On March 11, a “Masked Singer” episode aired that featured Sarah Palin singing “Baby Got Back” in a pink teddy bear outfit. The panelists were floored along with host, Nick Cannon, whose only comment upon finding out her identity was, “Wow and she was rapping?!” However shocking and exciting this reveal was, it received a lot of backlash from many of the show’s more liberal viewers along with those who simply saw the performance as “an abomination.” Many were upset with politics becoming involved in a show they had previously enjoyed to forget about current events. “I watch this show with my daughters who used to look up to Sarah Palin as a female role model. I guess I’ll have to fall back on Hillary Clinton,” complained Karen Davis, a mother and fan of “The Masked Singer.”
We asked Izzie Pick Ibarra- an executive producer of the show, and the person most involved with the casting- about her next move to mitigate the backlash. Ibarra explained, “We need someone who’s less controversial. A real middle of the road guy. Someone who can complain about being an underdog without actually being oppressed.” This “middle of the road” hero was exactly what “The Masked Singer” delivered. This past Wednesday, a new episode aired and, once again, no one was expecting this reveal.
An unhinged audience chanted “TAKE IT OFF! TAKE IT OFF!” (referring to the mask). Nick Cannon ripped off the head of a sparkly newt wearing a suit of armor to reveal some white guy. Jenny McCarthy, one of the panelists, yelled, “Ohmygod! It’s Leonardo DiCaprio!!” The crowd roared with applause.
“No way, that’s Matt Damon!” asserted Robin Thicke, squinting and putting on his prescription glasses. It was often difficult to make out faces from the panelists’ seats. All they had to go on was a white man with blonde (maybe brown?) hair. There were a few scattered claps.
Ken Jeong crossed his arms. “Well I still think it could be Björk.”
“I’m gonna be honest,” said Nick Cannon, still holding the massive decapitated head in his hands, “I have no clue who this is.”
The man in the newt suit waved timidly. “Hi, I’m Tom.”
“Tom Cruise??” Nicole Scherzinger guessed.
“No. I’m Tom Cooper.”
Nick Cannon scratched his head. “The… cricket player?”
“No. The accountant.” After a long silence, Tom spoke. “I just want to thank my two daughters, Reighleigh and Ashlinne, and my beautiful wife, Dianne. We’ve had some hard times recently. My daughter got a rejection letter from UCLA and I hurt my hip last week so I’m gonna have to miss discounted bowling on Tuesday.”
Nicole Scherzinger ducked under the judges’ table to find a bottle of eyedrops in her purse. She sat back up, a single tear falling on her cheek. “That is such a touching story. You are so brave to get up on stage and be so vulnerable. I feel like you’ve just put your whole heart on display for us.” The choked-up crowd hollered in agreement.
“Thank you. That means a lot.”
“Well, that does it for this week’s episode,” Nick Cannon cut in. “Here- to sing his last song- is Tom Cooper!”
Tom fist pumped. “This one goes out to Dianne! Just a small town girl! Living in a lonely woooorld!” Despite the audience’s initial confusion, once the classic Journey song began to play, all but the enthusiastic sing-along was forgotten.
“It’s the perfect fix!” Ibarra exclaimed at the end of the interview. “Nothing pleases a live television audience like a mild white guy singing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.”