SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched “The Masked Singer” Season 6, Episode 10, “Group B Semi-Finals,” which aired November 17 on Fox.
There has perhaps never been a more on-the-nose costume on “The Masked Singer” than “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson as the Mallard. In a reality TV heavy night for “The Masked Singer,” Robertson was unmasked as Mallard, and “Queer Eye” star/interior designer Bobby Berk was revealed to be the Caterpillar, as seen on the tenth episode of Season 6, “Group B Semi-Finals.”
“I was just hiding in plain sight, I guess,” said Robertson — who pointed out that technically the character he was dressed as is not actually a mallard. “That thing was awesome, and I let them know it’s not a mallard, it’s a wood duck. I knew the difference, but then we thought it would be a funny throwoff clue.”
For Mallard, no one got Robertson right. Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg thought it was Jason Aldean. Ken Jeong went with Billy Ray Cyrus. Nicole Scherzinger guessed Dog the Bounty Hunter. Robin Thicke said it was Alan Jackson. Guest panelist Cheryl Hines went with George Foreman.
Robertson as the Mallard sang “Fly,” by Sugar Ray, as his final song. He had previously performed “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” by Big & Rich, “My House,” by Flo Rida and “Play Something Country,” by Brooks & Dunn.
Robertson said it was his mother-in-law who first convinced him to do the show. He has been singing for years — the “Duck Dynasty” family even released a Christmas album that went platinum, he said — but picked up more voice lessons to prepare for “Masked Singer.”
“This is different because they don’t know who you are,” Robertson noted. “And so in one way I kind of thought, I’m not really nervous because if you’re terrible, you’ll have to wear it for like five minutes once you take the mask off. But lo and behold, it was fine. We had a blast.”
Previous panel guesses included singers including Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Jon Bon Jovi and John Rich. Robertson was floored by those picks.
“I got really tickled when they said Luke Bryan, because I’ve known Luke and I can just imagine watching his face,” he said. “I was honored to be even some of the names mentioned.”
Then there was Caterpillar, and again, no one got it right. Nicole Scherzinger thought it was Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard. Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg thought it was Owen Wilson. Ken Jeong went with Dan Levy. Robin Thicke said it was AJ McLean. Guest panelist Hines went with Jim Parsons.
As Caterpillar, Berk performed “Friends in Low Places,” by Garth Brooks. His previous songs included “If I Were a Boy,” by Beyoncé and “It’s Gonna Be Me,” by *Nsync.
“Before going on this show, I just really assumed that all this stuff was pre-recorded,” Berk said. “Because I’m like, There’s no way people are really singing in those costumes. Like, they can’t move, it’s got to be so hot in there. But no, that is actually not the case. I really did have to sing inside of that costume. And it’s funny, like when I sing ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ and the little bit I did have to move around, I could definitely hear the difference in my vocals. Me being out of breath from moving that few 100-pound costume around.”
The Caterpillar was the largest and heaviest costume in “The Masked Singer” history, Berk said. “Have you ever been buried alive? I have not until this costume but I feel like that’s what it would feel like,” he said. “The first episode we didn’t quite have it figured out yet. And I almost passed out because it was about 120 degrees inside. But by the second episode, I got an ice bath. And I would pack the costume full of ice before I get in it. And then we drilled some holes in the top to let all the heat out. And anytime cameras weren’t rolling, they had fans right in my face to blow air.”
But Berk said he thought it was “the most adorable costume almost ever… besides not being able to move, and it being really hot.”
The “Masked Singer” panel was convinced the Caterpillar was from a boy band, and Berk — who enjoys singing as a hobby — was flattered by it.
“I am totally fine with being compared to a boy band, because obviously I’m not a professional singer,” he said. “But boy banders are the icons of the ‘90s and the 2000s and my coming of age music. So anytime I was compared to a boy band there, I’m always okay with that.”
Willie Robertson (Mallard) and Bobby Berk (Caterpillar) joined Natasha Bedingfield (Pepper), John Lydon/Johnny Rotten (Jester), “Mama June” Shannon and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson (Beach Ball), Rob Schneider (Hamster), Ruth Pointer (Cupcake), Larry the Cable Guy (Baby), Tyga (Dalmatian), Toni Braxton (Pufferfish), Vivica A. Fox (Mother Nature) and Dwight Howard (Octopus) as the next celebrities to be unmasked on Season 6 of “The Masked Singer.”
“The Masked Singer” entered Season 6 with the return of a studio audience for the first time since the pandemic began. This season’s costumes include Baby, Banana Split, Beach Ball, Bull, Caterpillar, Cupcake, Dalmatian, Hamster, Jester, Mallard, Mother Nature, Octopus, Pepper, Pufferfish, Queen of Hearts and Skunk.
The Season 6 contestants boast a combined 85 Grammy Nominations and 27 wins, three Academy Award nominations, 12 Emmy Nominations, 12 Razzie Award Nominations, two Super Bowl appearances and two Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The show’s panelists will once again compete for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy has won the last two seasons). Jeong and Scherzinger went into episode ten with a point each, ahead of everyone else.
For Mallard, Thicke’s first impression was Larry the Cable Guy; McCarthy Wahlberg’s initial choice was Toby Keith. Jeong picked Billy Ray Cyrus. Scherzinger gave Dierks Bentley for her first impression.
As for Caterpillar, Thicke’s first impression was Howie D; McCarthy Wahlberg’s initial choice was Brian Littrell. Jeong picked Aaron Carter. Scherzinger gave Chris Brown for her first impression. No one gained a point on Wednesday from either guess.
Also new this season, a “Take It Off” buzzer will allow the show’s panelists to prematurely demand a celebrity remove their mask, if they’re convinced they know who it is. They’ll get two extra points toward the Golden Ear tally if they’re right. If they’re wrong, they’ll be “severely punished.”
McCarthy Wahlberg pressed the “Take It Off” buzzer for Caterpillar and proclaimed that it was Jake Gyllenhaal. It was not Jake Gyllenhaal. The buzzer is now retired for the season.
Here were the other contestants and their performances on episode 10, “Group B Semi-Final”:
Here were the other contestants and their performances:
Song: “Poker Face,” by Lady Gaga
Previous songs: “A Million Dreams,” by Pink; “Cry Me a River,” by Michael Bublé; “Let ‘Er Rip,” by The Chicks
Trophy clue: “Collectively we have won quite a few awards, but that one [‘favorite hottie’] I’m particularly proud of.”
Voice-over: “[Split] For the third round we really put on a show. Dancing, singing, running all over the stage. [Banana] It inspired us to take it even further this week. [Split] This is the semi-finals, this is the big time. I think our biggest competition is Caterpillar. But I think our biggest strength is that we’re theatrical. We put on a show. [Banana] We’re making 90-second movies. [Split] We had a lot of ideas for this performance, and we wanted to throw them off with this song. So we’re channeling our inner pop stars. [Banana] It’s funny because one of us dreamed of being a pop star but it didn’t really pan out. [Split] Excuse me? [Banana] I didn’t say it was you! [Split] There is definitely an advantage that there is two of us, because it creates more energy. [Banana] We had a real shocker planned tonight to get to the finals.
Panel guesses: Ed Sheeran and Jessie J, Ryan Tedder and Leona Lewis, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt
Previous panel guesses: J. Lo and Mark Antony, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Katharine McPhee and David Foster, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Craig Robinson and Ashley Tisdale, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman, Jeff Goldblum and his wife Emily, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Zooey Deschanel and Lamorne Morris
Queen of Hearts
Song: “She’s Got You,” by Patsy Cline
Previous song: “Born This Way,” by Lady Gaga; “La Vie En Rose,” by Edith Piaf; “River,” by Bishop Briggs
Trophy clue: Blockbuster Entertainment Award. “I have to say, when I won it, I felt like a real leading lady.”
Voice-over: “Coming into the last round, I was more nervous than ever. I changed my song at the last minute, to one I hardly know. And I was shocked that I pulled it off. Now that it’s the semi-finals, I kind of feel like I can do anything. I know I’m up against three incredible competitors and two of us are going home tonight. So I’m going to lean into the one thing that hopefully sets me apart, and that’s my heart. This next song reminds me of the best worst time of my life. Worst, because a dream was ending, one I never thought would. But best because there I was on the other side of it, stronger than I ever thought I would be. I challenged myself throughout this competition in so many ways that I really think what’s kept me here is trusting my heart. So why stop now?”
Panel guesses: Kristin Chenoweth, Kelly Clarkson, Sia
Previous panel guesses: Britney Spears, Kellie Pickler, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Fergie, Renee Zellweger, Ireland Baldwin, Ashley Judd, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Kacey Musgraves, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lawrence, Jewel