Spoiler alert! The following contains details from the Sept. 23 episode of Fox's "The Masked Singer," including the identities of the unmasked celebrities.
"The Masked Singer" is back at it. The in-costume singing competition signed off from its season opener Wednesday with a cliffhanger: Mother Nature was eliminated but their real identity wtihheld. The two-night premiere resumed Thursday, finally unearthing the star under the mask.
Tonight we said so long to Mother Nature, but said hello to two new contestants, wildcards fighting for a spot in Group A: Hamster and Baby, the latter whose costume caused some waves.
During the "Back to School" themed episide, Cannon also introduced the "Take It Off" buzzer, which appears to be a real game-changer.
"Panel, if you're 100% certain you know the identity of a singer, you can hit the take it off buzzer," Cannon told Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke. "And if you're right, the singer must unmask on the spot and will be sent home immediately." The panelists will then be given two additional points to help them clinch the Golden Ear trophy. But if the panelist is incorrect, they "will be significantly punished," Cannon warned. The buzzer can only be used once per group.
Here's how the rest of the evening played out.
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Hamster gets the panel's wheels turning
Clues: The furry little hamster with bedazzled headphones was running on a wheel marked with the letters S, V and M. His cage was decorated with a poster of San Francisco's Alcatraz Island.
Playing into the night's school theme, locker clues (items inside the characters' lockers) were revealed throughout the night. In his locker, Hamster had a baseball bat and explained "It's sunny, and I like to play baseball."
Guesses: After hearing Hamster's strong vocals showcased by Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," Jeong's instincts directed him toward actors Bill Murray and Brendan Fraser. McCarthy tossed out a few funny men: Albert Brooks, Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer and Andy Richter. Scherzinger thought of comedic actor Jack Black.
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Skunk wows: 'We are not worthy!'
Clues: In a library-themed package, Skunk revealed she had a scholarship for college, but received "unexpected news that changed everything." In the library, someone was reading "Big Book of Acting" and Skunk checked out a book titled "Iron Out Your Swing." Skunk dedicated her performance to "all the women out there who put their own dreams on hold for others" hoping it would "remind them the world is theirs."
On stage, next to her locker housing a French final and a projector, Skunk shared, "Because of miseducation, I am always ready for the action."
And she certainly showed up prepared to perform. Skunk's rendition of James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" should cement her place in the competition. "We are not worthy!" Cannon gushed. "I gotta bow down. One of the best vocal performances I've ever witnessed in my life."
Guesses: Analyzing the clues, Jeong went with Grammy-winner Lauryn Hill, while Thicke mulled over a few singers: Yolanda Adams, Jill Scott and Fantasia Barrino. Scherzinger brought up "I Like That" artist Janelle Monáe.
Pufferfish reveals 'sheltered' childhood
Clues: The spiky fish said she had a "sheltered" upbringing while being raised in a home that was "very religious." She said going to the movies or even listening to music were off-limits.
Her locker clues hinted at her intellect and kept safe a sash for a spelling bee champ.
Guesses: Pufferfish showed off her rapping skills once again with Dua Lipa's "Levitating," featuring DaBaby. Jeong envisioned rapper M.I.A. or actress Zoe Saldana. McCarthy's gut led her to "I’m Like a Bird" singer Nelly Furtado, and Thicke thought of actress Vanessa Hudgens.
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Bull's emotionally-charged performance
Clues: Bull divulged in his clue package he would be singing a song that called to mind his first crush and heartbreak. His clue package was filled with floral arrangements and rose petals and highlighted the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Bull's locker was packed with live cheerleaders, signifying his love of school spirit. "Nothing makes me happier than the cheer of the crowd," he said.
Guesses: Bull, a true showman, performed Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts the Most" and had panelists all over the map. Jeong brought up multi-talented stars Darren Criss and Justin Timberlake, Thicke predicted Bull might be The Killers singer Brandon Flowers or songster Rufus Wainwright. McCarthy voiced her desire for Bull to be actor Zac Efron.
Baby spooks and charms Scherzinger
Clues: Baby, a character Scherzinger had mixed feelings about, teased that he's been famous for a while. "I was part of the baby rat pack and we (were) famous for throwing punches, getting my hands dirty in the action," he said. "I got Blockbuster hits, award-winning album, radio play. I've even replaced Schwarzenegger in a film."
Baby's locker clue further pointed us to an action star. His locker held a report card with the comment that Driver's Ed was "failed for too many high speed chases." Baby said, "Sometimes when I don't get a nap, I get the need to feed."
Guesses: Baby debuted his vocals with Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" and Scherzinger wasn't quite sure what to make of him. "This show is officially disturbing," she said. "You are the sweetest, cutest, little scariest thing ever. I'm not gonna lie. But surprisingly you have a really great voice." Jeong was being pulled toward actors Will Smith and Hugh Jackman. Thinking along similar lines, McCarthy chose "Fast & Furious" star Vin Diesel, and Thicke's gut pointed him to "Walker, Texas Ranger" star Chuck Norris.
Pufferfish is fin-ished
Given the option to sink or swim in the competition, Pufferfish, unfortunately, has done the former. She was ousted during Thursday's elimination, which means the panel's first impression guesses of the star were revealed and their final hunches co-signed.
Thicke stuck with his prediction of actress/Honest Company founder Jessica Alba. McCarthy traded multi-hyphenate Jennifer Lopez for Nelly Furtado. Jeong traded his initial instinct of "Insecure" co-creator/star Issa Rae to Zoe Saldana, and Scherzinger backed off from her first thought – singer/choreographer Paula Abdul – and bet on artist Monica.
The star turned out to be singer Toni Braxton, who Cannon revealed was very COVID-cautious throughout shooting.
"She did every performance with her mask on," the host shared.
"I had to be even extra cautious and do it with the mask underneath the mask," Braxton said, who shared how the show lifted her spirits. "You took me away from being so scaredy-cat and thinking about this whole thing that's going on in the world. It was nice to feel light for a moment."
Episodes of "The Masked Singer" can be viewed on Fox's website.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Masked Singer': Vivica A. Fox and Toni Braxton unmasked, eliminated