It was Thanksgiving Eve, but every day is Halloween on costumed competition The Masked Singer. And the show was definitely still in the Halloween spirit Wednesday, with its (presumably delayed due to the World Series) Fright Night episode — which climaxed with two so-talented-it’s-scary horror icons being unmasked by the witching hour. But this very rocky horror picture show had a twist ending, when one of the contestants, the Scarecrow — who turned out to be one of horror cinema’s ultimate icons — practiced a self-exorcism by unmasking herself.
Only one other celebrity in Masked Singer history had ever done this before (although forgetful host Nick Cannon, who clearly has a lot on his mind these days, claimed this was a series first): when Season 4’s Mickey “The Gremlin” Rourke violently yanked off his headpiece and suddenly quit. This week, the Scarecrow volunteered to remove her own pumpkin-head and forfeit the competition — although she went about it less frighteningly than Mickey had, and she actually had a much better chance than Mickey’d had of moving on to the next round. In fact, judge Ken Jeong had just declared her raspy rendition of Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra” the most magical performance of the night.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait!” the Scarecrow interjected, just as Nick was about to announce the episode's first elimination. “I have something to say! I love this show so much. I came to share how much I love you and what you all have done for the world and family entertainment. But I would like to officially bow out and unmask, and let these two incredible competitors go on,” she continued, gesturing generously to her rivals, the Snowstorm and Sir Bug-a-Boo. “These competitors are the real deal. … I have a really special reason for being here and I want them to enjoy the stage and all the accolades they so deserve.”
The shocked judges’ mouths gaped open so wide, they looked like living, breathing rubber Scream masks. But before this great pumpkin’s self-smashing, the judges had one last chance to figure out her identity. They focused on her scary-movie clues, and one specific witch clue, and guessed this might be Hocus Pocus’s Bette Midler, TheWitches of Eastwick’s Susan Sarandon, The Witches’ Angelica Huston, Fatal Attraction’s Glenn Close, Halloween’s Jamie Lee Curtis, or Scream’s Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, or Parker Posey.
But if only they’d zeroed in on the Scarecrow’s clues package’s rainbow roller skate, that would have led them to right 1979’s cinematic classic Roller Boogie and to Golden Globe-winning actress Linda Blair. (Linda won that Globe for The Exorcist, not for RollerBoogie, just to be clear.) The "heads turn" clue was another obvious one the judges somehow overlooked.
The judges were so stunned when Linda unscrewed her head, they looked like their own heads were about to spin and spew pea soup. “There’s a legend in the building!” exclaimed Nick. “My mind is blown! I’ve never been so shocked on this series than I am right now,” said Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg.
Linda’s performance was unexpectedly sultry and funky, which might have been why the panel hadn’t guessed that this was the 63-year-old artist formerly known as Regan MacNeil. But Linda had clearly picked up some rock-star swag from her many past musical boyfriends, among them Rick Springfield, Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes, Neil Giraldo, Styx's Tommy Shaw, and most notably Rick James. This really was the kind of girl you read about in new wave magazines! L.A. powerpop band Redd Kross even wrote a song about her.
But Linda didn't go on The Masked Singer to show off her pop chops or her rock cred. The founder of animal welfare organization the Linda Blair World Heart Foundation, she was a woman on a mission to get the word out, and she felt that mission had been completed. “Let me tell you what [The Masked Singer does] for me and what you do for the world: You take us out of what is the most difficult time in history for one hour a week,” she began, thanking the judges. "I deal with animals being abused and thrown away in the streets. I have a foundation. ... I travel the world and do what I can to make it a better place. You all have no idea, your kindness and your love. And if you can heal me, in as much pain as I am in to try to save those that don’t deserve what’s happening, we can do better. And I feel you are my family.”
"Thanks, Linda, for using this platform in the best way possible," said Ken, who declared this his favorite reveal ever. "We love you!"
So, that left last week’s reigning queen, the Snowstorm, and this week’s other new contender, the Seuss-like, four-legged Sir Bug-a-Boo. But even though Sir Bug-a-Boo’s soulful, rousing take on “Devil With the Blue Dress On” had Jenny (who seemed to be wearing a Terri Nunn-of-Berlin Halloween costume for some reason) raving about his “beautiful tone,” after he battled the Snowstorm on Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” his Masked Singer dreams were ghosted, or busted. (I personally thought he did better in the battle, with a raspy rap better suited to the song.) And we found out — as Jenny had guessed almost immediately — that this was Ray Parker Jr.
Well, of course it was Ray! Not only did this colorful crooner sound just like the “Ghostbusters” theme singer and Motown legend, but three of his key clues were green slime, an old-school landline phone with three question marks on it, and even an actual ghost! I swear, the show’s producers were not even trying to be opaque when they slapped together Sir Bug-a-Boo’s clue package this week; they might as well have just strapped a proton pack to Ray’s back while they were at it. I have no idea why the other three judges even bothered to suggest that this might be Jordan Peele, Randy Jackson, Lil Rel Howery, or one of the Wayans brothers… or why Jenny changed her guess at the last minute to Ghostbusters actor Ernie Hudson.
"Man, you are such an accomplished musician and wrote some of the biggest hits in the world as a guitarist from the Motown days — everybody from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye — and really just being a fixture in this industry for so long," Nick said excitedly, to which Ray quipped, "And I thought I was gonna be a permanent fixture on this show! ... But I want to say, when y'all need somebody else to come on this show and you need somebody extra, who you gonna call?"
So, this meant that the Snowstorm held onto her crown for a second week, after her cool-as-ice solo performance of Ava Max’s “Sweet But Psycho,” so she’ll now be heading to the Season 8 semifinals against previous reigning queens the Harp and the Lambs. It’s already abundantly obvious that the Harp is Amber Riley and the Lambs are Wilson Phillips (TheMasked Singer producers didn’t make their clues too difficult either), but who is the Snowstorm?
I’m a bit less sure about this one, and the judges’ guesses were all over the place; last week they thought the Snowstorm might be Anna Kendrick, Heather Graham, Katherine Hahn, Iliza Shlesinger, Aubrey Plaza, Whitney Cummings, or Zooey Deschanel, and this week they threw around random names like Olivia Rodrigo, Sabrina Carpenter, and various Real Housewives. But I’m sticking to the guess I made last week: I believe this is comedian Nikki Glaser. It sounds like her.
But the clues (which, admittedly, were a little trickier in this case) add up as well. The Snowstorm said she has to be “cold-blooded” to survive in her male-dominated line of work, and women have historically had a tough time on the comedy circuit. She said she’s shared the stage with Rob Lowe, and she absolutely slayed on that Comedy Central Rob Lowe roast. (One of her visual clues was roasted chestnuts, too.) She mentioned “speed-dating,” which Nikki did on Instagram Live during the pandemic, plus of course Nikki is the current host of Blind Date. We saw a house and a welcome mat, references to Nikki’s Welcome Home Nikki Glaser? reality series, and heard the phrase “pitch-perfect,” most likely a nod to her Perfect television special. And finally, we saw a “Masked Universe” comic book… and, well, Nikki is a stand-up comic.
The Masked Singer will leave Halloween behind and get into the current holiday spirit Thursday — yes, the 24th, Thanksgiving — with a special semifinals episode that will determine which two contestants will advance to Season 8’s grand finale. So, if you’d rather watch the Lambs vs. Snowstorm vs. the Harp than the Bills vs. Lions or Patriots vs. Vikings, Fox has you covered this Tofurkey Day. See you then.
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