SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 5, Episode 12 of “The Masked Singer,” which aired May 19 on Fox.
In the end, perhaps it was Omarion’s previous career as a professional rollerblader that gave him away. Omarion was the latest celebrity to be revealed on “The Masked Singer,” during Wednesday night’s semifinals episode. (Scroll down to watch his unmasking.)
Omarion was the Yeti, whose skill rollerblading on stage while singing under a heavy costume had impressed the show’s panelists.
“I was able to reveal my hidden talent, which is rollerblading,” the singer told Variety. “A lot of people don’t know, early on before I was a musician, I was a professional rollerblader… I really attribute that aspect in my life to being a fearless kid. I was on the 12 foot halfpipe. So it was really cool to show my music and my hidden talent at the same time. It was a game changer, no one had ever performed with rollerblades on ‘The Masked Singer.’”
Among panelists, Robin Thicke was right from the very beginning with Omarion. Nicole Scherzinger thought it was Mario, while Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg guessed Ne-Yo. Ken Jeong went with Justin Bieber. Guest panelist Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish named Sisqo.
Omarion was surprised at how quickly Thicke figured out it was him: “From the start! I was really surprised because there has really been only one interaction that him and myself have had,” he said. “I was surprised he recognized my energy signature like that, especially having that suit on. I was like, dang, Robin got me already!”
Previous episodes had the panelists guessing Ray J, Justin Bieber, Taran Killam, Todrick Hall, Justin Timberlake, Mario, Jason Derulo, Vin Diesel, Trey Songz, Miguel, Channing Tatum, Twista and Ne-Yo.
Omarion performed “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang for his final song; before that, he sang “If It Isn’t Love,” by New Edition; “Lonely,” by Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco; “It Takes Two,” by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock; and “Bless the Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts.
“It’s exciting and nerve wracking at the same time,” Omarion said of the experience. “I will say, my favorite song to sing was ‘Lonely’ by Justin Bieber. It was the most current song that I performed.”
Omarion said he first became aware of the show because of his mother and aunt: “They’re avid TV watchers of all these amazing shows and I was called when T-Pain [Season 1],” he said. “And then my good friend Bow Wow, I watched him on the show. I was thinking to myself, if the opportunity ever arises, would I do it? And I’m like, of course. I was looking at it as a challenge. I’m still looking for growth. I’m usually the game for all challenges.”
Omarion said he was drawn to the Yeti costume, although it came with some challenges. “If you want America to fall in love with you, you gotta be adorable,” he said. “But when I first saw the costume, I was like, I’m not sure. I put the costume on, it was really restrictive. And it was the heaviest suit on the show, at 60 pounds.”
But Omarion began doing research on the Yeti, and he felt a kinship with it: “The Yeti doesn’t come out and there’s only a few people that have seen the Yeti,” he said. “Early on in my career, being influenced by the artists of that time, mystique was very important. Unlike now, where you can just go to social media and found out what somebody was eating yesterday. So the Yeti kind of has this mystique about him. You don’t know too much about him. I felt connected with that.”
Also, he noted that one of his hit songs is “Ice Box.” “The Yeti coming out of the snow, ‘Ice Box,’ I was like, OK this is clever. I was pretty happy that my character and my personality align with the Yeti.”
Next up, Omarion performs the lead track of CNN’s upcoming documentary “Dreamland: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street,” from LeBron James’ SpringHill, which airs May 31. The song, “We Will Never Forget,” also features Lalah Hathaway and Kierra Sheard. Also on the way is a new album, “Full Circle,” as well as a book with the same title. And he’ll return to touring with Bow Wow and Soulja Boy in October.
“My tank is on full,” he said.
Omarion as the Yeti joined previously unmasked celebrities Hanson (Russian Dolls), Tyrese Gibson (Robopine), Bobby Brown (Crab), Tamera Mowry (Seashell), Mark McGrath (Orca), Nick Cannon (Bulldog), Logan Paul (Grandpa Monster), Danny Trejo (as Raccoon), Caitlyn Jenner (as Phoenix) and Kermit the Frog (as Snail).
Also in the episode: unmasked was celebrity trickster “Cluedle-Doo,” who had been offering additional hints about each contestant. It turned out to be Donnie Wahlberg, panelist Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg’s husband.
For the semi-finals, Cluedle-Doo came out and performed “Return of the Mack,” by Mack Morrison. Jeong guessed it was Kevin James, which Rucker agreed with. Thicke and Scherzinger went with Jamie Foxx, while McCarthy Wahlberg named Akon. Wait, what? Was she playing along, or did she really not know her husband’s voice?
The Season 5 contestants boast a combined 26 Grammy nominations, nine multi-platinum singles, four Academy Award nominations, three Super Bowl appearances, six gold medals and two world records.
The show’s panelists are also once competing for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy won last time). Jeong and McCarthy Wahlberg each had two points heading into this episode.
Thicke’s first impression was right: Omarion. Scherzinger’s initial guess was Jason DeRulo, McCarthy Wahlberg initially went with Mario and Jeong’s first pick was Justin Bieber. Thicke picked up his first point, setting up a three-way tie heading into the finale.
Here are the remaining contestants and what they performed on Wednesday’s episode, “Semifinals”:
Song: “Tequila,” by Dan + Shay
Black Swan’s connection: Robin Thicke. “I’m such a huge fan, I love your music, I even love your dad jokes. It was great bumping into you at that after party.”
Panel guesses: Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Bjork, Alanis Morissette, Carly Rae Jepsen
Previous songs: “Barracuda,” by Heart; “In My Blood,” by Shawn Mendes; “How Will I Know,” by Whitney Houston, “Use Somebody,” by Kings of Leon; “Do I Do,” by Stevie Wonder; “Thinking Out Loud,” by Ed Sheeran
Previous panel guesses: Anya Taylor-Joy, Camilla Cabello, Leona Lewis, Demi Lovato, Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee Simpson, Emily Osment, Victoria Justice, Brenda Song, Kesha, Becky G, JoJo, Christina Milian, Mandy Moore, Dua Lipa, Normani
Song: “Oh Boy,” by Cam’ron feat. Juelz Santana
Chameleon’s connection: Darius Rucker. “We shared the stage and Phoenix was there. And the corn dogs were delicious.” (with a snake)
Panel guesses: Larry Fitzgerald, Riff Raff, 2 Chainz
Previous songs: “Ride Wit Me,” by Nelly; “21 Questions,” 50 Cent feat. Nate Dogg; “Hip Hop,” by Dead Prez; “Regulate,” by Warren G feat. Nate Dogg; “Put Your Hand Where My Eyes Could See,” by Busta Rhymes; “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams
Previous panel guesses: Dwight Howard, Redfoo, Nick Cannon, Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, 2 Chainz, Waka Flocka Flame, Wiz Khalifa, Machine Gun Kelly, Kyrie Irving, G-Eazy, Young Thug, Snoop Dogg, Blake Griffin
Song: “Bruises,” by Lewis Capaldi
Piglet’s connection: Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg. “I’ll always go all in for you, especially for charity.” (with a pokerchip)
Panel guesses: Drew Lachey, Joel Madden, Tim McGraw
Previous songs: “Speechless,” by Dan + Shay; “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah),” by Andy Grammer, “7 Years,” by Lukas Graham, “The Pretender,” by Foo Fighters; “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” by Phil Collins; “Superstition,” by Stevie Wonder, with operatic open
Previous panel guesses: Adam Lambert, Charlie Puth, JC Chavez, Austin Mahone, Jonathan Knight, Zayn Malik, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, Lance Bass, Chris Pine, Adam Levine, Eli or Peyton Manning, Ian Somerhalder, Taylor Lautner, Brian Littrell, Nick Lachey, Justin Timberlake, Jeremy Renner
Here is the video of Yeti’s unmasking: