The Masked Singer judges were shocked Wednesday when, during the Season 6 Group A semifinals, wild-card contestant the Hamster quite smoothly crooned Luis Miguel’s “Sabor a Mí” in Spanish. Judge Robin Thicke called the sweet performance “easily one of the most charming things I’ve seen in my entire life,” and the panel even thought that Marc Anthony or a member of the Iglesias family might be inside that furry, roly-poly costume.
Instead, this rodent turned out to be former Saturday Night Live cast member Rob Schneider, who’d dedicated his performance to his wife Patricia and daughters Miranda, Madeline, and Elle – the latter being successful singer-songwriter Elle King. Maybe Elle inherited some of her singing skills from Rob after all.
“Rob, I’m gonna say you were absolutely phenomenal on this show,” said reigning and two-time Golden Ear winner Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, the only judge who guessed this one correctly. Schneider remained humble, telling the panel with a shrug, “Thank you. I’m tired of competing against a Bull who can do the splits. That’s pretty impressive. I saw that and I said, ‘I’m gonna take my nut bag and get out of here.’ … I was backstage and I was so nervous, and I go, ‘Why am I this nervous? I’m dressed as a hamster!’ Still, the comic described his brief Masked Singer run as “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Well, as one wild card exited the show, another, perhaps the wildest one yet — the Jester — entered the competition to really shake things up. Let’s check out his performance along with the other Group A contestants, and keep the Season 6 guessing game going.
The Bull, “To Make You Feel My Love”
This beefy contestant continued to take the competition by the horns with another stellar, powerful vocal, perhaps his best of the season. “You stripped it all back and you said, ‘I’m going to let my voice, my heart, and my soul speak for itself.’ Thank you so much for letting us in,” gushed Nicole.
The clues: Before he was famous, the Bull left his stable job to chase his dreams in a faraway city, where he ended up living in a cockroach-infested flophouse apartment. We also saw comedy/tragedy theatrical masks, an old-school MacIntosh computer, and a framed photo of Hall& Oates. Past clues have mentioned “house parties,” Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, a “small town surrounded by cows,” and Forbesmagazine. He’s also said that his “secret weapon” is dancing, although he didn’t bust on any moves during this week’s plaintive ballad.
Judges’ guesses: Taye Diggs, Cheyenne Jackson, Lil Nas X.
My guess: I still think this is small-town Texan, Disney obsessive, dynamite dancer, and Forbes“30 Under 30” honoree Todrick Hall, who moved to Hollywood shortly before competing on American Idol in 2010. (Hall! Get it?) Todrick has starred in Broadway productions (Kinky Boots, Chicago), and his last concert trek was called the “Haus Party Tour.” Nicole must be playing dumb; surely she recognizes her friend Todrick’s voice from when she costarred in his musical film Straight Outta Oz, right?
The Pepper, “No Tears Left to Cry”
There’s no doubt that the Pepper is pop star in her own right, judging by how well she handled this operatic Ariana Grande banger. “That is legit!” cried out Jenny. “Outstanding in every way!” raved Ken. And Robin described this peppy, red-hot performer as “fearless, confident, and born to be onstage.”
The clues: When he first hit it big, she was pulled in a million directions, caught up in the whirlwind of her sudden success, and she didn’t fully appreciate it at the time. We also saw a lot of gold trophies, a vintage iPod, and a good-luck video message from Courteney Cox. In a past clues package the Pepper has mentioned going viral in 2020, and we’ve seen roller skates, TikTok references, and a reconfigured Hollywood Sign spelling out “Chiliwood.”
Judges’ guesses: Pink, Idina Menzel, Natalie Imbruglia, Ellie Goulding.
My guess: I am more certain than ever, after hearing the Pepper’s distinctive, languid British accent, that this is multiple Grammy nominee and Courteney pal Natasha Bedingfield, whose career exploded in the aughts’ iPod age with “Unwritten,” a song that had a resurgence on TikTok this year. That Chiliwood sign was likely a nod to The Hills, and Natasha’s 2019 comeback album was titled Roll With Me and featured the track “Roller Skate.” And so, it is written: The Pepper is Natasha.
The Skunk, “Square Biz”
The fun and funky Skunk’s Teena Marie cover was declared “epic” by Jenny, and Ken told her, “You’re always crushing it, always killing it. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.”
The clues: Her life’s biggest regret was when she let her pride stop her from saying hello to a loved one — and she never got a chance to see or embrace that person again. “That one hug could have changed the course of…