A bone-crushing defeat: Eliminated ‘Masked Singer’ Skeleton is late-night TV legend

Lyndsey Parker
Editor-in-Chief, Music

It was a bone-crushing defeat this Wednesday for the Skeleton, who apparently didn’t hold the keys for long-term Masked Singer success.

See what I did there?? KEYS?? Yes, just as I previously guessed, this skeletal showman was none other than piano-playing David Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer.

Shaffer was one of the Season 2 cast’s great razzle-dazzle entertainers, and he has an impressive, decade-spanning résumé that includes co-writing “It’s Raining Men”; playing in Robert Plant’s Honeydrippers; serving as the musical director for both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the 1996 Olympics’ closing ceremony; and performing in the Saturday Night Live band in the ’70s. But vocally, he could not compete with the Flamingo, Black Widow, Leopard, Butterfly, or Thingamajig, who all sang this week. (Some would argue — and by “some,” I mean “me” — that he should have never survived over Johnny “The Egg” Weir two weeks ago.) And so, after rattling his rock ‘n’ roll bones to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” this Wednesday, Shaffer got his ass kicked, much like another comedic character he once portrayed, Spinal Tap’s Artie Fufkin. Oh well. Maybe the Skeleton can still get a deal with Polymer Records.

I mentioned that I had correctly guessed the Skeleton’s identity when he first performed. I have to gloat about that, because America’s most bonkers new guessing game is a lot tougher in Season 2, with tighter “military-grade” security and vaguer clues, now I will celebrate my rare victories whenever I can. But now that I’ve seen some of the celebrities perform twice, I’m feeling more confident in my guesses. Let’s look at this week’s performances and clues packages, and try to keep my winning streak going.

The Flamingo, “Footloose”

This YouTube (or “ZooTube”) star went from “hood rat to Hollywood triple-threat” after she was “discovered by powerful wizard.” The girly pink Fisher-Price My First Boombox clue was a tipoff that she might be a pop star of the ’90s or early oughts.

Judges’ guesses: Fantasia, Ally Brooke, Adrienne Bailon, Kandi Buruss.

My guess: The interweb and Jenny McCarthy seem to overwhelmingly think this is The Real host and former Cheetah Girls/3LW star Bailon, even though she has taken to Twitter to deny that she’s the singer underneath all that pink plumage, the clues do add up. Bailon did come from “humble beginnings,” as the Flamingo put it, and she was discovered by Ricky Martin. But the real clincher week was the bonus clue that the Flamingo once aspired to be a doctor. So now I don’t believe Bailon’s disavowal, and I realize I should have believed the internet all along.

The Leopard, “Stitches”

This regal feline spent “many years at top,” but was abandoned and unwanted as a child. Later, he learned to live his “life in color,” though his career was later plagued by celebrity tabloid scandals. Now he wants to prove he can “flip the script” and still make it in print time.

Judges’ guesses: Jamie Foxx, Billy Porter, RuPaul, Neil Patrick Harris.

My guess: I am sticking with my original guess, Jamie Foxx. Foxx had little contact with his birth parents as a child (thanks, Wikipedia), has been gossip-column-fodder due to his relationship with Katie Holmes, and he was a prime time star on… wait for it… In Living Color. Plus, he’s a successful recording artist, and this was an impressive, professional vocal. And finally, judge Ken Jeong noted that the Leopard is the only Masked Singer “method actor” who is competing in character — and Foxx is a Best Actor Oscar winner. The clincher bonus clue was that he used to serve fast food.

The Black Widow, “Until He Cheats”

In her first clue package, this itsy-bitsy spider with the big voice said she likes to “hide in plain sight” and offered such cryptic clues as a peach, a film slate that said “Queen Bee,” and mentions of the words “threads” and “empire.” She also said she wanted to showcase a darker, edgier side to her personality via her creepy-crawly character. This week, she continued to complain about being forced to fit into a “squeaky-clean image” that never suited her, and said “I never went to prom — but I pretended to,” indicating that she is a former teen actress.

Judges’ guesses: Lea Michele, Missy Elliott, Raven-Symoné, Christina Aguilera.

My guess: I am sticking with my original guess: The Black Widow is so Raven! Raven-Symoné is from Georgia (hence the peach), she once got in a Twitter war with Beyoncé fans after she called Lil’ Kim the “Queen Bee,” she had to “hide” her sexuality for years, and she was on Fashion Police (“threads”), The View (“sight”) and Empire (um, “empire”). So congratulations, Twitter: If my Flamingo guess is correct, you’re getting that Cheetah Girls’ reunion you’ve all been clamoring for.

The Thingamajig, “Rainbow”

This “gentle giant” with the Toxic Avenger-meets-Muppet-Heatmiser-meets-Bart Simpson spiky troll doll hairdo, sneaker fetish, penchant for fashion shoots, and tender R&B voice said singing was always his first love. He said he “wears his heart on his sleeve,” used to “run with the bulls,” and spent is “darkest time” in rehab.

Judges’ guesses: LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Montell Jordan, Dennis Rodman.

My guess: It’s hard to believe that Dennis Rodman could be this stellar a vocalist — “After that performance, I’d marry you,” said judges Nicole Scherzinger — but the clues add up (even though host Nick Cannon once joked that it’s more likely that Rodman would compete on the original Korean version of the show). I just hope it’s true, because Jenni McCarthy claimed, “If that is Dennis Rodman, I will shave my head on the show.” I very much want to see that, as well as a Rodman/Scherzinger Masked Singer-themed wedding.

The Butterfly, “Livin’ on a Prayer”

The Butterfly “has been waiting patiently in my cocoon for the promise of metamorphosis” for the past year, and has ties to London, girl groups, and the church. She once was on top, but then struggled when she “tried to spread her wings,” but now she’s ready to fly again.

Judges’ guesses: Mel B, Fantasia, Twiggy, Leona Lewis.

My guess: I originally guessed this was Michelle Visage, but now I realize I got the first name right. This is totally Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child, who has acted in West End theater productions, battled depression, and has a butterfly tattoo. Once she really went for it vocally towards the end of her Bon Jovi cover, her reedy tone was instantly recognizable.

Come back next week, when six more cosplaying mystery celebrities keep the guessing game going.

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