'The Masked Singer' Cupcake is sweet-voiced, Grammy-winning girl-group legend

The Masked Singer judges were so excited, jumping for their love, and doing the Neutron Dance on Wednesday, when at the end of the night’s Group B semifinals episode the Cupcake was revealed to be – as Nicole Scherzinger predicted — the legendary Ruth Pointer, of the Pointer Sisters.

But it turned out Ruth hadn’t planned to go it alone this Masked Singer season. She was originally supposed to perform with the other surviving Pointer Sister, Anita, but, as she stoically told host Nick Cannon, “Anita's having some health issues that we couldn't avoid, so I ended up doing it by myself.”

Ruth then addressed the camera to send a sweet, sugary message to her much-missed sibling: “Sweetheart, I did what I came to do, and I love you and can't wait to get home and support you.”

“I just wanna say, I'm such a huge fan. It's such an honor and pleasure to have you,” said judge Robin Thicke, clearly moved by Ruth’s show-must-go-on attitude.

It’s hard to believe that a Grammy-winning diva like Ruth Pointer didn’t make it to this season’s finale, but she does now find herself in an elite Masked Singer group that bafflingly includes premature eliminees like Toni Braxton, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, and Dionne Warwick. As for the Group B celebrity cosplayers that did advance to the next round – including a new wild card, the Caterpillar – let’s check out their semifinals performances, and keep the guessing game going.

Think you know the Masked Singer? Test your at-home trivia chops in augmented reality with a round of 'Who's Behind the Mask?'

The Banana Split, “Cry Me a River”

With the banana playing piano, the ice cream took the stage, Fabulous Baker Boys-style, really vamping it up like a classic torch singer on this Great American Songbook classic. The ice cream was serving! “Banana Split did not come to play,” gasped Nicole.

The clues: We saw a cookbook and baking utensils, a Red Cross logo, a globe, and the words “nothing,” “fantasy,” and “reality.” They also love to “have a ball.” Last time they were on the show, they revealed that they are occasional collaborators, and a key visual clue was a silver medal.

Judges’ guesses: Craig Robinson & Ashley Tisdale, Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes, Sara Bareilles & Josh Groban.

My guess: I still think this is “reality” star Katharine McPhee (that silver medal could represent her second-place finish on American Idol) and her producer husband David Foster, who cowrote Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” has won a Golden Globe, and is a Red Cross supporter. The theatrical voice does sound like Kat’s, and the fact that the banana plays piano (as he has in many home performance videos with Katharine) but hasn’t yet sung himself indicates he’s more of a behind-the-scenes type.

The Queen of Hearts, “La Vie en Rose”

This was a magnifique rendition of the Edith Piaf torch song that Robin declared “by far one of the best vocal performance in six seasons on this show.” It was also the first time a Masked Singer contestant sang in French! Clearly this contestant is worldly and cultured, as well as a professional singer by trade.

The clues: She is single and currently dating, and she loves riding motorcycles and “roasting.” She also has a thick country accent when speaking, although that may not be her real voice. In the past she mentioned leaving home at a young age and never looking back after a rough childhood, and visual clues included the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz and a framed photo of Hilary Swank with the caption “BFF.”

Judges’ guesses: Ireland Baldwin, Ashley Judd, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus.

My guess: Last time, I thought this was Mariska Hartigay, who’s known for being Hilary’s best friend — but I don’t think Mariska can sing like this. I am switching my guess to Jewel, who is also friends with Hilary, left her Alaskan home at a young age, is single, loves to ride motorcycles, has released a country album, played Dorothy in the 1995 television special The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True, and did a great job roasting Rob Lowe. Plus, her costume looks like a giant gemstone (i.e., a jewel), and a pre-season clue leaked on the internet linked the Queen of Hearts to Sean Penn, who Jewel dated in the early ‘90s. Apparently Jewel was meant for this show!

The Mallard, “My House”

This was a fun and passably in-tune performance, but it was obvious that this is no professional singer or rapper. Still this was. ducking good attempt at a Flo Rida hit that he freely admitted was out of his comfort zone.

The clues: He met his supportive wife in the 4th grade, and a scene of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard drinking sweet tea indicated he is from the South. He also has dimples and is “extremely hairy.” Past clues have included a platinum album, best-selling book, framed photo of Chris Pratt, deer figurine, and cowboy boot.

Judges’ guesses: Freddie Prinze Jr., Nick Offerman, Jon Bon Jovi, Mario Lopez

My guess: This is for sure dimpledDuck Dynasty personality Willie Robertson, who met his wife Korie in the fourth grade, is buddies with Chris Pratt, has written several books, and scored a platinum album with Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas. Plus, he’s dressed as a duck! It main seem to obvious, but sometimes the obvious guess is the right one.

The Caterpillar, “If I Were a Boy”

Season 6’s newest wild card had “one of the coolest costumes ever seen on this show,” according to Nick, and his tender, honey-toned performance of Beyoncé’s gender-flipped ballad was truly magical. “You’ve touched my heartstrings,” sighed Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, who described this as a “frontrunner performance.” Still, I do kind of wish he’d done “The Caterpillar” by the Cure. Maybe he can do that next time, because it’s clear this performance has legs and will stick around for a while.

The clues: His entire life “has been all about metamorphosis” (hence the costume choice), and he left home at a young age and a lonely and troubled childhood, after which he ended up homeless and even in jail for a while. Visual clues included the Great Lakes and basketball.

Judges’ guesses: Howie Dorough, Aaron Carter, AJ McLean.

My guess: Aaron Carter, who had a hit with the basketball-themed "That's How I Beat Shaq" and has definitely has his share of legal woes, is a decent guess. He's also a better singer than most people realize: his 2018 album Love was actually pretty legit. I definitely think this is someone from the boy band universe. But I need to hear more from him to make a confident guess.

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