SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 5, Episode 5 of “The Masked Singer,” which aired April 7 on Fox.
Nick Cannon is back. “The Masked Singer” host, who had been absent so far in Season 5 due to testing positive for COVID-19, returned on Wednesday in the most appropriate way possible: He was the surprise “wild card” contestant unmasked at the end of the episode.
Cannon joined the show as the Bulldog, and performed “Candy Girl,” by New Edition. Guest host Niecy Nash, who has been filling in for Cannon, feigned ignorance on who the Bulldog might be. But at the end of the episode, she announced that rather than the usual audience vote to unmask a contestant, she was pulling rank and deciding herself who to reveal.
MORE: Niecy Nash on ‘The Masked Singer’ as Her Time There Ends; Hosting the GLAAD Awards; and Learning to ‘Receive Love in Any Form’
Of course, she chose the Bulldog, and Cannon unmasked to reveal that he was back and ready to resume hosting duties.
“I dedicated my whole performance to you and you’re kicking me off?” Cannon joked to Nash. “I was trying to go all the way!”
Stepping into performing on “The Masked Singer” for the first time after hosting for the past four seasons, Cannon admitted that it was harder than he expected. “I never thought I would be nervous but my heart was beating so fast,” he said.
Panelists Nicole Scherzinger, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke weren’t given the chance to give their final guesses because of the unusual nature of this unmasking. But after his performance, the names they brought up included Andy Samberg, Chris Tucker, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.
Thicke noted that Cannon managed to hide his voice by singing “Candy Girl” in the song’s falsetto. The panel may have also been thrown by the clue “And.. Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night Live,” which Cannon as the Bulldog explained, “My dog house is in NY. I’m just a lover for comedy that loves to get live.”
Cannon’s voice over clue as the Bulldog wasn’t much of a help, however: ““My whole life I had to fend for myself. Stepping up to any challenge that comes my way. I made moves on every green field, with panthers and pit bulls. Running fast like a human torch. Yep, I’m one hot dog. Technically, the sexiest dog alive, people. But don’t be fooled by all of the beasts, I’m a big softy inside. I’ll sit, stay, give you my paw, whatever it takes to make you love me. So beware of dog kisses. Now this pup’s about to blow the last two wildcards out of the water. And become the most popular pet on stage. And I’m dedicating my performance to someone very special [Nash].”
That wasn’t the only unusual moment on this week’s episode, which Nash hyped up as “more chaos than this stage has ever seen” Earlier, the Crab nearly had a meltdown — and almost took his costume off, a la Mickey Rourke in Season 4.
“It’s hot, it’s hot, I can’t breathe,” the Crab said as he was raced backstage. “It’s hot in that thing!”
Cannon was the latest “wildcard” contestant, a new wrinkle this season in the battle for the golden mask trophy. Season 5 celebrity contestants have been split into two groups of five (A and B). Additionally, the show has added a new character, a rooster named “Cluedle-Doo,” who promises to add some mischief to the proceedings and share additional clues to viewers.
This season’s costumes include Raccoon, Seashell, Black Swan, Snail, Grandpa Monster, Phoenix, Chameleon, Russian Doll(s), Porcupine, The Piglet and the wildcards Orca and Crab. Cannon as the Bulldog joins previously unmasked celebrities Logan Paul (Grandpa Monster), Danny Trejo (as Raccoon), Caitlyn Jenner (as Phoenix) and Kermit the Frog (as Snail).
The Season 5 contestants boast a combined 26 Grammy nominations, nine multi-platinum singles, four Academy Award nominations, three Super Bowl appearances, six gold medals and two world records.
The show’s panelists are also once competing for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy won last time). Jeong and McCarthy Wahlberg each had a point so far, heading into this episode. This week, the “first impression” guesses weren’t tallied or revealed.
Here were the other contestants and their performances on episode five, “Group B Finals — The Ulti-‘Mutt’ Wildcard”:
Song: “How Will I Know,” by Whitney Houston
Black Swan’s meaningful object clue: Ceramic unicorn. “This is to commemorate one of my best friends, a fantastic singer who’s no longer with us.”
Panel guesses: Emily Osment, Victoria Justice, Brenda Song
Voice-over: “With every performance, I’m starting to shake off my nerves. It’s like the mask is bringing all this confidence that has been trapped inside. And all this anonymity brings me back to my beginnings. Literally. When I first started my career, I was afraid how my appearance might be perceived. So I sent out my auditions with no face, to be judged only by my talents. But when people finally saw me, I was right. I wasn’t quite what they were expecting. That experience made me hesitant to put myself out there again. But recently I hit a major milestone and realized it was time to take a leap of faith. So I dove headfirst. And now that I’m anonymous again as the Black Swan I’m learning that life isn’t about how others perceive me. But always staying true to myself.”
Previous songs: “Barracuda,” by Heart; “In My Blood,” by Shawn Mendes
Previous panel guesses: Anya Taylor-Joy, Camilla Cabello, Leona Lewis, Demi Lovato, Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee Simpson
Song: “7 Years,” by Lukas Graham
Piglet’s meaningful object clue: Dog tags. “These dog tags represent the most important thing in my life, I always have them with me.”
Panel guesses: Zayn Malik, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson
Voice-over: “This experience has been the most unexpected jolt of adrenaline after a static year. And all it took was putting on a pig costume! Years ago I was really getting grilled. It was a difficult time. But then, someone unexpected appeared and turned my life around. She rescued me from the heat and gave me a brand-new start. And because of her, now I’m a family man. Which has brought a brand-new purpose to my life. I finally found someone I want to grow old with. Which may be the best gift of them all.”
Previous songs: “Speechless,” by Dan + Shay; “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah),” by Andy Grammer
Previous panel guesses: Adam Lambert, Charlie Puth, JC Chavez, Austin Mahone, Jonathan Knight
Crab (previous Wildcard)
Song: “Give It To Me Baby,” by Rick James
Crab’s meaningful object clue: Bowler hat. “The greatest entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr., used to wear it when he did ‘Mr. Bojangles.’ And I admire him so much that I wore it as much as I possibly could.”
Panel guesses: Martin Lawrence, Bobby Brown, Shawn Stockman
Voice-over: “Being on stage for the first time was tough. Both physically because it was tough to breathe, and emotionally. There’s a beauty to performing on the show that reminds me of being a child. When I got into all sorts of trouble. My mom tried to keep me on the straight and narrow path. She made me sit in the kitchen while she prepared food every night. At first I hated it. Then I realized she wasn’t just trying to teach me how to cook, she was teaching me the value of family and hard work. What started out as a punishment turned into a passion. And now my kitchen is the heart and soul of my family. Now tonight I can’t wait to let loose with a song I know they’ll love.”
Previous songs: “Ain’t No Sunshine,” by Bill Withers
Previous panel guesses: Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill
Song: “Hip Hop,” by Dead Prez
Chameleon’s meaningful object clue: Hot buffalo wings. “I’m always cooking something in the kitchen.”
Panel guesses: Waka Flocka Flame, Wiz Khalifa, Machine Gun Kelly
Voice-over: “It felt so good impressing the panel with my smooth flow last time. But there’s one person I want to impress more than anyone. My little chameleon. When I was a kid, I fell in love with some other cool reptiles. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But now, I dedicate myself to being a superhero ninja for my little one. I decided to practice martial arts. Eventually, I reprogrammed my mind, body and soul. Martial arts taught me how to process my emotions, and now I teach little chamas it’s cool to express feelings. I’m here to surprise my lizard as the superhero chameleon.”
Previous songs: “Ride Wit Me,” by Nelly; “21 Questions,” 50 Cent feat. Nate Dogg
Previous panel guesses: Dwight Howard, Redfoo, Nick Cannon, Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, 2 Chains