For weeks now, pretty much every Masked Singer Season 5 viewer on Twitter has insisted that the Robopine is actor/singer Tyrese Gibson. In fact, #Tyrese has trended every Wednesday night. And the prickly pop star did always sound like the Fast & Furious star. But I, being a trusting person as well as a viewer who pores over the show’s clues like a forensic detective, knew it just could not be him.
Why? Well, for starters, the Robopine said he was a 60-year-old grandfather; Tyrese is 42 and has two daughters who are ages 2 and 13. The Robopine said he spent his childhood in Costa Rica; Tyrese grew up in Los Angeles. (Trust me, the search term “tyrese gibson costa rica” is still cached in my browser history.) Many other Robopine clues simply did not align with Tyrese’s backstory — so much so that I once even guessed the Robopine was MC Hammer, who certainly isn’t known to soulfully croon the way the Robopine sang Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” this Wednesday, but at least was the right age.
Well, readers…. I feel gaslit. The Robopine was Tyrese all along! Perhaps that throne clue we saw a few weeks ago was supposed to represent Tyrese’s throne of lies. “I was completely a character,” he proclaimed after his ceremonial unmasking this Wednesday, telling the judges, “Everything about my backstory that I had to create was because I know all of y'all personally."
“I think you played the game better than just about anybody on the show,” judge Ken Jeong told him.
Please note, even though all four judges had initially guessed that the Robopine was Jamie Foxx, Jamie also didn’t fit the Robopine’s fake profile. The judges just ignored his story about being 60 years old, because he moved like such a well-oiled groove machine that they automatically assumed he was lying about his age. This week, however, Nicole Scherzinger (who was crushing hard) and guest judge Chrissy Metz actually guessed this was Tyrese. I suppose I should have listened to them… or, you know, to the entire internet. (To be fair, certain Robopine clues about “watts” and superheroes were based in truth. And I should have expected this stunt from the man who brought us the double concept album Alter Ego.)
Oh well. Assuming that the remaining five costumed contestants are actually telling the truth, I do feel confident about my other guesses. See below:
The Yeti, “It Takes Two”
I have a feeling this adorable snowman is internationally known. He certainly can rock a microphone. And he came to get down! After last week’s heartstring-tugging “Lonely” ballad, this week the Yeti flipped the script (and did the splits!) with this funky-fresh old-school performance. “It was just so dope,” gushed Nicole.
Clues: We learned that the Yeti has kids (including a daughter) and a deep bond with his “nana.” We also saw a baby pacifier and a corn cob. (“Corn popped into my mind,” he explained.) Past clues have included the letters “ABCD” (with the D highlighted), donuts, New Year’s Eve party hats, cupcakes, and “love, love, love.”
Judges’ guesses: Vin Diesel, Jason Derulo, Trey Songz, Miguel.
My guess: This is R&B singer, dynamite dancer, and father-of-two Omarion, who has starred in Love & Hip-Hop, America’s Best Dance Crew (or ABDC), and Corn Pops commercials. The New Year’s clues refer to his former boy band B2K (Boys of the New Millennium), and the O-shaped donuts are a play on the title of his solo album, O. Plus, the Yeti sounds just like him. Case closed.
The Piglet, “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”
Former girl group member Nicole instantly recognized the “boy-band cry” in the Piglet’s voice as he hammed it up on this melodramatic Phil Collins power ballad. “I feel like you wanted it the most,” she said. “For me, that that was one of your strongest performances.”
Clues: He has an apple-shaped birthmark on the side of his head, which he only found out about when he shaved his head in college. We also learned that he’s “caught touchdowns from [Miami Dolphins quarterback] Dan Marino.” We saw the numbers one through five (with the four on the floor), vampire teeth, and gold bars, this week, while past visual clues have included an orange foam-finger peace sign, a UFO, cotton candy (which he said reminded him of “one of his first jobs”), and barbecue grilling. He has frequently mentioned that he used to be unlucky in love but is now happily married.
Judges’ guesses: Ian Somerhalder, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Brian Littrell, Nick Lachey.
My guess: This is Nick Lachey — who found out about his secret birthmark when he shaved his head in college. If that, and the fact that the Piglet sounds exactly like Nick, isn’t enough, one of Nick’s first gigs was singing at Cincinnati’s Kings Island amusement park (where cotton candy is served), his doomed first marriage was chronicled on three seasons of MTV’s Newlyweds, he starred in the vampire horror flick Rise: Blood Hunter, and that grilling clue is a reference to his gold-selling boy band, 98 Degrees. Also, here’s a photo of him with Dan Marino. Case closed.
The Black Swan, “Do I Do”
The Swan is definitely the best power-belter left in the competition — the Season 5 equivalent of another ex-teen star who won last season, LeAnn “The Sun” Rimes. As Ken noted, “Everything about her is perfection.” To hear her take on a Stevie Wonder classic and sing it this well — and sing it while stuffed into a swan dress even weirder thank Björk’s! — was a wonder indeed.
Clues: We saw a black umbrella, a can of “Swan Kissed Soda,” and a map of New Hampshire. She used to busk on the streets as a kid and once broke a chart record set by Mariah Carey, and one of her favorite artists of all time is Stevie Wonder. In the past, she has mentioned being raised by a single mother and a legal battle that derailed her promising childhood career, and visual clues have includedastuffed rabbit, an “I’m late!” sign, and the state of Montana.
Judges’ guesses: Rihanna, Kesha, Christina Milian, Mandy Moore.
My guess: This is JoJo, whose pre-fame demo, recorded in 2001, featured a Stevie Wonder cover. JoJo then scored a hit with “Too Little, Too Late,” which broke the record previously held by Mariah Carey’s “Loverboy” for the biggest jump into the top three on the Billboard Hot 100. JoJo spent part of her childhood (with her single momager) in New Hampshire, was in a fight with her record label for years, and was originally approached to play Hannah Montana. And that rabbit is also a JoJo pun. Case closed.
The Russian Dolls, “Shallow”
Move over, Ally and Jackson Maine! This Oscar-worthy performance, which “stripped to the core” the essence of the Dolls’ dreamy vocals, was their most gorgeous moment yet. Judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg described their harmonies as “epic.” Robin Thicke admitted that he’d thought this would be their “greatest challenge,” but they clearly aced it. Robin told them, “You were able to show a new version of yourself, and I think you just got yourself to the finals.”
Clues: They were “harshly criticized” by “haters” back in the day, even for how they looked, but then they “embraced not being the coolest” and connected with a fanbase of “outsiders.” We also saw a wok, and nickel and dime, pop art, and a kangaroo (because “you never know how many joeys are going to pop out”). Past clues have included a Partridge Family-style tour bus, a softball field, the letter M, a serious health scare, and Carnegie Hall.
Judges’ guesses: Hanson, Nickelback, Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne.
My guess: This is Hanson. I knew that when producers made the huge mistake of leaking their “Shallow” performance two months ago, not realizing just how instantly identifiable the brothers’ epic harmonies are. Hanson have suffered two health scares (eldest brother Isaac’s pulmonary embolism and youngest brother Zac’s motorcycle accident), they got their big break singing at a South by Southwest softball game, they’ve played Carnegie Hall, and they released an album called The Walk. (Get it? Wok?) And here’s a Yahoo interview with the “Weird” trio about how they were “traumatized” and felt like “outsiders” as kids. Case closed.
The Chameleon, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”
The Chameleon’s neon-rave performance was one of the coolest productions I’ve ever seen on The Masked Singer, very Tyler-the-Creator-at-the-2020-Grammys. Everyone really wanted to party with him. “That was some lit legit-ness. … That was crazy,” Nicole raved (pun intended). “You have to be a hip-hop artist for real,” said Ken.
Clues: We found out he’s a “military kid” and a friend of the Dragon, a.k.a. Masked Singer Season 4 contestant Busta Rhymes, whose song the Chameleon covered tonight. We also saw orange slices, a plate of (pot?) “brownies for $ale,” a toy airplane, a captain’s hat, and an old-school sneaker. In the past, we’ve learned that he’s worked on the “big screen” and has been nominated for a Golden Globe, and saw references to martial arts, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chicken wings, a black-and-yellow taxicab, tailoring, and cheese.
Judges’ guesses: Young Thug, Snoop Dogg.
My guess: Snoop wouldn’t be a bad guess — he even told Yahoo Entertainment in a 2020 interview that he’d love to go on The Masked Singer — but this doesn’t sound at all like the Doggfather. This is Snoop’s friend and collaborator (and Busta Rhymes’s friend and collaborator), Wiz Khalifa. Wiz is a proud military brat, a member of the Taylor Gang, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai expert, and the recording artist behind “This Plane,” “Captain,” “Black and Yellow,” a Ninja Turtle theme, “Chicken With the Cheese,” and the Golden Globe-nominated “See You Again.” And the title of Wiz’s mixtape Kush & OrangeJuice explains two of this week’s clues. Case closed!
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