SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the Season 9, episode 3 of “The Masked Singer,” which aired March 1 on Fox.
“The Masked Singer” is like a jungle sometimes, it makes you wonder how you keep from going under. On Wednesday’s episode, rap legend Grandmaster Flash was trying not to be pushed, since he was so close to the edge. But despite trying not to, he lost his head.
Grandmaster Flash was the latest celebrity to be unmasked on Season 9 of “The Masked Singer,” revealed as the Polar Bear. The hip-hop pioneer sang “Rapture,” by Blondie. And there’s quite a connection there.
“That song was actually written for me,” he told Variety. “I remember Fab Five Freddy bringing [Blondie’s Debbie Harry] to one of my shows. This is way back in the day before I became famous. And she wrote this song of what she saw when I was on the turntables at one of my amateur shows.”
On “The Masked Singer,” Grandmaster Flash sang the chorus to “Rapture” rather than the song’s rap portion. “I sung horribly, but I sang it the best way I can and sitting down with the musicians and the vocal coaches in doing the best I can do with it,” he said. “But I had to do it with this 15 pound [costume] on me and do it in a cool way. I’m trying not to laugh but it was so stupid, but it was so fun.”
He said the Polar Bear was recommended to him as his costume – but he had a few notes at first. “I said it wasn’t cool enough. They put on a gold chain. Still not cool enough. And he put the hat backwards. So, the polar bear started to become really, really cool. And then I signed up and I decided to do it.”
He also said he decided to do the show as an antidote to some of the bad headlines out in the world. “’The Masked Singer’ can take your mind off some of those things,” he said. “I travel a lot and I don’t get a chance to watch a whole lot of TV, but my family and close friends watch this show. And I decided to go online and look at some of the episodes and how it all works. I’m like, ‘Wow, this is really silly.’ Sometimes we as adults, don’t know how to turn off being adults.”
His appearance also comes soon after the hip-hop 50th anniversary tribute at the Grammys, which Grandmaster Flash kicked off. “To see all the people that I influenced, the list goes on and on. It was actually really wonderful,” he said.
Nicole Scherzinger correctly guessed Grandmaster Flash. Among the other panelists’ guesses, Ken Jeong picked Diddy, Robin Thicke went with LL Cool J and Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg said it was Flava Flav.
Like last season, “The Masked Singer” has once again adopted a “Champion of Masked Singer” format. Each episode, three costumed celebrities will perform, but only one will win and move on to compete again the following week. After each round, three finalists will compete in the semi-finals.
That means one contestant will be unmasked midway through the episode, with the top two singers facing off in a “battle royale.” Grandmaster Flash was first to be unmasked, leaving California Roll and Medusa to face off with “Uptown Girl,” by Billy Joel.
But new this season is “Ding Dong Keep It On.” In the new twist to the competition, panelists will have the opportunity to save a singer from looming elimination, but the bell can only be rung three times during the first three rounds. Those three singers will then face off on a special episode in a battle to rejoin the competition.
On Wednesday, California Roll won and moved on to the quarter finals, beating out Medusa. But Medusa was saved by the “Ding Dong Keep It On” bell, and moves to that face off.
Among the panelists’ guesses, Ken Jeong picked Susan Boyle, Robin Thicke went with Kesha, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg said it was Halsey, Nicole Scherzinger guessed Lorde. We still won’t know for a while.
It was “New York night,” hence the choice of songs.
“The Masked Singer” enters Season 9 with 21 contestants include “Mustang,” “Axolotl,” “California Roll,” “Dandelion,” “Moose,” “Gargoyle,” “Jackalope,” “Doll,” Polar Bear,” “Night Owl,” “Rock Lobster,” “Gnome” and more to be announced. Tim Chappel is this season’s costume designer.
Grandmaster Flash as Polar Bear joins Debbie Gibson as Night Owl, Howie Mandel as Rock Lobster, Sara Evans as Mustang and Dick Van Dyke as Gnome as the celebrities unmasked this season.
The Season 9 contestants “boast a combined 28 Emmy nominations, six Grammy wins, 10 gold albums, four Golden Globe nominations, five medals, 26 books, two Tony Award nominations, five Lifetime Achievement Awards, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a combined 95,231,000 records sold.” Season nine will introduce all-new themed episodes, including “ABBA,” “New York,” “DC Superheroes,” “Sesame Street,” “80s Night,” “Movie Night” and more.
Here were the contestants and their performances on night three:
Polar Bear (GRANDMASTER FLASH)
Song: “Rapture,” by Blondie
Celebrity Clue: (delivered by “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo): Acceptance speech at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
Package voiceover: “I’m so excited to drop some New York flava on the Masked Singer stage. Because this city of dreams where I come from is a source of everything that made me, me. My neighborhood got a bad rap. It’s the kind of place that most people wouldn’t dream of getting down with. These streets are where I developed my interest in electronics as a kid. I used to take apart mom’s toaster, my sister’s hair dryers, just to see how they worked. All that tinkering eventually sparked another knock out idea that helped me turn the tables on the entire music industry. This bad boy invented a sound no one was making. My legendary status helped put my broken borough on the map. Now, I’m here to honor a fellow New Yorker who helped change the game, just like me.”
Panel guesses: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Diddy, Flava Flav, Grandmaster Flash
California Roll (WEEK 3 WINNER)
Song: “Paparazzi,” by Lady Gaga
Celebrity Clue: (delivered by the New York pizza rat): 5 billion. “5 billion and growing, but who’s counting.”
Package voiceover: “Wasabi, my dudes, I’m the California Roll! You might be wondering what the California Roll is doing here on New York night. Well, why not. I’ve already been on Broadway. And that wasn’t the only role I played. Oh no, this entrée has many sides. Let me tell you five reasons why I’m the perfect dish. Just like the city of New York, this Cali never sleeps. I got used to it from DJing all night long. Gotta pay the rent. But eventually, California was calling. So, I set out west, on the 10, for the gleeful rays and silver screens. Once I got there, I was rubbing shoulders with the greats. From Dolly to Snoop. I even got married. It’s been such a busy ride; I barely have time for myself. But without each of these ingredients, I wouldn’t be the successful roll I am today. Sock it to me, dudes!”
Panel guesses: Cast of “The Lion King”, Pentatonix, “Pitch Perfect” cast, “High School Musical” cast
Medusa (WEEK 1 and 2 WINNER; SAVED IN WEEK 3)
Song: “New York, New York,” by Frank Sinatra
Celebrity Clue (delivered by Luann De Lesseps): Brooklyn bridge in lights. “Luann, I love you, I can’t believe I’m on this stage with you. Sometimes you have to build a bridge to get over it. Hopefully, it will put you in the right state of mind.”
Package voiceover: “I’m still recovering from the shock of beating a music industry legend last week. But now that I’ve won two titles in a row, I feel like there’s a huge target on my back. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. But the snakes and I, we’ve got a secret weapon. My dad’s favorite karaoke song. I grew up singing with him, so it’s the perfect choice to take me to the quarter finals. But, before I go, I’ve got a treat for you. [A terrier.]”
Panel guesses: Lorde, Florence Welch, Shirley Manson, Susan Boyle, Kesha
Previous songs: “Happier Than Ever,” by Billie Eilish; “Dancing Queen,” by ABBA
Previous panel guesses: Elle Goulding, Megan Markle, Jessie J, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Lorde, Tove Lo, Lorde, Apple Martin, Dakota Johnson