If there is anything that Mickey Rourke has proven during his career, it’s that he never plays by the rules. The Oscar- and Razzie-nominated actor’s eclectic filmography is packed with bizarre breakout roles in 9½ Weeks, Angel Heart, The Wrestler and, fittingly, a movie called Masked and Anonymous. And now he can add The Masked Singer to that résumé.
But Rourke didn’t stay masked and anonymous for very long this Wednesday. And once again, he didn’t play by the rules — deciding to unmask himself in the final dramatic minutes of Season 4’s Group B episode, in what was the series’ strangest celebrity reveal to date.
Almost immediately after performing as the deceptively cuddly Gremlin and tearfully dedicating “Stand by Me” to his late friend and occasional co-star, punk/roots rocker Willy DeVille, Rourke decided that he’d had enough. And then, he pulled off this surprisingly punk-rock move.
To be honest, he likely would have been eliminated anyway, as Group B’s five other costumed crooners had already delivered stronger performances, while the Gremlin’s croaky vocals had judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg speculating, “Is he like, a hundred years old?” (Judge Robin Thicke guessed the Gremlin was 85-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis, because of a mention of a “checkered past”; Jenny actually thought it might be Rourke, due to a few wrestling clues.)
But Rourke didn’t even give the judges and virtual studio audience a chance to vote.
“Wait, Gremlin, what are you doing?” hollered host Nick Cannon, after Rourke declared that it was “too damn hot” and proceeded to behead himself right then and there. “What’s happening? The Gremlin's telling me he wants to take this [headpiece] off! Gremlin, you can't do that! That's not part of the show! … Men in Black, I need some help! We've lost control. It's the Gremlin's show!”
“No one has ever done this!” noted judge Nicole Scherzinger.
And, after the cliffhanging commercial break, the Gremlin’s self-administered de-masking was complete. “I was in the neighborhood,” Rourke shrugged nonchalantly, when asked by Nick why he’d signed up for the show in the first place; Rourke then exited stage right, before the episode was even over. “And... he’s out,” said Jenny. “I don’t know what just happened,” said a befuddled Nick, as he watched Rourke wander off in that furry lavender onesie, looking like a bedraggled Teletubbie.
“All the other characters, you guys are safe, because he unmasked himself,” Nick explained. So, now, let’s look at the contestants who survived — by default or otherwise — and continue the Season 4 guessing game.
The Crocodile, “It’s My Life”
This scaly star had swagger and was clearly feeling his rock ‘n’ roll fantasy in that Elton-esque pink tuxedo. But he struggled to power through the Bon Jovi anthem and referred to this being his “hidden talent” — implying that singing isn’t his main gig.
The clues: He’s a “thick-skinned” but secretly sensitive heartthrob that can make people “swoon”; is “happiest in water”; and “grew up in Hollywood surrounded by heartache and instability.” There were also visual references to pineapples, Las Vegas, and Italy, plus a mention of the word “wicked.”
Judges’ guesses: Jon Hamm, Nick Lachey, Donnie Wahlberg.
My guess: I’m going to go with Corey Feldman. (I suppose him being the Gremlin would have been too on-the-furry-nose.) He has starred in the movie Something Wicked and appeared onscreen with Tommy “The Pineapple” Chong, he loves water, and he regularly performs in Vegas, which he considers a second home. I’m not sure about the Italy connection, but Corey has supposedly been hiding out overseas since releasing his controversial documentary (My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys, so the Lost Boy seems like a pretty solid guess right now.
The Baby Alien, “Faith”
The Baby Alien is first Masked Singer creature to have a moving face — and it’s an animatronic Muppet face! Yep, a puppet-faced spaceboy singing a George Michael classic seems pretty on-brand for the bonkers year that is 2020. But thankfully, the Baby Alien was more cute than creepy.
The clues: He’s been “stuck in second gear” and was “lost in space” for a while, but he used to be the “cream of the crop circle.” He has theater experience, too. Other clues referenced karate, Ferris Bueller, roses, and vampires.
Judges’ guesses: Ralph Macchio, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Freddie Prinze Jr.
My guess: All of the judges’ guesses were decent. But I can’t decide if this is Friends star Schwimmer (who had a small role in The Karate Kid, and whose onscreen girlfriend Jennifer Aniston starred in the short-lived Ferris Bueller TV series), or LeBlanc (who was in the movie Lost in Space). Because of the theater clues and a tenuous puppet connection, I’m going to with the actor formerly known as Ross. But whoever it is, I’m looking forward to “The One Where the Baby Alien Turns Out to be a Friends Cast Member” episode of The Masked Singer.
The Seahorse, “Only Girl (In the World)”
“We may be looking at the winner of Season 4 right now!” declared Nicole. “We’ve got a pop princess in the building!” said Nick. The Seahorse definitely sounded like a professional pop star, and she may be the only contestant so far that can sing rings around last week’s Sun from Group A.
The clues: There were many mentions of the Seahorse’s insecurities, mood swings, and melodrama (a “tug of war” with herself, an “emotion ocean”). Rainbow imagery implied that she’s an LGBTQ+ icon or ally.
Judges’ guesses: Halsey, Hailee Steinfeld, Bebe Rexha.
My guess: I’m not calling it maybe. I feel abundantly confident that this is Emotion and Tug of War singer Carly Rae Jepsen. It sounds exactly like her. Let’s just cut to the feeling and crown Carly the Season 4 winner already!
The Whatchamacallit, “I Wish”
This hair-raising Skee-Lo cover proved that the Whatchamacallit is indeed a baller. Everyone on the panel thought his husky flow sounded instantly familiar and iconic.
The clues: There were references to Jell-O, jazz, bees, black panthers, candy bars, and keys. It was a super-wordy package, as Robin pointed out, leading Robin to believe that this might be a brainy MC.
Judges’ guesses: Swizz Beats, Damian Lillard, Tyler, the Creator.
My guess: I’m not totally sure about this one, but Tyler seems like a good guess. He has printed bees and the Black Panther Party symbols on his official merchandise, and he had an animated series called The Jellies and a song that mentioned candy bars. And he’s certainly a wig enthusiast! He was a member of Odd Future, and this show certainly takes place in an odd present… so why not?
The Serpent, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
This sexy, slithering creature transformed the Proclaimers’ jaunty sea-shanty into a soulful bedroom ballad and had the fawning judges already declaring him a legend.
The clues: There were multiple self-help books (including one titled How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt), a “Serpent Sr.” father figure, a Caribbean map, and signs that read “Medicine” and “Musicology.”
Judges’ guesses: Neil Patrick Harris, John Legend, Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr.
My guess: I’m going Hamilton star Odom, who’s also appeared in Once on This Island (which takes place in the Caribbean), once struggled with debt, played a doctor in Murder on the Orient Express and Grey’s Anatomy, and is the author of the inspirational book Failing Up: How to Rise Above, Do Better, and Never Stop Learning. The Serpent also sounds like Leslie. I have a hunch that he will rise to the top of this season’s Masked Singer cast.
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