The Skeleton performs in the season two premiere episode of THE MASKED SINGER
Michael Becker—FOX
October 16, 2019 9:14 PM EDT

After a breakout first season that enthralled, bemused, amused and at times scared audiences, FOX’s The Masked Singer has returned.

Season 2 of the singing competition/guessing game featured sixteen ostentatiously-costumed celebrity contestants competing in vocal battles. After a vote each week from the judging panel and an in-studio audience, one celebrity is cut and, crucially, unmasked. Eight singers’ identities have already been revealed — more on that below.

“It’s not just a whodunnit, it’s a who sung it,” host Nick Cannon explained on the first season’s premiere in a catchphrase that’s since stuck. And while the singing is good — great, even — it’s the big reveal at the end of each episode that really makes The Masked Singer special. Looking back to season 1, we learned that the Poodle was Margaret Cho all along! The Alien was LaToya Jackson! Tori Spelling! Joey Fatone! The list goes on.

To this effect, clues are given as to the celebrities’ identities each episode in video packages and on-stage interviews. The show’s producers have promised greater “narrative arcs” for the new contestants, so there’ll be more opportunities for the detective work that plays out during watch parties, across social media and on dedicated discussion forums. Perhaps more red herrings too, although sadly that’s not yet a costume.

Here’s everything you need to know about The Masked Singer, just shy of being spoiled outright. Most importantly, who is The Tree?

When did season 2 of The Masked Singer air?

The Masked Singer premiered on Sept. 25. It aired on Wednesday nights, 8/7 Central on FOX. The season 2 premiere “easily” won its timeslot with 8 million viewers, Variety noted; Neilsen ratings for the episodes since confirm the show has retained the top spot among viewers.

Who were the contestants on season 2 of The Masked Singer?

That’s the big question. The show goes to great lengths to keep its singers secret while episodes air, even though performances (and eliminations) have been pre-taped for live audiences. For every professional vocalist whose performances might be identifiable, there’s usually an athlete, actor or influencer in the mix to keep some mystery alive.

In a pre-season press release, FOX offered the following starter clues for the season 2 contestants’ identities, collectively:

A preview clip also touted that they have 140 movie credits, 31 Billboard #1 hits, 7 Super Bowl appearances, 15 marriages and 8 divorces between them. (And of the 12 contestants on The Masked Singer’s first season, 11 had previous reality TV credits, so it’s always worth considering those with past experience on reality shows.)

So, for those keeping track, here’s all the biggest hints and rabbit holes the show offered up for dissection.

Who is the Fox on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Fox.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Fox is Wayne Brady, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s finale.

Performances: “This Love,” “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” “Every Little Step,” “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Blame It,” “This Christmas,” “Try a Little Tenderness”

Go figure, eventual champion the Fox managed to… outfox most guessers for a (little) while longer than many of his fellow contestants. But the hints were there: His first clue package featured the Fox saying he’s done his “best work at night” (Brady’s work on improv show Whose Line is it Anyway?) and even the judges caught a line about his best work “being with Doogie and Doubtfire” — his appearances alongside Neil Patrick Harris and Robin Williams.

Who is the Rottweiler on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Rottweiler.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Rottweiler is Chris Daughtry, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s finale.

Performances: “Maneater,” “Love Runs Out,” “Castle on the Hill,” “Grenade,” “Someone You Loved,” “Mr. Brightside,” “Alive”

Eagle-eared (dog-eared?) fans quickly decided the Rottweiler a performer on his second TV singing competition — Chris Daughtry, previously of American Idol fame. An early clue came when the Rottweiler said he’d “been judged from the moment I entered the game.”

Beyond the vocal tone many view to be too similar to ignore, clues to the Rottweiler’s identity included a bouquet of blue roses (one of Daughtry’s tattoos) and a line the Rottweiler drops that “it’s not over.” (This is the title of one of Daughtry’s best-known songs.) Even judge Ken Jeong picked up on clues seemingly referring to North Carolina, Daughtry’s home state.

Who is the Flamingo on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Flamingo.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Flamingo is Adrienne Houghton, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s finale.

Performances: “Sucker,” “Footloose,” “Never Enough,” “Lady Marmalade,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Hallelujah,” “Proud Mary”

With a clip from her performance of “Lady Marmalade” released even before season 2’s premiere, a consensus among most Masked Singer detectives from the get-go was that the Flamingo’s voice closely resembles that of former Cheetah Girl, Adrienne Houghton (née Bailon). “It’s about time this bad-ass birdie got to show her feathers again,” the Flamingo teased in a clue video, and The Cheetah Girls discography includes a track titled “Shake a Tail Feather.”

Masked Singer host Nick Cannon had also touted a talk show host among the contenders, though Houghton denied her participation during a taping of The Real, on which she’s a co-host.

Who is the Leopard on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Leopard.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Leopard is Seal, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s tenth episode.

Performances: “Somebody to Love,” “Stitches,” “Teenage Dream,” “September,” “We Are Young,” “Big Spender”

Many Masked Singer sleuths on social media have recommended listening to the contestants’ performances with closed eyes, and then working backwards, pegging clues to a performer whose voice could fit. This strategy certainly worked for the Leopard, who provided clues that are all over the place. Listening to the Leopard’s performances, though — and taking, for example, the clue about the Leopard’s upbringin, given that Seal whas spoken of being placed in foster care of a child (and was once reunited with his foster sister on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show) — and that was that. Also, one particularly killer type of seal? It’s the Leopard Seal.

The internet’s best guess: Seal.

Who is the Thingamajig on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: Thingamajig.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Thingamajig is Victor Oladipo, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s tenth episode.

Performances: “Easy (Like Sunday Morning),” “Rainbow,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Haven’t Met You Yet,” “Ordinary People,” “Winter Wonderland”

As with the Penguin, the Thingamjig’s height was a giveaway: the show’s costume designers confirmed his costume is over 7 feet tall, leading many to assume it’d have to be a basketball player needing such proportions. The slam dunk choice among the NBA? Baller Victor Oladipo, whose music videos hint at a voice not dissimilar from the Thingamajig. Another early giveaway wa a visual clue to the number 4, Oladipo’s jersey number.

Who is the Tree on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Tree.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Tree is Ana Gastayer, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s ninth episode.

Performances: “High Hopes,” “Think,” “No Excuses,” “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “Edge of Glory”

Among Gastayer’s many other claims to fame, yes, those were a Mean Girls quote in clue package accompanying the Tree’s second performance? “I’m not a regular Tree,” she said at one point, “I’m a cool Tree.” Another reference to being the “new girl in school” came later, though sadly no “Jingle Bell Rock” performance. While the judging panel had earlier decided (wrongly) the Ladybug was Lohan herself, it did turn out that the Tree was a co-star.

Who is the Butterfly on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Butterfly.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Black Widow is Michelle Williams, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s eighth episode.

Performances: “Bang Bang,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Don’t Know Why,” “Sorry Not Sorry”

Well, that voice was distinctive. (Also, impressive.) The Butterfly’s clue packages were filled with religious imagery, as well as butterfly metaphors — feeling cocooned, “stuck in a net,” and awaiting a metamorphosis. “With this mask I’ve found the courage to be reborn,” the Butterfly says, adding that she’s letting go of people who have previously “clipped my wings.” So, then, how a performer who’s previously discussed mental health problems, dabbled in gospel music, and used to be engaged to a pastor?

Another delightful clue to her identity is a line dropped in a pre-show profile explaining her unwieldy costume: It’s “difficult to move around [in]… I bump into everything” the Butterfly says. “I just pray I don’t fall over,” she continues, leading many to believe there’s a moment in her past in which she did just that.

Who is the Flower on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Flower.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Flower is Patti LaBelle, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s seventh episode.

Performances: “9 to 5,” “Cheap Thrills,” “Amazed,” “Alone”

Really, once you’d heard that voice, there’s not much to be said other than, “wow, The Masked Singer signed Patti LaBelle.”

A lot of early clues spoke to the Flower’s identity as Mayim Bialik — she said she “blossoms in every field,” and a visual clue was the number 314. (Yes, that’s the apartment number of Bialik’s character Amy in CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, and that’s also how seriously viewers take the show.) But 3.14 is also the number for Pi and, with the Flower highlighting her cooking experience in a clues package, it’s worth noting that LaBelle has a frozen foods line which includes pies sold at Walmart. Another numerical giveaway? 524, which popped up in the Flower’s second clue package. That just happens to be LaBelle’s birthday.

Who is the Ladybug on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Ladybug.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Ladybug is Kelly Osbourne, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s sixth episode.

Performances: “Holding Out For a Hero,” “Juice,” “Youngblood”

In her first batch of clues, the Ladybug says she “was born into the limelight,” and has had a “life full of drama” and “family feuds.” In other words, that’s the plotline of many an episode of The Osbournes, which starred Kelly’s family. And that seemingly throwaway visual clue of a hock of ham? Well it was a throwaway only in the sense that it referred to the reality show’s infamous “ham throwing” moment, as explained in the Ladybug’s big reveal.

Who is the Black Widow on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Black Widow.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Black Widow is Raven-Symoné, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s fifth episode.

Performances: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,”Before He Cheats,” “Believe”

“Frankly I’ve been packaged my entire life,” the Black Widow says in one clues package; adding in another that she has long been required to keep “a squeaky clean image.” But “and after years of living in the public eye, you’re in my house now,” she teases. Visually, there’s been clues of tarot cards on display, and a watercolor painting of a juicy big peach.

Combine those hints with some seemingly distinctive vocal stylings and there you go: a child starlet from Atlanta, Raven-Symoné’s eponymous That’s So Raven character was psychic — and that show’s currently-airing spinoff is titled Raven’s Home.

Who is the Penguin on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Penguin.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Penguin is Sherri Shepherd, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s fifth episode.

Performances: “The Middle,” “All About That Bass”

One of the many gags on The Masked Singer‘s first season was judge Ken Jeong’s inability to clock his former co-star Margaret Cho. This time around, was it Jenny McCarthy’s turn to miss identifying her former (fired) The View co-host Sherri Shepherd? Well, sort of — McCarthy did guess Shepherd at one point, then second-guessed herself out.

The Penguin highlighted career setbacks in her first clues package, saying she’d been told she was “not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny enough.” She appeared to reference being fired, and shows off a hit list of former rivals including a “classroom bully,” a “comedy club owner,” “Hollywood casting director” and “exes,” plural. So, yes, a comedian with some bad breakups in her past.

Who is the Skeleton on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Skeleton.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Skeleton is Paul Shaffer, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s fourth episode.

Performances: “Rapper’s Delight,” “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

The Skeleton said he’d “been around the block a few times, but I’m far from dead,” also noting he’s “provided support” to others but no longer wants to be “second fiddle.” “Being in the background let me be more instrumental,” he added.

A numerical clue offered in season one gave away contestant Tommy Chong’s birthday, and the number 4261 featured prominently in the Skeleton’s pre-show profile. While that is actor Christopher Meloni’s birthday, would the show really offer the same intel twice? No. Reddit detectives in particular have made sense of the 4261 after all — and that it’s the number of episodes Late Night With David Letterman aired, where the arguable “second fiddle” was singer/bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Who is the Eagle on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Eagle.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Eagle is Dr. Drew, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s third episode. Yes, Dr. Drew.

Performances: “I’d Do Anything For Love”

Despite clues that hinted to the Eagle’s rock star credentials — that Bret Michaels bandana, the fact that he actually said he’s a rock star — it was the line about his having “spent so much time listening to other people’s stories” that proved the biggest hint to Dr. Drew’s identity, speaking to his role as a reality TV therapist.

Who is the Panda on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Panda.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Panda is Laila Ali, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s second episode.

Performances: “Stronger”

Giving shout-outs to her “Papa Bear” and his strength, the Panda mentioned that she learned to “fight for all my dreams, full force,” all clear hints to Laila Ali’s boxing career, as well as that of her father Muhammad. Her clue package also featured a bee plushie — as in “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

Who is the Ice Cream on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Ice Cream
Michael Becker/FOX

The Ice Cream is Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s first episode.

Performances: “Old Town Road”

“Growing up, I caught a lot of flak for doing the thing I love the most,” the Ice Cream said in their clue package, a reference to Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’s love of gaming. (He teased that his Masked Singer spot was a “game-changer” also.) “But I turned my fantasy into a reality,” he continued of his streaming career — and touted the “over a billion” views he’s received.

Who is the Egg on The Masked Singer?

THE MASKED SINGER: The Egg.
Michael Becker/FOX

The Egg is Johnny Weir, as revealed in The Masked Singer‘s first episode.

Performances: “Just Dance”

The Internet had basically cracked the Egg’s identity pre-show (or at least narrowed it down to Weir or his fellow skater Adam Rippon). Clues included them mentioning being “pro-team” (yes, that’s a bad protein pun) in a pre-show clip, and that they “work hard for the first and last vowels of the alphabet.” Taken literally as “A” and “U,” then that’s the chemical symbol for gold. As in gold medal.

Add in the swan plushie featured in a clues package — i.e. his short performance at the 2006 Olympics — and the fact that Weir’s Gaga fandom is well-known, and it was almost too easy. Too over-easy.

What’s the story behind The Masked Singer?

The Masked Singer is based upon the hit Korean reality TV show King of Mask Singer, which premiered on Korean network MBC in 2015. It’s now airing its fifth season. The show’s original premise — masks, campy judging panel, knockout-styles singoffs — has mostly been retained, though certainly the U.S. version has upped the caliber of the costumes.

But King of Mask Singer functions episodically rather than playing out across a whole season, however, with a winner (the titular “King”) picked at the end of each episode. This winner then rolls over to face a new batch (or batches) of contestants; the record streak is nine wins. And to a larger extent than the U.S. show, King of Mask Singer contestants have mainstream Korean music credentials, whether contemporary or historical. Ryan Reynolds once made a cameo appearance, though, in a unicorn mask. Because why not? (Here’s his big reveal moment.)

 

The U.S. is among 18 countries that have aired — or plan to air — their own versions of the show. The Masked Singer‘s first Stateside season broke viewing records with its premiere, Deadline noted; it retained solid viewership numbers across its run, while growing its audience on social media as word of the whole spectacle spread.

The grand finale, which saw T-Pain (The Monster) beat out Donny Osmond and Gladys Knight (The Peacock and The Bee, respectively), was watched by more than 14 million people, hitting a 4.5 in the key 18-49 Nielsen demographic. Did you ever think you’d be reading a sentence that discussed T-Pain, Donny Osmond and Gladys Knight all dressed as furry/latex animals, by the way?

Write to Alex Rees at alex.rees@time.com.

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