The Mouse that roared: ‘Masked Singer’ castoff is six-time Grammy-winning legend

“There is no way that the producers would have Chaka Khan, a legend, and then Dionne Warwick, on the same season. There’s no way!” proclaimed incredulous Masked Singer judge Jenny McCarthy on Wednesday’s Group B Playoffs episode. But apparently Jenny hadn’t consulted her Psychic Friends — because the Mouse did indeed turn out to be Dionne.

It actually wasn’t that surprising that the six-time Grammy-winner had signed up for this supersized season, which has already unmasked superstars like Lil Wayne, Tony Hawk, and, yes, Chaka Khan. What was surprising was the fact that Dionne also went home early, just as Chaka controversially did two weeks ago.

As expected, after the Mouse’s identity was revealed, the internet was once again squeaking in protest.

However, as I have noted before, The Masked Singer is an atypical singing competition — one in which the normal rules of, well, actual singing do not apply. It’s a show that takes place in a parallel universe where every day is Opposite Day, a show on which an icon like Dionne’s “That’s What Friends Are For” collaborator Gladys Knight can go home in third place, or Patti LaBelle can even stall in eighth.

And so, Warwick seemed unfazed by her early elimination. “It was an absolute pleasure. I had the best time. It was a ball,” she gushed. The cast seemed to have had an even better time, with host Nick Cannon telling her, “We are privileged to be in your presence,” and judge Nicole Scherzinger saying, “It’s an honor to have you on the show.” Aw. That is what friends are for!

Let’s take a look at the four Group B contestants who somehow managed to outlast Dionne friggin’ Warwick, and keep the guessing game going.

The Banana, “Achy Breaky Heart”

Anyone who still thinks that the celebrities on this show aren’t really singing live got a dose of reality this week, when the Banana slipped and missed the entire first line of his song. It’s the kind of flub that could get a contestant sent home on other singing shows like American Idol, but like I said, The Masked Singer ain’t like other singing shows. And this performance still had a-peel. “I forgot half my lyrics, but I was having time of life, forgetting about the troubles,” said the thick-skinned performer, who “came here to have nothing but the ultimate fun.”

The clues: This party dude wears a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and a blue collar; he suffers from a lot of hangovers; and this ain’t his first rodeo. “I’m still here after all these years,” he proclaimed, mentioning that he’s gone through “quite a few tough times” in his life. Visual clues include the old-school L.A. area code 213 and a long-tongued green cobra that looked a lot like a certain Poison album cover.

Judges’ guesses: Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Ed Helms, Erik Estrada, Billy Bob Thornton.

My guess: You guys, this is totally Bret Michaels — occasional country singer, frequent partier, lifelong diabetic, brain trauma survivor, and friend of the Cyrus family. Everything adds up. And it adds up to nothing but a good time — um, I mean, nothing but the ultimate fun!

The Frog, “In Da Club”

This phunky amphibian partied like it was his birthday, with his jazzy mambo remake of Fiddy’s hip-hoppity club banger.

The clues: Several clues last week implied that this web star (heh) might be an Olympic athlete. But this week, there were references to basketball, toy soldiers, Prince, “Fame,” and the letters “CSI.” The Frog also started his career at an early age, as a wee tadpole.

Judges’ guesses: Soulja Boy, Alfonso Ribero, Kevin Hart, Omarion.

My guess: I hopped from clue to clue last week, but now I think it’s Bow Wow, the artist formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow — frenemy of 50 Cent, collaborator of Soulja Boy, star of CSI: Cyber, and the man behind the songs “Basketball” and “Prince of Darkness” and the album The Price of Fame. And the “106” clue from last week is clearly a reference to Bow Wow’s tenure as host of BET’s 106 & Park.

The Taco, “Bossa Nova Baby”

The Taco took the show straight to Margaritaville with this red-hot performance, as he totally broke out of his shell. He was full of beans!

The clues: Last week, we had visual hints like VHS tapes, an anchor, and a trolley car. This week, this mystery Mexican dish said he “used to be a bit of a hothead” until he met the love of his life, “the most stunning taco in the galaxy.” We also got a glimpse of a creepy-crawly toupee.

Judges’ guesses: Harry Connick Jr., Seth MacFarlane, Ted Danson, Alec Baldwin.

My guess: I still think it’s the recently remarried, possibly balding Bob Saget. The videotapes are a nod to America’s Funniest Home Videos, and the trolley and ship anchor are Full House references (the show take place in San Francisco, and Saget’s character, Danny, was a news anchor; he also shouted “news update!” this week). Yes, Saget has denied that he is the Taco, claiming that if he were to ever compete on this show, he’d be a burrito. But he has also deleted that tweet, so I believe the Full House star is still in the casa.

The Kitty, “Mercy”

The foxy feline’s lovely performance of a Brett Young ballad had judge Robin Thicke declaring her the pick of the Season 3 litter — though he noted that she seemed “new to this experience.” What, new to the experience of giving theatrical performances while trussed up as a sexy singing bipedal cat? OK, I guess that rules out Cats starlet Taylor Swift once and for all, then.

The clues: Last week offered visual references to roses, wizards, and pirates. This week, this self-described “bookworm” revealed that she used to write her own sci-fi books as a kid, and she mentioned her “modern family” and love of sewing (one of her onscreen seamstress creations was a red riding hood).

Judges’ guesses: Millie Bobby Brown, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Hyland. (“They named every celebrity but Grumpy Cat,” joked Nick. Um, not cool: Grumpy is dead! Too soon, Nick, too soon.)

My guess: Last week, I thought it might be Kate Bosworth, who, like the Kitty, has heterochromatic eyes. But now I am convinced it’s another actress, Harry Potter star Emma Watson. Besides the obvious wizard clue, and the fact that her famous character Hermione morphed into a cat in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Emma is an avid reader who likes to sew, and Modern Family star Noah Gould apparently has a crush on her. The rose clue could relate to her role in Beauty and the Beast. Remember, Emma sang in that film — and she sounded purrfect. Oh, and here’s a photo of her in a Little Red Riding Hood outfit.