SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you haven’t seen Season 9, Episode 5 of “The Masked Singer,” which aired March 15 on Fox.
Two more celebrities were revealed on Wednesday’s episode of “The Masked Singer”: Actor/comedian Malin Akerman and social media star Lele Pons were revealed to be Squirrel and Jackalope, respectively.
For Squirrel, Jenny McCarthy got Wahlberg right by naming Malin Akerman. Robin Thicke guessed Heather Graham. Ken Jeong thought it was Katherine Heigl. Nicole Scherzinger chose Kate Hudson. Guest panelist Jennifer Nettles said Anne Hathaway.
As for Jackalope, Scherzinger quickly figured out that it was Lele Pons, and Thicke agreed. McCarthy Wahlberg said Jenna Ortega. Jeong went with Selena Gomez. Nettles picked Camilla Cabello.
It was “Sesame Street” night, and the episode opened with Elmo singing “What’s The Name of that Song” (or, in this case, “Show”) before turning it over to Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, the Count and other characters singing “Dynamite” by BTS. Yes, this show continues to be so weird! (I mean, chryon-introducing host Nick Cannon identified him as “Father to many Sesame Street Fans.” The fact that “The Masked Singer” leans hard into Cannon’s paternity is always amazing.)
This was also the episode teased earlier via news reports that Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin dropped by the set. Hamlin recorded the appearance just weeks after collapsing on the field during a Jan. 2 game. In the episode, he is introduced by his younger brother Damir.
“My brother, this is my world,” Hamlin said of why he showed up. “I put family first. And he loves ‘Sesame Street’ more than most things. So we were going to make it tonight.”
Also on hand as a guest panelist was singer Jennifer Nettles, host of Fox’s “Farmer Wants a Wife,” which airs right after “The Masked Singer.”
Like last season, “The Masked Singer” has once again adopted a “Champion of Masked Singer” format. Each episode features three costumed celebrities, but only one wins and moves on to compete again the following week. After each round, three finalists will compete in the semi-finals.
This means that one contestant will be revealed midway through the episode, with the top two singers facing off in a “battle royale”. After Akerman as a squirrel was first revealed, it let Jackalope and Fairy face off to “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons. Jackalope received fewer votes and was revealed as Pons. The Fairy moves on to next week’s episode.
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 imminent elimination, but the bell can only be rung three times during the first three rounds. These three singers will then meet in a special episode in a battle to re-enter the competition. The bell was not rung on Wednesday.
“The Masked Singer” enters Season 9 with 21 contestants, including “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.
Lele Pons as Jackalope and Malin Akerman as Squirrel join Michael Bolton as the Wolf, Grandmaster Flash as Polar Bear, Debbie Gibson as Night Owl, Howie Mandel as Rock Lobster, Sara Evans as Mustang and Dick Van Dyke as Gnome as the celebrities revealed 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 Hollywood Walk of Fame and a total of 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 the fifth night:
The Fairy (WINNER)
Song: “You’re No Good,” by Linda Ronstadt
Panel guess: Tracee Ellis Ross, Angelina Jolie, Rashida Jones
Key: Cookie Monster holds up a paper plate that says “Endless Love”
Pack voiceover: “Making my debut on ‘Sesame Street’ night makes me feel right at home. Because I grew up on these streets. Some might say I’m a bit of a nepo fairy, I mean while other kids had allowances I made my pocket money charging the neighborhood kids to come over and watch my dad just hang out at home. I certainly could have taken a more direct route to fame, like some of the friends I grew up with. But I chose a more divergent path and prioritized my education and traveled the world. Eventually, my destiny led me back to the Tinseltown limelight. I guess office work just wasn’t for me. I got to pursue two of my loves: Singing and acting. Now it’s time for me to sing a song from my favorite ‘Sesame Street’ resident. Because why he might be grumpy, he’s an old friend.”
Jackalope (LELE PONS)
Song: “Whenever, Wherever,” by Shakira
Key: The Count holds up a sign that says “30 under 30.” “Donald Glover, Emma Stone and Michael B. Jordan. It is an honor to be on the same list.”
Panel guess: Lele Pons, Jenna Ortega, Camilla Cabello
Pack voiceover: “I’m so excited to step into the ring on ‘Sesame Street’ night because I also love entertaining audiences of all ages. Although I am known to be very influential, you would be surprised that I was not very social. Speaking as a child was not my jam. So growing up I pioneered other ways of expressing myself through music and dance. Soon people all over the world started getting in touch with me and what I do because this Jackalope doesn’t lie. Writing about your problems to millions of strangers may seem crazy, but being vulnerable gives me strength. I have created a modern family of outcasts and together we have defined an industry. My kind of fame has its fair share of trolls. But I have learned to have a thick skin in my arena. So my competition better watch out because this bunny’s moves shine brightest on Wednesdays.”
Squirrel (MALIN AKERMAN)
Song: “Just the Two of Us,” by Grover Washington Jr., feat. Bill Withers
The panel’s guess: Katherine Heigl, Kate Hudson, Malin Akerman, Anne Hathaway
Key: Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin pulls out a football with Jeong’s face on it. Said Egern, “Ken, this isn’t the first time we’ve worked together. But this is the first time you’ve had multiple lines.”
Pack voiceover: “I came out like the squirrel last week was crazy. I had some tough competition, but I knew that if I got into Battle Royale, I could tap into my inner rock star and really show what I’m made of. Now that I’m in the master’s seat, I feel a new fire. I’m working hard to make sure no one takes this title away from me, especially on ‘Sesame Street’ night. I dedicate my achievement to the Count because my child is his biggest fan. That guy has some style. Like this new clue. (A wedding dress). Say yes to the guess.”
Previous song: “Try,” by Pink
Earlier panel guess: Naomi Watts, Katie Holmes, Renee Zellweger, Margot Robbie, Uma Thurman