Fox’s “The Masked Singer” returned for its fourth season Wednesday (8 EDT/PDT) with distance between celebrity panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke, who host Nick Cannon revealed would be competing for a gilded trophy of their own. While “Masked Singer” contestants will be vying for the Golden Mask trophy, per usual, a Golden Ear trophy is up for grabs for the panel.
The famous judges will write down their first impressions following the introduction of each contestant, and the one who has the most correct guesses will win the newly introduced statuette.
Wednesday introduced the singers from Group A: The Sun, Giraffe, Popcorn, Dragon and Snow Owls (the first costume featuring two celebs).
Group B – Crocodile, Gremlin, Seahorse, Whatchamacallit, Baby Alien and Serpent – and Group C – Broccoli, Squiggly Monster, Mushroom, Jellyfish and Lips – make their debuts later.
Cannon informed Wednesday’s viewers that between them, this season’s stars have 46 Grammy nods, three world records, and that there are an Olympic gold medalist and an Oscar nominee among them.
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‘The Masked Singer’: The Sun
Clues: The Sun, similar to “Masked Singer” contestants of the past, spoke about once being at the top of her game. “At first, stardom was great, but it was a ton of pressure. The spotlight was scorching, and I got burned out,” she said, beating off asteroids with a pair of tennis rackets. “So came my fall into a deep depression.”
At The Sun’s “solar sanctuary” we spotted a chihuahua in a life jacket and a jaguar.
Guesses: The Sun brought the fire, belting out Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You,” inspiring Scherzinger to guess “Smash” star Katharine McPhee. McCarthy suspected actress/singer Demi Lovato, while Jeong got Madonna vibes.
‘The Masked Singer’: Giraffe
Clues: During a carnival-themed package, Giraffe shared he “had a roller-coaster career, full of ups and downs. Music is in my blood, but when I stuck my neck out and took a gigantic risk, I became the butt of everyone’s jokes.” Giraffe was pelted with tomatoes and apples.
Guesses: Following Giraffe’s performance of The Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started,” Jeong voiced a theory about country legend Garth Brooks. McCarthy thought Giraffe might be Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, and Thicke brought up “Ice Ice Baby” rapper Vanilla Ice.
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‘The Masked Singer’: Popcorn
Clues: In an opening dubbed “Snacks and the City,” Popcorn introduced herself as someone who “built a career around love” and made some references to Netflix’s captivating “Tiger King” docuseries, including a tiger sighting.
“Hey, all you cool Corn and Cornettes,” Popcorn said, delivering a greeting in a style similar to Carole Baskin. “I’m Popcorn, Ms. Popcorn if ya tasty.”
“Eventually, I went from a little pup cuttin’ pictures out of Vogue to jet settin’ to exotic places with royalty,” Popcorn said of her rise.
A table shown with a serving of meatloaf, an apple and a snake also potentially hold some significance.
Guesses: Following Popcorn’s rendition of Pink’s “What About Us,” Jeong went with the obvious choice: Baskin. McCarthy and Scherzinger thought of more iconic singers: Tina Turner and Mary J. Blige, respectively.
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‘The Masked Singer’: Dragon
Clues: It seems the whimsical world of “The Masked Singer” isn’t foreign territory for Dragon, who revealed “dressing up in funky, outrageous costumes isn’t new to me.”
With a stopwatch as a focus in the package, the challenger shared that “like a Dragon, I’ve always been a fire-breathing beast on a quest to be the best.”
The clue package also showed a room full of treasures, trophies and gold medals, as well as the Statue of Liberty and a large dog bone.
Guesses: After getting treated to Dragon’s version of “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J, McCarthy thought the costumed celeb could be “X Gon Give It To Ya” artist DMX. Jeong thought the clue package pointed to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, while Thicke and Scherzinger envisioned rapper Busta Rhymes.
Clues: A clam shell with a pearl was highlighted in the Snow Owls’ clue package. The duo shared: “You haven’t seen us together in a while, but now it’s time for a family reunion.”
The female Snow Owl explained her partner loves a gag. “He’s a prankster,” she said, “a real wise guy.”
Guesses: Once the pair performed A Great Big World’s “Say Something,” Thicke imagined married musical artists Amy Grant and Vince Gill were beneath the feathery disguise. McCarthy and Scherzinger were in sync thinking the pair could be singing siblings Donny and Marie Osmond. (Donny previously appeared as Peacock, the runner-up on the series’ debut season.) Jeong guessed “Schitt’s Creek” stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. Guess a Golden Mask trophy would complement their fresh, new Emmys.
Unfortunately, Dragon’s fairy tale has come to an end. Cannon requested the judges’ first-impression guesses, which revealed McCarthy and Jeong initially thought of NFL players Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, respectively. However, McCarthy and Jeong felt more comfortable with their guesses of DMX and Phelps.
Scherzinger and Thicke voiced their initial guess earlier in the night: Rhymes.
And Scherzinger and Thicke were right. The “Break Ya Neck” artist was inside the Dragon costume.
Canon said he knew right away who was under the mask: “I knew by his walk, when he walked out here,” he said, imitating the rapper. And Scherzinger thanked Rhymes for appearing, calling him “rap royalty.”