Ding Dong, the Mantis and the Gargoyle are dead. Long live the Medusa!
Oh, I’m sorry – don’t I feel like this? That’s probably because you haven’t kept track of all the latest twists on this one Masked singer season. Allow me to explain…
So a new gimmick was introduced in Season 9, the “Ding Dong Keep It On Bell”, which allowed the judges to save one contestant per series from elimination. Over the past two months, that bell has rung for second contenders Medusa, Mantis, and Gargoyle, and finally, on Wednesday’s special redemption episode “Battle of the Saved,” those three celebrity cosplayers returned to compete for a open spot in the quarterfinals.
And at the end of it all, the Medusa was the last mask standing. “It would be so awesome if someone we rescued actually takes home the trophy,” judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg prophetically mused Wednesday, when the snake-like diva got her reprieve.
The first contestant to be unmasked this week, after a goofy good-time performance of “You Really Got Me” that seemed equally inspired by the Kinks and Van Halen, was the Mantis. The judges knew he was a shape-shifting movie star with comedic and musical chops, and suspected he could be Kevin Bacon, Dennis Quaid, Thomas Lennon, Steve Buscemi, or even Brendan Fraser. When the singing stick insect turned out to be iconic 1980s actor Lou Diamond Phillips, a long time La Bamba buff Robin Thicke was downright embarrassed that he misunderstood this one.
“That movie had a huge impact on me. I listened to that soundtrack daily,” Robin told Lou, as he “processed all these feelings of growing up, watching you and admiring you so much. What an honor to have you here!” Next, Lou treated Robin and the audience to a special performance of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” — a rare sensation, especially since, interestingly enough, Lou didn’t actually sing in the 1987 biopic that kickstarted his career. (Phillips lip-synced with vocals provided by Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo.)
The second elimination of the night, after singing Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love”, was the Gargoyle, who went pretty far in this show – all the way to this week’s battle royale against the obvious music pro the Medusa – given the fact that singing is not his main day job. The toothy entertainer turned out to be Los Angeles Chargers football wide receiver Keenan Allen – but Keenan was playing with music under the stage name K.Alexanderso he had the chops to go above and beyond most of the typical athletes of this show as well.
This all worked out, because it was clear that the Medusa, who said she had felt like an underdog all her life, wanted this second chance. Masked singer fame much more than her Ding Dong rivals. She was almost crying and screaming towards the end of her rampaging, show-no-mercy cover of Shawn Mendes’ “Mercy,” telling the judges, “I felt very emotional singing this song. … I’m going to replay this [moment] forever in my thoughts.”
The judges were also moved not only by “Mercy” but by the monster of the Medusa, Battle Royale against the Gargoyle on Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” a song that frankly seemed to have been handpicked by producers with the reptilian rock goddess in thoughts. A weeping Nicole Scherzinger, the judge who had rung the bell for this season’s Medusa, gushed, “You stirred our souls tonight!” … What I love about you, and connect with so much, is that when you’re on stage, you don’t take a second for granted, and you don’t hold back. Jenny was delighted: “That [“Mercy”] performance alone could win this match,” and later told the Medusa, “You didn’t turn us to stone – you tuned us into butta!”
So now that the Medusa is officially back in the game, with a solid chance of actually winning all season long, it’s time to guess her identity again. The judges thought she might be Lorde, Kesha, or Susan Boyle (that last one, of course, was Ken Jeong’s ridiculous guess). At first I was convinced that the Medusa was Fergie, and so was the rest of the internet; in fact, Gambling.com even had the MVPea in first place in the leaderboard, with a 33% chance. But based on more recent clues, I’ve since changed my bet to the 11.1% longshot option from that betting site, alt-rock artist Bishop Briggs.
Let’s re-evaluate all of this season’s Medusa clue packs. This singer with an “alias” is a “dancer in the dark” who grew up “far from the limelight” – and “Dark Side” singer Bishop, whose real name is Sarah Grace McLaughlin, is the daughter of Scottish parents from the East Dunbartonshire, Scotland town of Bishopbriggs. (Another past Medusa clue was a Scotty dog.) The Medusa also mentioned on NYC Night, the episode where she was rescued, that “New York, New York” is her dad’s favorite karaoke song, and that she grew up singing it. it. That all ties into two other clues – an international airline ticket and the year 1996 – because Bishop moved to Japan with her family in ’96 and sang in public for the first time at a Tokyo karaoke bar.
Other clues include the Super Bowl (Bishop’s track “Wild Horses” was in an Acura Super Bowl commercial); a “True Love” chest tattoo (Bishop has a song called “Tattooed on My Heart”); Buckingham Palace (bishop was actually born in London); a framed portrait of Chris Martin (she toured with Coldplay); rainbow-lit palm trees (she’s played Coachella twice); and a DVD cover that read, “$340 million sold,” which the Medusa held aloft as he said, “Sometimes success comes in the grayest of places.” (Bishop’s cover of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” arrived Fifty Shades Liberated, which reportedly grossed $340 million.) She also said she’s “technically been here before,” and season 6 champion Jewel (aka the Queen of Hearts) memorably covered the hit ” River” by Bishop. And of course there was also a clue to a bishop chess piece.
Next week, the performer currently known as the Medusa will take on the UFO (possibly Cara Delevingne) and two reality talent show veterans: the California Roll (definitely The sing off champs Pentatonix), and the macaw (absolutely, positively american idol dear David Archuleta). Can she continue to slide down the comeback path to the Season 9 Grand Finale and fulfill Jenny’s prophecy? Watch this space.
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