SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 7, Episode 2, of “The Masked Singer,” “Masks at Dawn — Round 1,” which aired March 15 on Fox.
Well, this is awkward timing. Joe Buck was the latest celebrity to be revealed on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” — on the same day that Buck also announced that he was splitting from Fox Sports and moving to ESPN. Buck was revealed as the Ram, a clue in itself since obviously the Los Angeles Rams just won most important football game of them all, the Super Bowl.
Buck wasn’t available to talk to press about the episode, and it’s clear why: News that he and Troy Aikman had ankled to take the “Monday Night Football” gig at ESPN was seen as a tremendous blow to Fox.
ESPN has signed the two main figures behind Fox Sports’ football presentations, Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, in a bid to strengthen the main “MNF” booth. The deal, which has been anticipated for several days, will put two of sports’ most-watched game-day figures at the helm of ESPN’s signature offering.
As Variety reported earlier on Wednesday, Buck, who has been with Fox Sports for years calling both football and baseball, still had time left on his contract. The exit of the pair “opens a major hole in Fox’s sports talent lineup,” Brian Steinberg wrote.
Even Buck’s voiceover as the Ram now seems prescient: “Tonight I’m going to be blazing my own trail,” he said. “And people better get out of the way!” Now, apparently Buck’s final appearance on Fox may be “The Masked Singer.”
For this week’s performance, Buck as the Ram sang “Learn to Fly,” by Foo Fighters. The previous week he sang “I Want You to Want Me,” by Cheap Trick.
In the first episode, Buck hinted in his voiceover that “my entire life, I’ve heard boos, I’ve heard cheers, but I’m used to telling stories under these lights and I’ve worked my whole life to get to where I am today.” And the clue package was so chock full of football references that the panel focused on gridiron guesses like Jim Harbaugh, Matthew Stafford and Peyton Manning.
Wednesday night’s episode featured a “megaclue” that was an Emmy envelope. “I’m going to add this to my collection,” Buck, in costume, said. And Kate Hudson was seen in a pre-taped piece rooting the Ram on.
The Ram and Firefly were the two singers with the least amount of votes from the audience. That put the two into a “duel” (after Firefly stormed off the stage). The Ram kicked it off with “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” by John Denver, followed by Firefly with “God is a Woman,” by Ariana Grande.
Robin Thicke and guest panelist Eric Stonestreet, the host of Fox’s new “Domino Masters,” got it right with Buck as the Ram. Ken Jeong thought it was Jason Sudeikis. Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg guessed Jason Biggs and Nicole Scherzinger went with Kelly Slater.
Joe Buck, as the Ram, joins the roster of unmasked celebrities that also includes Duff Goldman as McTerrier.
“The Masked Singer” entered Season 7 with 15 contestants, who have been divided into “The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly.” This season’s costumes include THE GOOD: Ringmaster, Armadillo, McTerrier, Firefly, Frog Prince; THE BAD: Hydra, Ram, Jack in the Box, Cyclops, Queen Cobra; THE CUDDLY: Baby Mammoth, Thingamabob, Lemur, Space Bunny, Miss Teddy.
The Season 7 contestants boast a combined 112 film appearances, 15 Grammy Nominations, eight Emmy Nominations, seven Super Bowl Performances, two Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars and two World Records.
In another change, the show’s panelists don’t appear to be competing for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy has won two times, but Scherzinger won last season) this season.
Here were the contestants and their performances on night two:
Firefly (“Team Good”)
Song: “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” by Michael Jackson
Megaclue: Pharrell Williams: “I mean, Pharrell is one of the major keys of my career.”
Voiceover: “In this business, the show must go on. After last week, I had so much pressure on my shoulders. I’m the only member of Team Good left this round, and I wanted to make them proud.”
Panel guesses: Aisha Tyler, Keisha Cole, Lauryn Hill
Previous song: “Ain’t Nobody,” by Chaka Khan [interrupted by coughing fit in first try]
Previous panel guesses: Alicia Keys, Monica, Aisha Tyler
Cyclops (“Team Bad”)
Song: “Suspicious Minds,” by Elvis Presley
Megaclue: Meteroite that crashed down to Earth in 1988. “Legend has it that this meteorite was found in a nook in Ken’s backyard from a galaxy far, far away.”
Voiceover: “Tonight I’m going to show the panel another side of my bad self.”
Panel guesses: Chris Pratt, John Lithgow, Rob Thomas
Previous song: “My Sacrifice,” by Creed
Previous panel guesses: William Zabka, Danny McBride, Rob Dyrdek
Thingamabob (“Team Cuddly”)
Song: “Perfect,” by Ed Sheeran
Megaclue: Shields. “I left my trident backstage. But I still wanted to rock these shields to show America I’m ready to battle.”
Voiceover: “I knew it was game time opening up the season, and I rocked it. A lot of people think I’m big and scary, but tonight I’m going to show my cuddly side.”
Panel guesses: Dwayne Johnson, Omar Benson Miller, Jason Momoa
Previous song: “Wanted Dead or Alive,” by Bon Jovi
Previous panel guesses: James Hetfield, Chris Jericho, Terrell Owens