The latest singer to be unmasked on Fox’s bizarre (and bizarrely watchable) new reality show “The Masked Singer” was the Unicorn, who was revealed to be — as we (and Ken Jeong) predicted — Tori Spelling. “Performing in front of people is my biggest fear in life,” the “90210” alum told the audience, who responded with a collective gasp. “I always wanted to sing, and I love singing.”
Spelling didn’t name the person who once told her she was tone-deaf, a painful moment she mentioned in her first hint video. But she told Jeong and the other judges a hint involving a typewriter was a reference to her late father, famed television producer Aaron Spelling.
Spelling’s reveal follows that of comedian Margaret Cho, former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. But there are still seven stars who remain incognito. We’ve used the show’s cleverly delivered hints about their lives and careers to take our best guesses on the faces behind the costumes. This post is devoted to the first group of celebrity singers — our other guesses are here. (We’ll continue to update this post as the celebrities are revealed).
What we know about them: “Putting on a show is in my DNA,” the Peacock told us. He has been performing onstage since he was 5. He was friends with Michael Jackson and was once considered a heartthrob — “it’s probably been a while since your mom had a poster of me on her wall,” he confessed. The unidentified celeb said he chose the Peacock disguise “because we both share a love of the spotlight.”
What the judges thought: Nicole Scherzinger said his voice was “like buttah.” The singer performed “The Greatest Show,” so Jenny McCarthy wondered if he might be “The Greatest Showman” star Hugh Jackman. That was quickly nixed. “Hugh Jackman’s like 6′5”, Robin Thicke said. “He’s a lot taller than that Peacock.” Thicke said he initially guessed Zac Efron but changed his mind since the celebrity described himself as a seasoned performer. Ken Jeong just really liked his outfit. Everyone agreed the Peacock gave off a Vegas vibe.
Prevailing social media theories: Neil Diamond, Donny Osmond, Tom Jones
Our guess: Osmond, no doubt about it. He first performed at age 5 on “The Andy Williams Show,” where he sang “You Are My Sunshine” and teamed up with his famous brothers for a rendition of “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.” And the singer appears to match the Peacock’s build and vocal range. He’s also a Vegas veteran.
Update: Donny Osmond was revealed to be the Peacock on the season finale.
What we know about them: “I was at the top of my game, but the game turned on me,” the Monster told us, noting he had once retreated from the public eye and gone into his “cave” (hence the monster duds). When the judges asked if he was a professional singer, he replied: “Not to everyone.” He said he is ready for a comeback and performed Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
What the judges thought: The judges admitted they were surprised by the celebrity’s vocal talent. “You’ve got great range, and I heard some soul in there,” Scherzinger said. Thicke thought the voice sounded mature, as in not a young celebrity. McCarthy guessed Diddy (“You never know!”). Jeong thought his hiatus might have been a jail sentence, which prompted Scherzinger to think of celebrities with legal issues. “Does Gucci Mane have a brilliant, beautiful, mature soulful voice?” she wondered.
Prevailing social media theories: Wayne Brady, T-Pain, Jamie Foxx
Our guess: This is a tough one, but we’re going with T-Pain. He was considered a rapper in the mid-aughts when his heavily auto-tuned tracks drew criticism from his peers even as he climbed the charts. What about those pipes? T-Pain has stunned fans over the years with his soulful vocals on underappreciated singles and in that memorable Tiny Desk Concert at NPR. A 2014 New Yorker article, published when T-Pain was 28, referenced a lull in his career and a resulting “depression that left him unmotivated to make any more music.”
Update: T-Pain is the Monster, the winner of Season 1 of “The Masked Singer.”
What we know about them: “Some might say I’m Hollywood royalty,” the Lion announced before declaring she was stepping away from her pride, where there are “lots of women.” She seemed confident behind the microphone as she belted out Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” She also seemed tall.
What the judges thought: Thicke made several mentions of the Lion’s hips and suggested she may be an actress or model with some vocal training. McCarthy really wanted it to be Lady Gaga. The panel realized pride might not necessarily refer to a family but, perhaps, a musical group? Scherzinger said if the Lion were a Pussycat Doll, she would know. Other girl groups were thrown out — Destiny’s Child, Fifth Harmony — before Scherzinger confidently declared the celebrity must be Mel B, a.k.a. Scary Spice. “No, no,” Thicke countered. “That’s a soulful American singer.”
Prevailing social media theories: Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Rumer Willis
Our guess: Willis! Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s eldest daughter would certainly be considered Hollywood royalty. And her soulful voice, showcased on Fox’s “Empire” and in Broadway’s “Chicago,” seems to be a match for the Lion. Oh, and she used to have a giant tattoo of a lion on her arm. So there’s that.
Update: Willis was indeed the Lion, as revealed on the Feb. 20 episode.
What we know about them: She grew up in a rich neighborhood and told us her “childhood should have been magical.” Alas, someone she looked up to told her she was tone-deaf, and the Unicorn said she was constantly made to feel unworthy. “Nobody can tell me who I can or can’t be,” she declared before performing Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” She later told the judges that her nickname is Bird.
What the judges thought: Thicke guessed Lindsay Lohan, but the singer’s wealthy background steered McCarthy in the direction of daughters raised in prominent Hollywood families including Paris Hilton and Ireland Baldwin. Scherzinger was stumped, but she was certain the celebrity was “someone older and . . . definitely not a singer.”
Prevailing social media theories: Tori Spelling, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie
Our guess: Spelling, but it’s really just a guess. The daughter of the late Aaron Spelling has spoken out about defending herself against claims her dad was the only reason she got her role on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” She has also talked about her difficult relationship with her mother, Candy Spelling. We’ll admit we don’t know her as a wannabe singer, but she did make a memorable foray into singing in ABC Family’s much-discussed 2012 movie “The Mistle-Tones.”
Update: On Jan. 30, Spelling was revealed to be the Unicorn.
What we know about them: He’s competitive like a deer(?) and despite his yet-to-be-revealed claim to fame, has always considered himself a singer. He mentioned getting knocked down many times and also gave a shout-out to the Wild West. He loves horses but isn’t so fond of ravens. He’s willing to go on national television and sing a song (“Thunder”) by Imagine Dragons.
What the judges thought: The Deer made a big show of taping up its antlers, so the panel initially got wrestler or MMA fighter vibes. Thicke guessed Stone Cold Steve Austin and Jenny McCarthy suggested MMA fighter Chuck Liddell. But the deer’s self-professed competitive streak, affinity for horses and apparent dislike of ravens (Ravens?) led the judges to the NFL. Could it be a current or former Denver Broncos player, Thicke wondered? The Deer refused to say whether he had ever been a professional football player.
Probable theories: Terry Bradshaw, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Eric Decker
Our guess: Decker. He’s a retired NFL player who used to play for the Denver Broncos. And he may harbor a secret passion for singing — he and his wife, singer Jessie James Decker, teamed up on a rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” a few years ago.
Update: We were wrong! The Deer was revealed to be Bradshaw (as many predicted) on the show’s third episode.
This post has been updated.