The masked singer is usually a lighthearted, escapist show, and Wednesday’s Hall of Fame Night episode certainly had its weird moments — like when a purple Barney bride in a baggy, possibly fake British brogue sang a Smash Mouth song, or when guest judge Joel McHale predicted that Venus Fly Trap was bringing back disgraced contestant Mickey “The Gremlin” Rourke.
But the whole episode was bittersweet, due to the presence of another guest judge and Silver Fox Hall of Famer: Leslie Jordan.
The beloved Leslie, a longtime friend of the show, died in a car accident on October 24th. THAT PERIOD, The masked singer released a heartbreaking statement that read: “We are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of Leslie Jordan. Leslie carried an infectious exuberance, an indelible sense of humor and gave us countless memories that will last forever. Our deepest condolences go out to Leslie’s family, friends and fans.”
But before that tragedy, Leslie taped one last time Masked singer episode, sitting – along with McHale – for regular judge Ken Jeong, who had Covid at the time.
“I rarely get invited back anywhere, so it’s exciting!” Leslie joked on Wednesday’s episode. And the entire cast certainly seemed excited to see Leslie back on set. After the parade, he received the hero’s welcome he deserved, with judge Robin Thicke and host Nick Cannon giving him huge hugs and host Nick speaking for all of America as he exclaimed:I love this man!”
Ken, explaining his absence from The masked singer this week too he tweeted“This is our dear friend Leslie Jordan’s final appearance on the show, and we’re dedicating this episode in his honor. [Heart] you leslie We can feel your love from above.”
It was incredibly touching to see Leslie hang out behind the judges’ table one last time and take on the default role of Ken making a bunch of wildly wrong guesses (although no one booed Leslie, of course!). And viewers especially felt all the feels at the end of the night, when the show paid tribute with an In Memoriam reel of the Emmy-winning lead actor Masked singer hits, including that time in Season 6 when he hit the cast beautifully disguised as a Soft Serve.
No celebrity mystery this season could ever compare to the sweet Soft Serve, of course, but Wednesday introduced the final new batch of cosplaying contestants for Season 8 — with two Bracket C singers going home before the hour was up. The first to get the boot was the Little Shop of Horrors-like the Venus Fly Trap (judge Nicole Scherzinger’s favorite costume of the season so far), doing a surprisingly solid rendition of the Temptations’ “Get Ready,” despite clearly not being a professional singer. All the judges knew he was an athlete, probably a boxer — Leslie thought it was Mike Tyson — but after the panel baked him for more clues (ahem), only Robin guessed George Foreman correctly.
“I think this is the strongest audience reaction we’ve ever had on this show,” Nicole said, as the crowd went wild for America’s favorite grillmaster.
“It was a lot of fun. All of a sudden, now I want to go into the recording industry!” Foreman said as he pondered his composition Masked singer experience. “I need a hit record now!”
So it was a TKO for This specifically George, but another rhinestone cowboy with that first name, also known as Gopher, lasted at least one more round.
Gopher’s groovy, vibey cover of the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” was enough to land him in the ring with the night’s other surviving contestant, Bride, for an “All-Star” battle royale — accompanied by Prince -his partner. friend Sheila E. on live drums! Leslie amusingly thought it was Flavor Flav or Lil Nas X. Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg almost got it right when she thought the Gopher was Bootsy Collins. and Robin thought for a moment that it was the Wicked Stone. But Robin eventually picked up on the all-too-obvious clues about the “specimens” and “dogs” and realized that this was Bucci-Funkadelic’s colleague in Parliament, George Clinton. (Why Clinton was dressed as the Gopher and not, say, the Mothership Alien, Flash Light, or Atomic Dog, I don’t know.)
“Your music has inspired so many of us, and still does today,” gushes Robin. “That’s the thing: When you’re original, from your stage performance to the music coming out of the speakers, nothing else looks or sounds like it.”
“I’m so glad Ken’s gone because now I can say I was in the room with you,” Joel told both Georges.
So it was time for the Gopher and Venus Fly Trap to kick out of the funk, which meant Season 8 had a new reigning queen — or King, after the Bride, who sang Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” and said she was “bringing back Tyrannosaurus Rexy, baby,” turned out to be a man. Well, now it’s time to study the clues…
At first I thought this self-proclaimed “action hero” was Axl Rose, for a number of reasons: a real visual cue of a rose, an “appetite for destroying things,” a life “on the road selling out arenas,” a “rough.” personality’, a ‘notorious’ reputation for ‘being in some of the dirtiest feuds’ and a picture of a snake that may or may not have been a reference to Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Patience’ video. I also thought the wedding dress could have been a nod to GNR’s epic “November Rain” video. But unfortunately, that didn’t sound like Axl, and I can’t imagine him signing up for this show anyway.
So, upon closer listening and inspection, I think the references to “feuds,” “destruction,” and “action hero” are clear references to rockin’ wrestler Chris Jericho, who fronts the heavy metal band Fozzy. The Bride sounded a lot like Chris, especially on his second Gopher-fighting song, Smash Mouth’s “All-Star.”
But here are some other long-shot possibilities: The visual clue of a globe with a crown on it could mean the bride is Brian May of News of the World the band Queen or, if that English accent is indeed fake, Van Halen’s ‘Top of the World’ belter Sammy Hagar. And finally, based on the shrill vocals, shuffling gait, likeable personality and general body language, this could be AC/DC’s Northern Englishman Brian Johnson, whom Axl Rose temporarily replaced in the AC/DC line-up DC.
Whoever it is, the Bride “sounds like a real rock star,” Jenny confirmed. And she’ll be back next week once again against two new contestants… while Leslie Jordan will forever remain in the hearts of viewers.
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