The Masked Singer Recap: Epic Unmasking Reveals Pioneering Hip Hop Legend

It only took them nine seasons to do it, but “The Masked Singer” finally gave Robin some love by allowing him to showcase his own track “Living in New York City” to kick off the show.

His moment was immediately overshadowed by one of the most stunning, iconic and legendary maskings in the history of the show. Seriously, this is one of the biggest gets that you can get in the entertainment industry — and that includes Week One’s epic Dick Van Dyke reveal.

It was a big show, too, for the contestants as this week wraps Group 1 and crowns a winner who advances automatically to the quarterfinals. Could Medusa hang on after knocking down four other singers before this week’s show to take that spot, or would there be an upset at the last minute?

There’s also the fact that the panel hasn’t yet run the Ding Dong Keep It On Bell, a new addition this season that allows them to save one eliminated contestant from the chopping block. That singer keeps their mask on and moves to a Wild Card round. There, they face off against the other saved contestants, with only one making it to the quarterfinals with the Group winners.

Let’s jump right in with this week’s masks. And don’t worry, before we get to the shocking unmasking, we’re going to make you power through the terrible (and occasionally good) guesses made by our illustrious panel of Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger first. We do this because we love … to torture you.

Along with the panel’s guesses, we’ll be sharing some internet speculation, too, so if you don’t want to be potentially spoiled (because they are very good at this), you may want to skip past the guesses sections.

(“New York, New York,” Frank Sinatra) Medusa again delivered something very different, starting in an extremely low register on this standard. She kept the performance subdued throughout, but still offered a few glimpses of the power and range of her voice. There was a beautifully sweet falsetto moment, too, but it was her tasteful restraint throughout that drew us right in.

Guesses: White recapping some of her journey so far, Medusa shared that she was performing her dad’s favorite karaoke song tonight, adding that they grew up singing together. She also showed a white terrier head as a clue. But was it just a terrier, or was it Food Network star Duff Goldman, who competed as McTerrier last year. She was referring to?

She also shared that she was shocked to have beaten a music industry legend last week in Debbie Gibson, meaning she doesn’t classify herself in that category. Jenny immediately shot down that notion by saying she’d be surprised if Medusa doesn’t have a wall full of Grammys.

Certainly, hers is a well-trained and seasoned voice that’s been on stages doing this for long enough that it comes with a certain ease to her. All the accolades from Jenny and Nicole left Medusa humbled and in tears.

Luann de Lesseps came out to represent NYC with the celebrity clue, and Medusa even got starstruck to be on the same stage with her. Luann had come with a clue that looked like a Brooklyn Bridge replica adorned with lights. “Sometimes you have to build a bridge to get over it. Hopefully, it will put you in the right state of mind.”

“We have a love thing going,” Luann quipped about Nick while she was out there, but it was Robin who got in the best dig. He replied without missing a beat, “We always find out nine months later.” Nick leaned into it, ushering her off the stage by calling her, “My new baby mama!”

Back to the show, though, Nicole is still thinking this might be Lorde, but shifted to maybe considering Florence Welch due to the “Dog Days Are Over” possible terrier connection. The audience liked the Lorde suggestion, but shut down Florence entirely so she threw out Shirley Manson, instead.

Ken got booed right away for his terrible Susan Boyle guess, while Robin got a much stronger reaction for his Kesha guess. Most people really don’t knew the full breadth and scope of her voice. She was on an album with Chris Martin and has done Coachella. He also referenced the clue that Medusa has been on this show before, but in a different capacity, which could just be covers of her songs.

Still, we can’t hear anyone other than Fergie now that the internet has been leaning that way since the first week — and only feeling more and more confident with each subsequent performance. We like Kesha as a guess (and she’d be great on this show), and there were a few other names tossed around, but we’re feeling pretty confident at this point!

(“Rapture,” Blondie) Polar Bear was terrible. Like, seriously terrible. Why on earth did he pick this song after making it pretty clear that he’s not a singer in his clue package. At best, he’s a rapper so why not try that? His voice was timid, scratchy, shrill and grating all at the same time.

Guesses: All of his clues seemed to point to him being a groundbreaking DJ. His costume had records on it, turntables were part of his visual setup in the clue package and he literally said he “turned the tables” on the music industry.

He said his neighborhood got a bad rap (which had us thinking rapper or a DJ who worked with rappers), while sharing that he used to mess around with electronics growing up, which is how he found his new sound that changed the game.

There was boxing imagery, a scratch-off lottery ticket (scratching records) and even a literal message in a bottle. He then said he was there to honor a fellow New Yorker who changed the game like he did before busting out the worst Debbie Harry impression possibly ever.

His crowd work between the verses left us even more convinced that he’s a deejay, who was definitely having fun out there. He probably knows what a mess he is as a singer, but said where he comes from there’s “nothing but swag.”

The Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, made her hair bigger than ever to come out and do a reading on Polar Bear. She said he was giving off star power vibes and she could totally see him at a podium giving a speech. “I think it’s actually an acceptance speech,” she clarified, “At the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”

That certainly raises his pedigree. Is this one of the OGs of the entire hip-hop scene who created record scratching and sampling from the very start?

Robin’s take on that, with the HoF clue really narrowing it down, was that this might just be DJ Jazzy Jeff, who was one of the earliest artists in the nascent hip-hop movement, though we’re wondering how influential he was. But Nick and Polar Bear shut that down right away, since Jeff is from Philly.

Even Polar Bear was hating on Ken’s Diddy guess, ultimately vetoing it entirely. He’s not even going to let the decent guesses go by without shutting them down, telling Jenny her Flava Flav guess is “wro-o-o-ong,” too.

Nicoole, then, got a very different reaction fro Polar Bear for her guess, making it seem pretty likely that she was onto something. Could the show have really pulled Grandmaster Flash? He created the very idea of scratching, which was heavily hinted at in the clues, as well as backspin and punch phrasing. He definitely changed the way music was being created and continues to influence it today.

He’s also an absolute legend of the music industry, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 as the first-ever hip hop act (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) to make it in. The clues were so heavy-handed on this one, really narrowing things down, it’s hard to think of anyone else who fits. And what a huge get for the show!

Twitter wasn’t at all confident in their guesses as to who this was, but they were confident that this was probably the only time they were going to get — is that the right word? Get? — to see him.

(“Paparazzi,” Lady Gaga) California Roll is five singers in one act, which created for an adorable sushi costume and a very rich vocal sound. Honestly, we immediately thought of a five-part act that broke big on another singing reality show, especially as this one seemed to have a taller lead male vocalist, at least on this song, who has a very cool sound of his own.

Guesses: Their clue package included soy sauce a rack of “cool shades,” and revealed that they’d been on Broadway. We also saw a “group project” and “spicy may cones,” while at least one of them shared that they moonlighted as a DJ and another got married.

All of the clues were in the first person, so it was a confusing hybrid of wondering if the clues were specific to the member saying them. They did reveal they’d had the chance to work with the likes of Dolly Parton and Snoop Dogg, which our guess has also done.

After watching them take home the win on Season 3 of “The Sing Off,” we were definitely feeling pretty confident that this is a cappella breakout group Pentatonix.

Their clue, brought out by the infamous New York pizza rate, was 5 billion. “Five billion and growing,” said one of the rolls. “But who’s counting.” Tying it to our favorite guess, PTX has 5.9 billion views on their YouTube channel.

Jenny really stretched to try and tie the tiger clue to “The Lion King” Broadway cast, but then she landed on who we think it is, Pentatonix. The audience was digging that guess, too. Nicole, though, took the baseball pitch and “perfect dish” to “Pitch Perfect,” wondering if maybe it’s that cast, while Ken was really hoping it was “High School Musical.”

But it’s totally Pentatonix.

We love a legend as much as the next person, and it’s clear that Polar Bear is a legend. But there’s no way he could compete on a singing competition against with what Medusa dropped this week and all the harmonies and vocal arrangements brought by California Roll.

He wasn’t even as fun and silly up there as some of the other terrible singers (we’re looking at you White Tiger) who’ve gone too far in this competition. He legit had us cringing with his attempts to sing Blondie. Luckily, the audience and panel agreed, sending Polar Bear to the great unmasking.

Robin Thicke: LL Cool JJenny McCarthy: Flava FlavKen Jeong: DiddyNicole Scherzinger: Grandmaster Flash

Nicole presented her case well and we were right there with her every step of the way. We’re surprised the rest of the panel wasn’t dipping into the 70s with their guesses as all those clues made it clear this was one of the pioneers of hip hop. What a treat for fans of all ages to have Grandmaster Flash among them, because of course that’s who this was.

Then, for every person in that room to get to see him do what he does live and in person, it doesn’t get much better than that. “We are in the presence of greatness,” Nick likes to say and in this case he definitely wouldn’t be underselling it.

(“Uptown Girl,” Billy Joel) Medusa built to that signature scratch and sounded more Fergie than ever. She’s got that full-throated sound that no one else can quite mimic. It did take her a moment find her way on this song, but she stuck the landing. California Roll took the track to church with a stripped down arrangement that made us even more confident it was Pentatonix. They sounded even better here than in their original song.

Honestly, this is the toughest round of the whole season so far, even as it’s also a bit anticlimactic. We already know the panel is going to use the Ding Dong Keep It On Bell because this is their last chance in this Group. But it does still matter who wins here.

The winner advances automatically past that Wild Card round, while the loser has to compete in it. If it were up to us, based on the creativity and artistry on display in attacking these covers, as well as the consistency we’ve seen tonight, we’d give it to California Roll.

The panel has been in love with Medusa since Day 1, so would that sentimental attachment over three shows give her an edge with them or would they crown a newcomer as the Group 1 winner! We had a feeling they’d jump ship, and they did just that, handing California Roll the crown and sending Medusa to the unmasking (that wasn’t going to happen).

Robin Thicke: KeshaJenny McCarthy: HalseyKen Jeong: Susan BoyleNicole Scherzinger: Lorde

Only Jenny went in a new direction, and it wasn’t the right one. The panel has been on the Fergie path before, but somehow pulled themselves off of it. Of course, no one was going to find out tonight that they were all wrong because Medusa was spared unmasking by the Ding Dong Keep It On Bell.

While we’d have loved to see it run last week for Debbie Gibson, we can’t fault the result this week. The panel gambled that better was coming along and California Roll delivered. Medusa might not have thought she’d advance this way, but at least she carries on in the competition and still has a path to victory.

“After I heard the California Roll, I knew they won and I felt so embarrassed,” Medusa told the panel, thanking them for this second chance. Twitter, though, was a little more mixed on the panel using the bell for her.

“The Masked Singer” moves on to Round 2 and DC Superheroes Night night next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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