Young guns, go for it! Brat Pack actor, NFL star revealed on 'Masked Singer' comeback episode.

The Mantis and Gargoyle go home after getting one more chance on a special
The Mantis and Gargoyle go home after getting one more chance on a special "Battle of the Saved" episode of 'The Masked Singer' Season 9. (Photos: Fox)

Ding Dong, the Mantis and the Gargoyle are dead. Long live the Medusa!

Oh, I’m sorry — am I making zero sense here? That’s probably because you haven’t been keeping up with all of the latest twists of this Masked Singer season. Allow me to explain...

So, a new gimmick was introduced in Season 9, the “Ding Dong Keep It On Bell,” which allowed the judges to save one contestant per bracket from elimination. Over the past two months, that bell has tolled for second-chancers the Medusa, Mantis, and Gargoyle, and finally, on Wednesday’s special “Battle of the Saved” redemption episode, those three celebrity cosplayers returned to compete for one open spot in the quarterfinals.

And at the end of it all, the Medusa was the last mask standing. “It would be so awesome if somebody we saved actually took home the trophy,” judge Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg prophetically mused Wednesday, once the serpentine diva received her reprieve.


The first contestant to be unmasked this week, after a goofy good-time performance of “You Really Got Me” that seemed equally inspired by the Kinks and Van Halen, was the Mantis. The judges knew he was a shape-shifting film star with comedic and musical chops, and guessed he might be Kevin Bacon, Dennis Quaid, Thomas Lennon, Steve Buscemi, or even Brendan Fraser. When the singing stick-insect turned out to be iconic ‘80s actor Lou Diamond Phillips, longtime La Bamba buff Robin Thicke was downright embarrassed that he’d gotten this one wrong.

“That movie had a huge impact on me. I listened to that soundtrack daily,” Robin told Lou, as he processed “all of these feelings of growing up, watching you and and admiring you so much. What an honor to have you on here!” Lou then treated Robin and the audience to a special performance of Ritchie Valens’s “La Bamba” — a rare thrill, especially since, interestingly, Lou did not actually sing in the 1987 biopic that kickstarted his career. (Phillips lip-synched to vocals supplied by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos.)

The night’s second eliminee, after crooning Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” was the Gargoyle, who went pretty far on this show — all the to this week’s Battle Royale against obvious music pro the Medusa — considering that singing isn’t his main day job. The toothy entertainer turned out to be Los Angeles Chargers football wide receiver Keenan Allen — but Keenan does dabble in music under the stage name K.Alexander, so he had the chops to go farther than most this show’s typical athlete also-rans.

This all worked out for the best, because it was obvious that the Medusa, who said she’d felt like an underdog her whole life, wanted this second shot at Masked Singer glory much more than her Ding Dong rivals. She was practically crying and shouting by the end of her unhinged, show-no-mercy cover of Shawn Mendes’s “Mercy,” telling the judges, “I felt very emotional singing this song. … I’m going to replay this [moment] in my mind forever.”

The judges were also moved, not only by “Mercy” but by the Medusa’s monster Battle Royale against the Gargoyle on Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” a song that frankly seemed picked by producers with the reptilian rock goddess in mind. A weepy Nicole Scherzinger, the judge who’d rung the bell for the Medusa this season, gushed, “You stirred our souls tonight! … What I love about you so much, and what I connect with you on so much, is whenever you’re onstage you don’t take one second for granted, and you don’t hold back.” Jenny raved, “That [“Mercy”] performance alone could win this competition,” and later told the Medusa, “You didn’t turn us into stone — you tuned us into buttah!”

So, now that the Medusa is officially back in the game, with a solid chance of actually winning the whole season, it is time once again to guess her identity. The judges thought she might be Lorde, Kesha, or Susan Boyle (that last one was Ken Jeong’s ludicrous longshot guess, of course). At first I was convinced that the Medusa was Fergie, and so was the rest of the internet; in fact, even had the MVPea in the top spot on its leaderboard, at a 33% chance. But based on more recent clues, I have since changed my guessed to that betting site’s 11.1% longshot option, alt-rock artist Bishop Briggs.

Let’s reassess all of this season’s Medusa clues packages. This singer with an “alias” is a “dancer in the dark” who grew up “far from the spotlight” — and “Dark Side” singer Bishop, whose real name is Sarah Grace McLaughlin, is the daughter of Scottish parents from the East Dunbartonshire, Scotland town of Bishopbriggs. (Another past Medusa clue was a Scotty dog.) The Medusa also mentioned on NYC Night, the episode on which she was saved, that “New York, New York” is her dad’s favorite karaoke song, and that she grew up singing it with him. That all ties in to two other clues — an international plane ticket and the year 1996 — because Bishop moved to Japan with her family at ‘96 and sang in public for the first time at a Tokyo karaoke bar.

Other clues have included the Super Bowl (Bishop’s track “Wild Horses” was in an Acura Super Bowl commercial); a “True Love” chest tattoo (Bishop has a song called “Tattooed on My Heart”); Buckingham Palace (Bishop was actually born in London); a framed portrait of Chris Martin (she has toured with Coldplay); rainbow-backlit palm trees (she’s played Coachella twice); and a DVD cover that boasted “$340 million sold,” which the Medusa held up while saying, “Sometimes success comes in the greyest of places.” (Bishop’s cover of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” was in Fifty Shades Freed, which grossed a reported $340 million.) She also said she’s “technically been here before,” and Season 6’s champion, Jewel (aka the Queen of Hearts), memorably covered Bishop’s hit “River.” And, of course, there was a bishop chess-piece clue, too.

Next week, the artist currently known as the Medusa will face off in the quarterfinals against the UFO (possibly Cara Delevingne) and two reality talent show veterans: the California Roll (definitely The Sing-Off champs Pentatonix), and the Macaw (absolutely, positively American Idol darling David Archuleta). Can she keep slithering down the comeback trail towards Season 9’s grand finale, and make Jenny’s prophecy come true? Watch this space.

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