When it's over: Eliminated 'Masked Singer' Orca is '90s rock star

Lyndsey Parker
·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music
·8 min read

Mark McGrath sure is cornering the market on bizarre marine-themed TV appearances these days. After starring in the sequel and three-quel Sharknado: The Second One and Sharknado: Oh Hell No, this year the Sugar Ray frontman said “oh hell yes” to The Masked Singer and agreed to dress up like an inflatable anthropomorphic blue whale. And during his time on the show, he blasted through Twisted Sister’s anti-authority anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” with gale-sharknado force, giving perhaps the two best televised marine-life performances since Left Shark stole Katy Perry’s thunder at Super Bowl XLIX.

But sadly, much like the joking reference of Sugar Ray’s album title 14:59, Mark’s run as the Orca was short-lived. Despite rocking hard enough to have the judges believing he was actually Dave Grohl, Billie Joe Armstrong, or Jon Bon Jovi (or, um, Fred Durst), Mark was eliminated Wednesday — and his puffy PVC costume, along with his dreams of adding “Season 5 Masked Singer champ” to next to “three-time Rock & Roll Jeopardy champion” on his Wikipedia page, was deflated.

However, the humble alt-rocker took this whale fail in stride. “Can I just day one thing? Dave Grohl? Bon Jovi? My head is still as big as Orca is right now!” he laughed upon hearing the panel’s A-list guesses. McGrath also just seemed thrilled to have the opportunity to impress his 10-year-old twin sons, who had no idea that their dad had been having a whale of a time on some crazy cosplaying game show. And on another happy note, maybe Mark, who has a cool new side hustle delivering good and bad news on Cameo, can charge Cameo customers double if he wears his whale suit. I think it’d be worth every penny.

Yet there was a serious side to the Orca too. After McGrath dedicated Wednesday’s Poison power-ballad to his late father, judge Robin Thicke said through tears: “You know, I lost my father [actor and singer Alan Thicke] a few years ago. He was my hero, my idol. So, I totally connect with your story, and I feel what you’re trying to say with that song. … It was a really heartfelt and beautiful performance.” Mark, clearly moved by Robin’s reaction, then attempted to dam his own oceans of tears, admitting, “The last thing I thought was I’d be crying in a giant Orca costume.”

So, that left three other mystery celebrities in Group A… or actually four mystery celebrities, as this week’s episode introduced the final and cutest wild-card contestant of this “game-changing season”: the Yeti! Below are the Group A singers who moved on to next week’s “Super 8” semifinals, where they will compete alongside Group B’s Black Swan, Piglet, Crab, and Chameleon.

The Russian Dolls, “Want You to Want Me”

A fourth doll joined the toy trio this week, although he was more of a silent partner, letting the other figurines interlock their signature harmonies on this Jason Derulo banger. Judge Nicole Scherzinger, who got her start in the vocal groups Eden’s Crush and Pussycat Dolls, was once again impressed, saying their “really strong performance” raised the bar for Season 5.

Clues: We saw the Dolls touring in a Partridge Family-style bus and performing on a softball field, in a pizza parlor, and — after “years of hustling” — at the White House. There was also a brief sighting of last season’s Snow Owls and a T-shirt that read, “What goes around, comes around.” Previous clues have referenced the letter M, a serious health scare, and the word “pop.”

Judges’ guesses: Pentatonix, the Jonas Brothers, 98 Degrees.

My guess: I am calling BS on judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg here. The Russian Dolls sound exactly like Hanson, whose first actually game-changing television performance was on MTV’s The Jenny McCarthy Show in 1997. So I think Jenny is just playing dumb. There is no way she thinks this is 98 Degrees (especially since it’s equally obvious that that boy band’s Nick Lachey is the Piglet). These living dolls are without a doubt “MMMBop” family pop group Hanson, whose eldest brother Isaac nearly died from a pulmonary embolism in 2007; who have released albums titled Snowed In and This Time Around; and who got their big break singing at a South by Southwest softball game after struggling to land a record deal. And Hanson have indeed performed at the White House. And yes, there is a fourth musical Hanson brother, Mac, who may or may not have been in that fourth doll costume.

The Robopine, “Killing Me Softly”

Getting his groove on to a funky, Fugees-inspired version of the Roberta Flack classic, this sharp-dressed man was a view to a quill. He’s no doubt a seasoned showman. “There isn’t anything he can’t do,” declared a crushed-out Nicole.

Clues: He’s been on a long “quest for a certain golden relic,” and has “dodged booby traps” during this “action-packed ride,” even though his “life nearly crumbled” at times. We also saw the initials “MW.” Past clues packages have mentioned police sirens, lightning bolts, superheroes, cats, a throne, spiders, sanitation workers, angels, Washington, Costa Rica, and heavy metal. He’s a father and grandfather, and he has repeatedly claimed that he’s 60 years old — even if the judges refuse to believe that because of his spry, youthful dance moves.

Judges’ guesses: Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Terrence Howard, and yet again, Jamie Foxx. (Jenny seems to figure if she keeps on throwing Jamie’s name out there, one day she’ll be right, just like she was eventually with Sherri Shepherd.)

My guess: Unlike many other contestants of this season, this prickly pop star remains an enigma. While many of the clues don’t add up, I think this could be MC Hammer. He definitely has all the right moves, he has kids and grandkids, and he turns 60 next year. Plus, the show has boasted that this season’s contestants have 26 Grammy nominations and 25 gold/platinum records between them, and the Hammerman has earned eight Grammy nods and has had four albums go platinum or multiplatinum. Plus, wouldn’t it be totally on-brand for a someone who once warned “you can’t touch this” to be a porcupine?

The Seashell, “Tell Me Something Good”

This lovely sea creature has claimed to struggle with self-confidence and has spent years away from the stage, but she was very much in her water-element this week. “The soulfulness that we saw tonight took it to a whole ‘nother level!” exclaimed host Nick Cannon. Said Nicole, “That’s a sanger , right there.”

Clues: We saw a wedding cake, shopping bags, a superheroine cape, and vitamins, and she said she’s a “trailblazer and role model” who’s “walked in many shoes.” She also noted that when she was a kid, “Shells like me weren’t given many opportunities to be seen.” Past clues have referenced baseball, cooking, and child stardom.

Judges’ guesses: Ashanti, Mya, Keke Palmer, Alicia Silverstone.

My guess: This is Tamera Mowry, the ex-Sister, Sister and Twitches star and lifestyle guru who is married to former professional baseball player Adam Housley and was in a singing group long ago called Voices.

The Yeti, “If It Isn’t First Love”

With his kind glowing eyes, towering stature, and downy coat, the adorable Yeti was serving Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Abominable realness — if Rudolph had been made in 1990, that is. There are so many ’90s vibes this season! Besides the Mark McGrath unmasking and the very likely participation of Hanson and Nick Lachey, this was the second New Edition cover of the season, and this season’s cast probably also stars an actual New Edition member, Bobby Brown, as the Crab. Anyway, I thought the Yeti’s vocals were not at a monster level, but he sure had that boy-band choreography down. “A professional has entered the building!” Nick declared, while judge Ken Jeong declared the Yeti his “new favorite” and the new frontrunner.

Clues: He “only comes out of hiding for a mammoth reason” and grew up in a “village of warrior women” who helped him become a “gentleman.” We saw three birthday cupcakes, berry jam sandwiches, firewood, a paper valentine heart, and the word “Aphrodite.” Apparently the Yeti is “all about love, love, love.”

Judges’ guesses: Kid Rock, Ray J, Justin Bieber, Taran Killam.

My guess: Ray J seems like a good guess, but I am not sure sure Jenny would give it away so soon, rather than play coy like she's doing with the Russian Dolls. This could be Year of the Gentleman singer Ne-Yo, but he was already the Badger on The Masked Singer U.K. So, I am going make a wild guess and say this is Let Love Rule superstar Lenny Kravitz. According to Lenny’s recent memoir, he was nurtured by not only his adored mom Roxie Roker but by an incredible extended family of godmothers and mother figures that included Cicely Tyson, Toni Morrison, and Diane Carroll. He’s also been known to rock a supercool Afro hairdo. Yes, Lenny is a longshot… but hey, it’s still a better guess than Justin Bieber.

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