SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched Season 9, episode 11 of “The Masked Singer,” which aired on April 26 on Fox, proceed with caution.
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Lou Diamond Phillips accomplished a feat that few other contestants on “The Masked Singer” have achieved: he left the show’s panel in stunned silence. Phillips was the latest celebrity to be unmasked on the Fox series, revealed as the Mantis on Wednesday night’s show.
Also revealed on this episode was Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, unmasked as the Gargoyle.
It was “Battle of the Saved” night, featuring Medusa, Gargoyle, and Mantis—three contestants who had been saved earlier this season—competing to move on to the next round. A new twist this season was “Ding Dong Keep It On,” giving panelists the chance to save a singer from looming elimination. The bell could only be rung three times during the first three rounds, leading Medusa, Gargoyle, and Mantis to face off in this week’s battle to rejoin the competition.
Phillips revealed that he had been approached multiple times in the past to appear on “The Masked Singer,” but his schedule didn’t allow it. This time, however, he had the flexibility, but he wanted to seek the approval of his teenage daughter first. “I’ve watched the show over several seasons now, and it’s just so much fun, and it’s a real crowd-pleaser,” he said. “My youngest daughter, Indigo, who’s 15, it’s her favorite show. She gets on a FaceTime with a friend of hers, and they watch together.
“So, when the opportunity came up, I said, ‘Indigo, what do you think?’ She thought about it because, you know, there’s ‘Dad world’—the movies and TV things that I do—and then there’s ‘Indigo world’—stuff that she loves. And there was a moment where it’s like, ‘Please don’t ruin my show.’ She thought about it and finally gave me the permission. And then she got very excited about it, especially when she saw the costume. It turned into a nice little family adventure.”
Regarding Mantis, none of the panelists guessed correctly. Robin Thicke thought it was Dennis Quaid. Nicole Scherzinger went with Steve Buscemi. Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg named Kevin Bacon. Ken Jeong picked Brendan Fraser.
“I had no illusions going in,” Phillips said. “I knew that performing in that costume was going to be a challenge. Because it’s not a mask, it’s a freakin’ construction on your head! And between that and the wings and the tail, it was really about figuring out how I could create movement and a stage persona.”
Phillips shared that he was initially offered a dry suit for the performance, and initially, he thought he didn’t need it. “And then after the first dress rehearsal, you are drenched, just drenched,” he said. “It takes a lot of energy to maneuver that costume around and to perform in it, in the big fake leather jacket and the whole shoulder contraption that holds the head in place. It was a real steep learning curve to figure out how to get out there and to perform and not just stand in one place and sing.”
For the Gargoyle, the panelists also missed the mark. Thicke picked the wrong Charger, Joey Bosa. Scherzinger said it was Marshawn Lynch. Jeong went with Anthony Mackie. McCarthy Wahlberg named Michael B. Jordan.
Like last season, “The Masked Singer” has once again adopted a “Champion of Masked Singer” format. Each episode features three costumed celebrities performing, with only one advancing to compete again the following week. After each round, three finalists will compete in the semi-finals.
That means one contestant will be unmasked midway through the episode, with the top two singers facing off in a “battle royale.” After Phillips as Mantis was first to be unmasked, that left Gargoyle and Medusa to face off with “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy. Gargoyle received fewer votes and was unmasked as Allen; Medusa moves on.
Lou Diamond Phillips as Mantis and Keenan Allen as Gargoyle join Melissa Joan Hart as Lamp, Alicia Witt as Dandelion, Dee Snider as the Doll, Christine Quinn as Scorpio, George Wendt as Moose, Holly Robinson Peete as Fairy, Alexa Bliss as Axolotl, Lele Pons as Jackalope, Malin Akerman as Squirrel, 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 unmasked this season.
“The Masked Singer” enters Season 9 with 21 contestants include “Mustang,” “Axolotl,” “California Roll,” “Dandelion,” “Moose,” “Gargoyle,” “Jackalope,” “Doll,” Polar Bear,” “Night Owl,” “Rock Lobster,” “Gnome,” “Macaw,” “Squirrel,” “Wolf” and more to be announced. Tim Chappel is this season’s costume designer.
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 the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a combined 95,231,000 records sold.” Season nine will introduce all-new themed episodes, including “ABBA Night,” “New York Night,” “DC Superheroes Night,” “Sesame Street Night,” “80s Night,” “Movie Night” and more.
Here were the contestants and their performances on night eleven:
Song: “Mercy,” by Shawn Mendes
Panel guesses: Lorde, Susan Boyle, Kesha
Clue: “Alias.” “Here I’m known as Medusa, and at home I go by my name. But to the world, I go by something completely different.”
Package voiceover: “I was devastated when I heard I lost to the California Roll. They were so good, that I knew I was going home. So, when the bell rang, I couldn’t believe it. It feels really empowering to be given another chance, especially by judges that I respect and admire. I’ve kind of always felt like an underdog. This whole experience brings me back to the early days of my career, where I had to constantly prove to people that I was worthy of their time and energy. That’s why every time I sing, I really feel like I go to a different place. Free of ego, insecurities, and it’s all just about the music and feeling the emotion. I didn’t know how attached I was to this mask until I almost lost it. I hope tonight’s performance will let me hold on to it a little longer.”
Previous songs: “Happier Than Ever,” by Billie Eilish; “Dancing Queen,” by ABBA; “New York, New York,” by Frank Sinatra
Previous panel guesses: Elle Goulding, Megan Markle, Jessie J, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Lorde, Tove Lo, Lorde, Apple Martin, Dakota Johnson; Lorde, Florence Welch, Shirley Manson, Susan Boyle, Kesha. And when she was about to be voted off: Ken Jeong picked Susan Boyle, Robin Thicke went with Kesha, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg said it was Halsey, Nicole Scherzinger guessed Lorde.
GARGOYLE (KEENAN ALLEN)
Song: “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love,” by Usher feat. Pitbull
Panel guesses: DeSean Jackson,Michael B. Jordan, Anthony Mackie
Clue: “Pregame.” “Whether I’m listening to my own track, or one of the greats, music always gets me into the zone.”
Package voiceover: “I thought I was down and out. I thought I was going home. Then they rang the bell and kept me alive. I’m grateful they’re giving me another shot. I was super nervous the last time, because I’d never been on a stage like this. Even though I’m used to performing for thousands of people in massive venues, here I’ve got on this mask and I’m wearing four layers. It still feels like everyone is looking right at me. It’s tough, but I’ve got more experience as an underdog than anyone else. I’ve been in squads that always had to prove that they deserve to be in the national spotlight. So, I’m going to use that to my advantage. I’m going to have to tap into my inner slayer and snatch the performance.”
Previous song: “One Call Away,” by Charlie Puth
Previous panel guesses: Antonio Gates of the L.A. Chargers, The Weeknd, Odell Beckham Jr.
MANTIS (LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS)
Song: “You Really Got Me,” by the Kinks
Panel guesses: Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Thomas Lennon
Clue: “Movie Maverick.” “I’ve won awards for my independent spirit. But the real reward is having more movie credits than Ken.”
Package voiceover: “My goodness man, it blows my mind to be given a second chance. I did not expect to be out of the first episode. This is my daughter’s favorite show. I’ve seen the show, and you guys have ridiculously talented singers! We know I’m not known as a singer. So, I thought I’d come in, try to hold my own, be entertaining. And then Robin chose to save me. It’s like a Cinderella story! When you touch someone’s heart it makes all the difference in the world. I’ve been out of the box most of my career. I don’t fit a lot of people’s classic mold as the leading man. Very rarely was I anybody’s first choice. I’ve always felt like I had to earn it, I had to work for it. And the beauty of that is that I love the work. I love the craft. I even love to do this. I’ve developed him into this stage persona, and he’s turned into this rock god. It would be absolutely stunning to win it all. There are no more saves.”
Previous song: “Old Time Rock and Roll,” by Bob Seger
Previous panel guesses: Dennis Quaid, Cole Hauser, Kevin Bacon, Bruce Springsteen. And when he was about to be voted off: Jeong said it was Bruce Springsteen. (“The worst guess ever!” said Scherzinger.) Scherzinger thought it was Keanu Reeves. McCarthy Wahlberg picked Kevin Bacon. Thicke guessed Dennis Quaid.