The bell tolls for the Taco: ‘Masked Singer’ castoff is seasoned TV host

The bell tolls for the Taco: ‘Masked Singer’ castoff is seasoned TV host

The Taco has given some red-hot performances this Masked Singer season, breaking out of his shell week after week. But this Wednesday, during the last round of Group B performances that determined which cosplaying mystery celebrities moved on to the Season 3 semifinals, the fiesta ended for the Taco — a.k.a. Tom Bergeron.

Bergeron must have felt right at home on the Masked Singer stage. After all, the reality TV competition he regularly hosts, Dancing With the Stars, has featured many Masked alumni, like Margaret “The Poodle” Cho, Tommy “The Pineapple” Chong, Joey “The Rabbit” Fatone, and Donny “The Peacock” Osmond. And Masked Singer judge Nicole Scherzinger even won DWTS Season 10! But Nicole was still shocked by this spicy reveal, since the panel had guessed that the celebrity beneath that oversized tortilla might be Martin Short, Barry Manilow, Kelsey Grammer, or Jerry Springer instead.

Bergeron actually exited The Masked Singer with a sentimental message not unlike those famous “be good to each other” sign-offs on Jerry Springer’s chat program. “What this show really shows is you shouldn’t trust first impressions,” the Taco declared. “We all go out into the world wearing masks of some kind or another. It’s to our mutual benefit to look a little deeper, and to be nicer to each other.” Aw. He really served some real food for thought.

Below, let’s take a look at the three Group B contestants who advanced to the top nine semifinals round, and keep the guessing game going. Next week, the Group C contestants — the Astronaut, Bear, Night Angel, Rhino, T-Rex, and Swan — will compete. And if Ken Jeong has anything to do with it, that Oscar-gowned Swan will really be Björk this time!

The Kitty, “Mama’s Broken Heart”

This feisty feline did Miranda Lambert proud (and that bizarro, David Lynchian staging was like something straight out of a video by real-life masked singer Orville Peck). The Kitty sounded like a professional vocalist, but since she said she was “so honored and flattered” that the judges thought her voice was “equal” to the other contestants, chances are she holds down different day job

The clues: Previous clues have referenced roses, wizards, pirates, books, sewing, and a “modern family.” This week, clues were doled out by the contestants’ also-disguised friends, and a mystery childhood pal in a slime-green Cousin It wig offered some “gossip” about the Kitty. Apparently this crazy cat penned poems and directed amateur horror flicks as a kid, was misunderstood and bullied at school for being weird, claims she can “see ghosts,” and has a “dark side.” On this friends-themed episode, the Kitty also gave a friendship bracelet to judge Robin Thicke that read “FIREWORKS,” telling him: “The first time we met was lit.”

Judges’ guesses: The regular clueless cast members thought this might be Katy Perry, Kristen Bell, or Haylie Duff. However, returning Season 1 champ T-Pain, sitting in as a guest judge, made a pretty educated guess by saying Christina Ricci, star of The Addams Family and Casper.

My guesses: Last week, I thought kitten-heeled coquette might be Emma Watson. Christina isn’t a stretch, but the “gossip” clue has me now leaning towards Kristen. Jenny McCarthy said the Kitty was toughest Season 3 character to figure out, and she wasn’t wrong. Eh. I’ll stick with Emma for now.

The Banana, “Lean on Me”

After flubbing his lyrics last week, the Banana seemed worried he’d slip again — and the first verse of his yellow-bellied performance was nervous and tentative as a result. But the thick-skinned performer improved as he went along, and he ultimately brought it on home with some evangelical, soulful flair. This number kind of reminded me of Poison’s “Something to Believe In” or “Stand.” Gee, I wonder why?

The clues: This party dude wears a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and blue collar, suffers from a lot of hangovers, and used to live in the old-school L.A. area code 213. This week, he revealed that he has two daughters, that his father recently passed away, that his “memory is not what it used to be,” and that he used to hang with Jenny in the ‘90s.

Judges’ guesses: Michael Andretti, Brad Paisley, Larry the Cable Guy, Johnny Knoxville.

My guess: This one is not tough to figure out. There is no way this isn’t veteran rocker, devoted dad, and brain trauma survivor Bret Michaels. I have named my Poison, and I am sticking with it.

The Frog, “You Dropped a Bomb on Me”

This performance was the bomb-dot-com! It was so much fun. Everyone in the audience was jumping along to the Frog. The judges called him “this year’s Fox” — referring to last season’s consummate entertainer, Wayne “The Fox” Brady, who won the whole thing. It’s difficult to believe that this hippity-hopper recently considered quitting music entirely, but it’s awesome that The Masked Singer has apparently put a new spring in his step.

The clues: Past clues have referenced basketball, soldiers, Prince, “Fame,” and the letters “CSI” and number “106.” This week, a guest-starring mystery friend, who used to look after the Frog’s career when he was a just a wee tadpole, mentioned that he appeared on a late-night talk show when it was “way past his bedtime.” The Frog later revealed that he’s a pal of T-Pain’s.

Judges’ guesses: MC Hammer, Ludacris, Tommy Davidson, Omarion. 

My guess: This is definitely Bow Wow. The collaborator of Soulja Boy, star of CSI: Cyber, ex-host of 106 & Park, and artist behind the songs “Basketball” and “Prince of Darkness” and album The Price of Fame did appear on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1993 when he was just 6 years old. And he has also collaborated on three tracks with T-Pain. It’s easy guessing green in this case.

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