in a boy band. Jenny disagrees, thinking that Rabbit may have been in a guy in a country band like Lady Antebellum or Rascal Flatts.
Nick reminds the panel of the Episode 2 clue package. Robin says he originally said Joey Fatone from N*SYNC, because of Rabbit’s sense of humor. Nicole says that there was a reference to synchronized singing in the first clue package, and Robin says that JC Chasez could also be Rabbit.
“I’ve toured with N*SYNC,” Nicole says. “Rabbit, have we ever toured together?”
“Who’s we?” Rabbit says. Nicole says she was with a band called Eden’s Crush.
Rabbit says he has seen a lot of performances in his life - so many performances, in fact, that he can’t remember. “Did that help anyone up there?” Nick says. “Nick, we don’t have a clue,” Joel says.
Nick thanks Rabbit for his performance. Rabbit twitches off stage. “My plan worked and I am so happy I fooled them,” Rabbit says. “They were so confused calling me ‘a chef,’ ‘a boxer’, I don’t know… next thing they’re going to be calling me a poet because I like to rhyme and rap.”
When we come back from commercial, Ken is telling Joel that The Masked Singer is his mom’s favorite show as producers and crew swarm around the panel area. “It’s like the number one show in Korea,” he says. “Does your mom know Korean?” Joel asks. “No, she lives in North Hollywood. She was like, ‘you gotta do this show,” Ken says.
We cut to Nick on stage. It’s time for the Alien’s clue package. She wastes no time in telling us that her past performance was hard. “I could barely see, and it hurt to hear some of the comments from the panel,” Alien says. They bring in Episode 2 footage of Nicole verbally head patting Alien.
Still, Alien dug the anonymity of the mask - it reminded her of when she was a young child, before the whole world know her and her family. She’s saying this in voice over. On the screen, she’s in a child’s room, sitting on a bed and mashing a stuffed penguin and fox together like they’re kissing. Alien says she’s going to rise to the occasion tonight and show us all what she’s capable of.
Alien is singing “Lovefool” by the Cardigans. At home, I’m cringing - that chorus demands a lot of a voice and she sounds like she’s just sucked down a sixer of helium. “Oh, I love this song!” Ken shouts. The rest of the panel is thinking about Alien’s remark about being out of fashion from the clue package and throwing out model names like Kate Moss and Bella Hadid. Nick tells Jenny that Alien isn’t supermodel height.
Alien is finishing up and the panel claps politely. “Did she hit that last note?” Jenny asks Robin. “Oh yeah,” Robin says. “She did?” Jenny asks. “No, no,” Robin says.
To their right, Ken is asking Nicole if it could be ex-American Idol judge Paula Abdul. Nicole agrees that Alien and Paula have similar body sizes. Joel looks on. Ken brings back his episode 2 thirstiness for Alien, but stops when Joel reminds him he can’t see her face.
Nicole compliments Alien on her performance and says that her gestures give her a Jackson vibe. “That would be interesting,” Robin says.
Since the panel didn’t get any good clues from the clue package or performance, Nick asks Alien to give the panel a clue of her own. “I’m a quadruple threat,” Alien says. “So maybe she’s a singer/actress/dancer/model?” Nicole says. Nick counts on his hand. “That’s four,” he says. The panel remembers Alien said she had a lot of sisters, so they bring up the Kardashians. Nicole cites girl group Fifth Harmony as a possibility. Robin and Nick remind Nicole that Alien says she’s a quadruple threat.
Robin asks Alien if she’s a recording artist. “I’ve recorded many things,” she’s said. Robin will take that as a yes. Nicole shouts, “Maybe she recorded a video! In the bed!” Nicole shouts. Robin thinks she’s Paris Hilton, but Jenny says no. “Agree to disagree,” Robin says.
Backstage, Alien says that she’s proven to the panel she’s the real deal. “I want to leave my mask on as long as possible,” she says.
Nick is in the audience when we come back from commercial. “If I’m hearing correctly, a Raven is about to chime in about bad romance,” he says. We go to Raven’s clue package. Her first performance was about confronting the loss of her beloved. “It was like the clouds started to part and a long awaited transformation began,” she says about her time on stage.
Strap in, we’re going down Metaphor Alley. “I was once the loneliest bird among all others, and no one recognized my beauty” Raven says over footage of pet store birds and US Highway 2 in a small town, probably in Northern Minnesota. The music transitions from piano to something dramatic. “Until years ago, when a man came to town. He saw me in a new light and took me away from my flock,” Raven said. The footage now is of old tv’s, one of which has the year 1968 superimposed over the static.
“Who is that, like, Tina Turner?” Nicole says.
“I cried tears of love into the Hudson River. I couldn’t believe someone finally saw my gifts. Now my wings are unclipped and tonight my performance is about my newfound freedom and just being me.”
“That cleared up everything,” Joel said. Jenny laughs.
Raven comes out on stage to sing “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. Yeah. Raven is shouty. A couple in the audience shares my lack of enthusiasm. The panel isn’t into it either. Robin sings along.
“It’s a bit obvious, but Raven-Symone?” Nicole asks Joel. Joel doesn’t answer.
Ken tells Raven when it’s all said and done that he appreciates her sincerity. “It’s cathartic. It’s more than a competition for you, it’s therapy. Great job,” he said. Raven touches her hand to her chest.
Nick asks the panel if they found any new clues tonight. Jenny says, “I think I know who you are, and I could almost cry for you because I know that song could speak a thousand words for what your heart went through. It was gorgeous.”
The panel talks about episode 2’s clue package and tonight’s clue package. Jenny cites the mention of the Hudson River as confirming who she thinks Raven is. “She definitely hosted her own show,” Jenny says. Jenny and Robin think it’s Sherri Shepherd, but Nick says that he knows Sherri too and she’d be grabbing his ass right now if it was her. Raven takes a handful of butt, but has to be guided to do so.
“I did a movie with Sherri Shepherd,” Ken says. “I like it,” Robin says. “Have you ever been in a movie with Dr. Ken?” “Wait, wait, wait, more like ‘Have you ever been in a good movie with Dr. Ken?’” Joel says.
“Only in my dreams,” Raven says. “So maybe I’m wrong!” Jenny says. “Maybe it’s not her,” .Nicole says. “Or maybe Sherri Shepherd is lying,” Joel says.
“The panelists were definitely thrown off about who I am this week,” Raven says backstage. “This experience has been so therapeutic, I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep it going.”
When we come back, Nick is somewhere on the studio floor. It’s time for Poodle’s clue package. Like the other celebrities, Poodle loves being anonymous. “I could have been someone you’ve known for years and you have no idea,” she says. She’s excited to be on the show for another week, but she knows she has to be flawless to do this role of the poodle justice. Jenny thinks Poodle is a judge.
On the screen, Poodle is going into a conference room with continental breakfast and practicing jokes. “Is she a comedian?” Robin says. “New material?” “She’s a dog comic,” Ken says. “Amy Poehler?” Nicole says.
Poodle says she’ll be soaring to new heights with tonight’s performance, and when the clue package ends, we see her on a swing high above the stage. Poodle begins singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” as it lowers.
“Interesting song,” Nicole says. “I’m wondering why she chose this song, if it was some clue.” Poodle chose this song because it rules, Nicole. Case closed.
Joel and Ken think it’s a comedian. “I think she looks fit like a trainer,” Jenny says. “Maybe it’s Jillian Michaels,” Nicole says.
“My experts! Talk to the Poodle!” Nick says. Joel snarks about Poodle’s song choice and costume and backup dancer. “That is a ringing endorsement from Joel,” Ken says. “He hasn’t said anything remotely mean! That means he loves you, Poodle!” Poodle pantomimes sparks coming out of her heart back at the panel.
Nicole complimented Poodle with faint praise. “I think it was nice we got to hear the tone of your voice this week and you ended strong,” she says.
Nick asks the panel about clues. Robin brings up the TV judge idea. “But not Judge Judy,” Jenny says. “Or maybe someone who is just judgy - Kellyanne Conway?” “Is she available?” Joel says.
Nick asks Poodle to give the panel a clue. “I have been fired multiple times,” she says. “Just like me!” Nick says, laughing. “OH MY GOD, IT’S KATHY GRIFFIN!” Jenny shouts. “I see it,” Ken says. Joel thinks Poodle could be Omarosa. “I think Omarosa’s a bit taller,” Ken says. Ken claims they dated for three months. Joel suggests just asking Poodle who she is. “I’m very confused by the rules of this show,” he jokes.
Backstage, Poodle is a bit flustered. As flustered as a celebrity wearing a mask could be. “They’re starting to guess very close. I’m trying to act like I’m calm, I was not calm.” As we go to commercial, the show teases a reveal which leaves Jenny shouting, “HOW DID WE GET THIS WRONG!?!?!?!”
When the show is back, Nick introduces Bee’s clue package. Bee says that the mask part is challenging because she watches faces and now she can’t see. “It’s kind of scary,” she says. She’s singing more modern music and she’s hoping the panel won’t recognize her voice.
That doesn’t last very long. Bee sings Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out Of Heaven” and… if Bee isn’t Gladys Knight, I’ll eat my hat. “I recognize the vibrato,” Robin says. “I do too,” Jenny says. Bee leaves the crowd chanting her name. Bee, not Gladys Knight, that is.
The panel is effusive in their praise. Nick asks about any clues they picked up. Nicole thinks Bee’s an actor. The panel says nothing. Jenny noticed that the clue package hinted at Georgia by showing a peach. “I think I know who it is,” Jenny said. “Oh yeah,” Robin says. “Gladys Knight?” Jenny says. The crowd looks shocked. “You also said you knew who the Raven was too!” Nick says.
“Does anyone else recognize Gladys Knight’s voice?” Robin says. “No,” Nicole says, frowning. Robin gets some crowd reaction. “That vibrato is one of the most famous vibratos,” he says. Nicole brings up Dionne Warwick or Patti LaBelle.
Nick asks Bee to provide a clue. “Take me to court,” Bee says. Ken gets excited, thinking that Bee’s past musical legacy may have involved some courtroom time over who gets the rights to use the name. “He is a doctor, ladies and gentleman,” Nick says. “I’m not that dumb!” Ken protests.
“Gladys, you rock!” Jenny yells at the stage as Nick promotes the unmasking. “Who am I? None of your beeswax!” Bee says backstage.
Now we’re at the end of the show, and Poodle, Rabbit, Alien, Raven and Bee are back on stage. It’s time for the audience and panel to vote for their favorite singer. Nick reminds everyone that the creature with the fewest votes will be leaving the show and going back to a very nice home.
When the votes are in, it’s time for Poodle to unmask herself. I call shenanigans. Poodle did a very nice rendition of “Time After Time”! But I don’t work for Fox.
Nick calls Poodle over for the panel to give their final thoughts on who she might be. Robin says that he’s been confused with all the clues, so he thinks she is a very fit Judge Judy. Nicole says Poodle is Jillian Michaels due to the working out and LGBTQ shout outs in the first clue package. Joel thinks so too.
“Remember the whole clue about doing standup and all that stuff?” Nick says. Jenny thinks Poodle is Kathy Griffin, taking great joy in shouting about all the times Kathy’s been fired. The panel gives Ken guff because he is a comedian and doesn’t have a quick answer about who Poodle is. He reluctantly says Melissa Rivers. (???)
“Show us who’s behind the mask!” Nick says. “Who Are You?” begins to play, and Poodle struggles with her mask as Fox gets reaction from anyone and everyone involved with the show. A chant of “Take it off” rises up.
After what seems like 15 more minutes, Margaret Cho emerges from the mask. The panel goes apeshit, especially Ken. “You were very close,” Margaret says to Jenny. “Ken, I thought you would know.”
“She’s my sister on Dr. Ken! I had all the clues and I knew nothing! I am so dumb,” Ken says. Ken explains to the parts of America who don’t know Margaret Cho that she made history for women and Asian-Americans in entertainment. “You are the reason I am a comedian!” he says. “I love you so much!”
Nick asks Margaret what it was like to wear the mask. Margaret said she loves singing and her first job was as Hello Kitty, so it was a lot of fun. Margaret sings “Time After Time” as the credits roll with Nick wearing the mask.
See you next week.