Eliminated ‘Masked Singer’ contestant is old-school crooner


The Broccoli on 'The Masked Singer' Season 4. (Photo: Michael Becker/FOX)
The Broccoli on ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 4. (Photo: Michael Becker/FOX)

It was a Very Masked Singer Thanksgiving, as the show aired on a special night this week. Thursday’s episode was a holiday feast for the ears and eyes, starring the Broccoli, the Mushroom, and for those with more discerning palates, the delicacy known as the Jellyfish. But I just have to say, this was a missed opportunity — why weren’t there characters like the Turkey, the Yam, the Cranberry, the Giant Bowl of Mashed Potatoes, or even the Pumpkin Spice Latte? Still, this episode was full of the show’s usual main ingredient: plenty of TV cheese.

Anyway, the families that gathered ‘round their television sets probably wondered if their own Thanksgiving dinners had been garnished with mushrooms of the psychedelic variety, when at the end of the evening, one of these incredible edibles from Group C, the Broccoli, was unmasked in yet another surreal reveal. No, it wasn’t Dahlia Sin, a.k.a. the “fierce brock-ally” from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12. It was, as correctly guessed by judge Robin Thicke, legendary crooner Paul Anka — a development that surely delighted any elderly relatives watching this bonkers competition for the first time.

During his “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” performance, the 79-years-young showman (who has now tied Dionne “The Mouse” Warwick’s record for oldest Masked Singer contestant ever) proved that cruciferous vegetables do a body good, executing some spry, bendy-kneed, hip-swiveling stage stunts that greatly impressed the panel. “You did moves that I can’t even do,” gasped Jenny McCarthy.

And Paul exuded a youthful spirit too, seeming absolutely thrilled with his Masked Singer experience. “It was a great, great kick. … I’m very humbled, because we have gone through something in our country, and to have this kind of fun and enjoy this, you should all be very, very proud,” he proclaimed. Judge Nicole Scherzinger told the iconic entertainer: “We are sad to see you go home, but it was perfect that you were unmasked during Thanksgiving, because we are so, so truly grateful to have you.”

The Broccoli ultimately went home because his Smackdown performance of Alabama’s “Take Me Down” could not take down the Mushroom, who did a silky-smooth cover of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You” (a fierce faceoff that Jenny described as “veggie-on-veggie crime”). So, next Wednesday, when this very irregular show is back in its regular time slot, the surviving ‘Shroom and this week’s other contestant, the Jellyfish, will advance to the “Super Six” finals. It is there that all three of this season’s brackets (the Sun and the Popcorn from Group A, and the Seahorse and the Crocodile from Group B) will finally compete against each other. I’m feeling confident about my Group A and B guesses, but Group C has been tough to figure out. Still, let’s give it another go:

The Jellyfish, “Don’t Start Now”

This was the gelatinous chanteuse’s finest moment yet. She exuded a confidence that had been missing from her previous shaky performances, and the judges seemed shocked by her transformation, with Ken Jeong raving, “You really have come so far already!” I’d had her pegged as an also-ran or underdog, but during this Dua Lipa disco banger, the Jellyfish floated to the top — and straight into the Super Six.

The clues: According to her sister (who was disguised as an emery-board-wielding, Texas Instruments-style giant calculator), the Jellyfish has always been both the rebel and the overachiever of her “by-the-book” family. The Jellyfish has “never performed on a stage quite like this before,” though she grew up in a “gilded cage” and her dad used to whisk her away at 3 a.m. to “gigs in faraway lands.” We saw a tic-tac-toe board of X’s and O’s and the word “dream,” and previous weeks’ clues have included folding fans, tiaras, flower crowns, baby powder, and bubbles.

Judges’ guesses: Charli XCX, Kylie Jenner, McKayla Maroney.

My guesses: I’d previously thought this was Paris Jackson, but Paris doesn’t have a sister, so it’s time to reassess. However, I am definitely getting some sort of musical-family vibe here. So, while everyone has been assuming that the Seahorse is Jessica Simpson, I think this sea creature is Jessica’s little sister, Ashlee Simpson. Ashlee just had a baby on Oct. 29 (hence the baby powder clue), but this Masked Singer season was filmed back in August, when her pregnancy probably still could’ve been easily concealed under her costume’s many layers of taffeta seaweed. And the Jellyfish’s initial nervousness could be because Ashlee still feels a need to prove herself, after the Saturday Night Live lip-sync scandal that derailed her mid-2000s pop career.

The Mushroom, “Unconditionally”

Katy Perry’s polysyllabic power ballad was an extremely tough to take on, but Nicole praised this fun guy (heh) for a “transcending” performance, telling him, “You possess a power underneath that Mario Brothers costume.”

The clues: The Mushroom was a stellar student, a class president with a 4.0 GPA, and the name he goes by now was not his name when he “first sprouted” — according to the Mushroom’s childhood friend, who is some sort of secret government agent. Visual clues included a bull, a boxing ring, and the acronym or initials “K.I.T.”; past clues have referenced talent shows, hot dogs, violins, the color orange, black bugs, brains, and Mean Girls.

Judges’ guesses: Jaden Smith, Taye Diggs, the Weeknd.

My guess: I still think this is probably Pharrell, a.k.a. brainiac Pharrell Williams, who was discovered by Teddy Riley in a high school talent show; produced two songs on the Mean Girls soundtrack; collaborated with “Black Beatles” rapper Rae Sremmurd; has a line of orange athletic footwear and a children’s TV show called Brainchild; and whose unofficial Neptunes fan site is called Hot Dog High. Plus, the wide-brimmed mushroom cap of that “Mario Brothers costume” strongly resembles Pharrell’s famous Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat!

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