The dog's days are over: Eliminated ‘Masked Singer’ Poodle is comedy pioneer

Lyndsey Parker

Not since bloody-nosed rocker Andrew WK gave a keynote speech to an audience of bronies at a My Little Pony convention or Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J attended a furries convention in an ICP fursuit has there been such a mind-melting mix of wackadoodle celebrities and pop music as Fox’s new “talent” competition, The Masked Singer. C’mon, on what other show can you see Tommy Chong stoner-rocking his way through Gloria Gaynor’s empowerment anthem “I Will Survive” while wearing a colossal pineapple head, or Terry Bradshaw warbling Florida Georgia Line in an S&M-ish leather deer outfit?

But while those two recently unmasked rejects actually could not sing much better than, well, an actual pineapple or deer, this week’s elimination was definitely premature. The pretty-in-pink Poodle not only wore the most absolutely fabulous outfit of the series but possessed some genuine musical chops. Sadly, though, this week the show bid farewell to … Margaret Cho.

Masked Singer judge Ken Jeong, who declared Cho a “pioneer in Asian-American comedy,” was gobsmacked when she removed her poufy pink headpiece. Even though Cho had appeared on Jeong’s own sitcom, Dr. Ken, he hadn’t recognized her — instead making dumb-and-dumber guesses like Judge Judy and Omarosa. But for me, the clues added up.

Cho’s a true music buff, as evidenced by her record-shopping excursion with Yahoo Entertainment when she gushed about ‘80s ladies like the Go-Go’s, Bananarama, Scandal, the Belle Stars, the Divinyls and those impossibly chic fashion-plate sidekicks from the Human League. On The Masked Singer, Cho covered Pat Benatar and Cyndi Lauper. I really wish she had stuck around a few weeks to cover some of her more left-field musical favorites, like the Tubes, Afghan Whigs and Megadeth.

Cho came to Yahoo’s studio in 2016 to perform some of her original music. Check her out, unmasked and unplugged, below.

“I loved being the Poodle and being a part of this amazing show, and I had no idea who the other people were, so I’m really looking forward to all the unmaskings. I was really trying to sniff their butts to figure out who they were,” Cho told Yahoo Entertainment after her big reveal Wednesday. Four other cosplaying mystery celebs, looking like they had raided the wardrobe of the Cure’s “Why Can’t I Be You” music video, survived, so let’s review their performances/clues packages and play the guessing game that has captured our imaginations and thoroughly scrambled our brains.

The Rabbit, “Wake Me Up”

Clues: This bunny-boy has spent “most of his life onstage, but never alone” and “synchronized singing is his forte.” Now he “pops up all over,” and when asked to predict who’ll win this show, he confidently says, “It’s gonna be me.” Hmmmm. This week before he hopped onstage, he revealed that he likes to cook and used to work at an amusement park, but when judge Nicole Scherzinger asked the Rabbit if they had ever toured together (her pre-Pussycat Dolls group, Eden’s Crush, opened for NSync in 2001), he avoided the question. Which of course meant yes.

Judges’ guesses: NSync’s Joey Fatone or JC Chasez, or, because of the exaggerated country twang in this week’s vocal, a random member of Lady Antebellum or Rascal Flatts.

My guess: This guy sings pretty capably, so rules out Chris Kirkpatrick. At first I was leaning toward JC, because he was the one who wore a Rabbit-like straitjacket in NSync’s “I Drive Myself Crazy” video. But Joey used to work at Universal Studios and had his own cooking show, and the hot dog in his clues package was a clear reference to his fast food restaurant, Fat One’s. So, I think when the Rabbit’s head is finally removed, it’s gonna be Fatone.

The Alien, “Lovefool”

Clues: This modelesque Martian and self-declared “quadruple threat,” who has “many sisters,” said she has “recorded many things” and that this show gives her a feeling of anonymity that reminds her of being a little girl before the whole world knew her famous family’s name.

Judges’ guesses: Paris Hilton, Paula Abdul, a member of the Jackson family (LaToya? Paris?) or Kardashian clan, or some non-Camila Cabello member of Fifth Harmony. I seriously doubt it is the last one, because this alien’s weak vocals are not out of this world.

My guess: I thought it was Kendall Jenner on Episode 2, and I am sticking with that guess. Besides having the right lanky body shape and model pedigree, Jenner once rocked a temporary snake tattoo for V magazine — the Alien’s first clues package featured a slithering snake, and this week her package featured a stuffed-animal snake. The reptile references may also be jabs at Jenner’s frenemy Taylor Swift, who was once known for hanging with a model squad. My backup guess is one of the Hadids.

The Raven, “Bad Romance”

Clues: On her debut episode, the Raven revealed that she had “recently suffered a tragic loss” and once hosted a talk show. This week, as a TV set flickered with the number “1968,” she explained that “no one recognized her beauty” until a man “saw her in a new light” and gave her a career-launching big break; she was so happy for the opportunity, she “cried tears of love into the Hudson River.”

Judges’ guesses: Sherri Shepherd, Sally Jesse Raphael, Kelly Ripa.

My guess: I initially guessed Kathie Lee Gifford, whose husband Frank died in 2015. But this week I paid closer attention to all the clues, like when Raven said, “Don’t cry, baby.” Now I realize this is totally John Waters ingenue Ricki Lake. Lake was born in Hastings-on-Hudson in 1968, and her ex-husband tragically died by suicide in 2017. If Lake had dressed as a Hairspray-inspired roach instead of a bird, I would have guessed this was the artist formerly known as Tracy Turnblad much sooner.

The Bee, “Locked Out of Heaven”

Clues: This seasoned diva, who has been performing since the ‘50s, performed the modern Bruno banger with swagger. “You can call me Queen Bee, but Empress also suits me,” she hinted. This week’s peachy clues package also referred to Georgia.

Judges’ guesses: Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Dexy’s Midnight Runners (????), Diana Ross.

My guess: Gladys Knight, for sure. Besides this performance sounding like Knight and her first gaining fame as a 7-year-old talent show winner in 1952, Knight is commonly known as the “Empress of Soul.” I just hope she wears this Bee costume when she sings the national anthem at the upcoming Super Bowl in Atlanta, because this show is way more exciting and over the top than anything Maroon 5 is going to do during their halftime show.

Tune in next Wednesday, when five other famous furtive furries drop the mic — and more clues.

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