TV REVIEW: The Curious Case of “The Masked Singer” and the Disappearing Ladybug

After last week’s two hour extravaganza of thrills, spills, double eliminations and – of course – cheese, rapt audiences and fans for FOX’s pop cultural sensation The Masked Singer may have thought they’d be thrown a soft ball to ease the pain of losing two contestants. After all, even a plate of thick and gooey mac and cheese needs a little breather every now and again, right?

 With five masked singers taking the stage this week, the stakes have undoubtedly increased and the talent behind the aforementioned masks is actually shining through in a less diluted state now that most of the dead weight is swimming with the fish (Competition show lingo for the fact that they got Chopped. Oops, wrong show!). This is great and my audio canal is truly thankful. It’s sort of like sitting through a really bad anthology album of yodeling (that’s a thing, right?) and, after hearing so many clunky notes, getting to the last remaining album tracks to discover that the stragglers left behind are really…not that bad.

The Fox took the stage last night as did The Ladybug, The Flower, The Tree and The Rottweiler, all exhibiting a poise and a true talent that shone through even the antics of impromptu guest, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (who has somehow, thankfully, survived the Hollywood climate upheaval of the last couple of years. No collateral damage there, thank you very much!).

The judges were in fine form, too, offering their professional critiques of the remaining masked singers even as they wrung their hands wondering just who resided behind those kooky masks. Is The Fox Wayne Brady? Or, in a case of Most on the Money for 2019, is Fox actually – wait for it – Jamie Fox? When Ladybug finished her performance, the guesses ranged from Jamie Lynn Spears to Paris Jackson. My personal guess? Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H fame. Just sayin’.

The Flower inspired the most interesting choices by the judges, identity-wise, with the always amiable Robin Thicke hitching his wagon to Patti LaBelle. Watching the judges ruminate, discuss and downright argue over the identity of the masked singers makes me wonder if the Warren Commission had a similar setup: “Who could it have been behind the Grassy Knoll, Earl Warren?” to which Warren, in all of his pre-The Masked Singer swagger may have replied, “Soupy Sales.” Please note that this joke with its out of date references would have played gangbusters in 1964. In 2019, though? Meh.

 I do want to sing the praises of a show that exists frankly just to have a good time and we certainly need it in the wake of wall to wall coverage of the Impeachment hearings which is about as much fun as watching old episodes of Knots Landing. This confession will get me into hot water with my mother, who is a die-hard Knots Landing fan, but oh well. Still, what I stated is true: This is a mindless and fun show and there’s nothing better to unwind with at the end of a very long day.

 The ultimate casualty of last night’s episode was, alas, The Ladybug who turned out to be none other than Kelly Osbourne, late of The Osbournes fame. This shocked and impressed a good number of my fellow writing compatriots, but not me. I was rooting for Jack Osbourne myself, fresh from tackling whatever paranormal threat may be haunting the country over on the Discovery Channel. And I was bummed that The Ladybug got, er, chopped, but not because I fancy myself an Osbournes aficionado. I happen to love ladybugs. As in the actual insect. True story and a real heartbreak for me this week.

 With time winding down on this FOX sensation, who will be the next Masked Singer ousted from Primetime? Tune in next week when I reveal the shocking answer!

About Ryan Vandergriff

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