Leslie Jordan Makes Final, Posthumous Performance of ‘Masked Singer’: ‘We Can Feel Your Love From Above’

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The masked singer is usually a light-hearted, escapist show, and Wednesday’s Hall of Fame Night episode certainly had its wacky moments — like when a purple bridezilla Barney wearing a wide, possibly fake British brogue sang a Smash Mouth song, or when guest judge Joel McHale predicted that the Venus Fly Trap returned disgraced contestant Mickey “The Gremlin” Rourke.

But the entire episode was bittersweet, due to the presence of another guest judge and a member of the Silver TBEN Hall of Fame: Leslie Jordan.

Sweet Leslie, an old friend of the show, died in a car accident on October 24; in that time, The masked singer released a heartbroken statement that read: “We are shocked and devastated by today’s tragic passing of Leslie Jordan. Leslie carried an infectious exuberance, an indelible sense of humor and left us with countless memories that will last forever. We extend our deepest condolences to Leslie’s family, friends and fans.”

But before that tragedy, Leslie recorded one last Masked Singer episode, sitting in — along with McHale — before regular judge Ken Jeong, who had Covid at the time.

Leslie Jordan makes a grand entrance on his last "The Masked Singer"  episode, which aired 16 days after his tragic death.  (Photos: Fox)

Leslie Jordan makes a grand entrance in his final episode of ‘The Masked Singer’, which aired 16 days after his tragic death. (Photos: TBEN)

“I rarely get invited back anywhere, so it’s exciting!” Leslie joked about Wednesday’s episode. And the entire cast certainly seemed excited to see Leslie back on set. After he paraded out, he received the heroic welcome he deserved, with judge Robin Thicke and host Nick Cannon giving him huge hugs and host Nick speaking on behalf of all of America as he exclaimed, “i love this man!”

Ken, explaining his absence… The masked singer this week too tweeted“This is our dear friend Leslie Jordan’s last appearance on the show, and we dedicate this episode in his honor. [Heart] you Leslie. We can feel your love from above.”

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Robin Thicke welcomes Leslie Jordan back in "The Masked Singer"  with a big hug.  (Photo: Fox)

Robin Thicke welcomes Leslie Jordan back to ‘The Masked Singer’ with a big hug. (Photo: TBEN)

It was incredibly emotional to see Leslie hanging out behind the judges table one last time and taking on the standard Ken role making a bunch of wildly incorrect guesses (although no one booed Leslie, of course!). And viewers especially felt all the feelings towards the end of the evening, when the series paid tribute with an In Memoriam reel from the biggest Emmy winner. Masked Singer hits, including that time in Season 6 when he cutely punked the cast by disguising himself as the Soft Serve.

No mystery celebrity could ever compare this season to the sweet Soft Serve, of course, but Wednesday introduced the latest batch of cosplaying contestants for Season 8 — with two Bracket C singers heading home before the hour was up. The first to get the boot was the Small shop full of horrors—like Venus Fly Trap (rate Nicole Scherzinger’s favorite costume of the season so far), a surprisingly solid rendition of the Temptations’ “Get Ready,” despite clearly not being a professional singer. The judges all found out he was an athlete, probably a boxer – Leslie thought this was Mike Tyson – but after the panel grilled him for more clues (ahem), only Robin made the right guess from George Foreman.

“I think this is the loudest reaction from the audience we’ve ever had to this show,” Nicole gasped as the audience went wild for America’s favorite grill master.

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“It was a lot of fun. Suddenly I want to go into the record industry!” Foreman said as he thought about his assignment Masked Singer experience. “I need a hit now!”

So it was a TKO for this one notably George, but another rhinestone cowboy with that first name, also known as the Gopher, at least lasted another round.

The Isley Brothers’ groovy, vibey cover of the Gopher’s “It’s Your Thing” was enough to get him in the ring with the night’s other surviving contestant, the Bride, for an “All-Star” battle royale — accompanied from his prince-collaborator girlfriend Sheila E. on live drums! Leslie amusedly thought this was Flavor Flav or Lil Nas X; Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg almost guessed right when she thought the Gopher was Bootsy Collins; and Robin even thought this was Sly Stone for a moment. But eventually Robin picked up the all-too-obvious clues about “monsters” and “dogs” and realized that this was Bootsy’s Parliament-Funkadelic colleague, George Clinton. (Why Clinton was dressed as the Gopher and not, say, the Mothership Alien, the Flash Light or the Atomic Dog, I don’t know.)

“Your music has inspired so many of us, and continues to do so,” Robin gushed. “That’s the thing: When you’re an original, from your stage show to the music that comes out of the speakers on its own, nothing else feels and sounds like that.”

“I’m so glad Ken is missing because now I can say I was in the room with you,” Joel said to both Georges.

So it was time for the Gopher and Venus Fly Trap to give up the funk, which meant Season 8 had a new reigning queen — or king, as the bride, who sang “Shut Up and Dance” from Walk the Moon and said he was “bringing back Tyrannosaurus Rexy, baby,” turned out to be a man. So now it’s time to go through the clues…

At first I thought this self-proclaimed “action hero” was Axl Rose, for several reasons: a true visual cue to a rose, a “lust to destroy things”, a life “on the road sold out arenas”, a “rough personality “, an “infamous” reputation for being “in one of the messiest feuds,” and a photo of a snake that may or may not be a reference to Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience” video. I also thought that the wedding dress could have been a nod to GNR’s epic “November Rain” video, but alas, this didn’t sound like Axl at all, and I just can’t imagine him signing up for this show anyway.

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So, on closer inspection and inspection, I think the mentions of ‘feuds’, ‘destroy’ and ‘action hero’ are obvious tips for rocking wrestler Chris Jericho, who is the frontman of heavy metal band Fozzy. The Bride was a lot like Chris, especially in his second song where he fought the Gopher, Smash Mouth’s “All-Star.”

But here are some other possibilities: The visual cue of a globe with a crown could mean that the bride Brian May of News from the world band Queen, or, if that English accent is indeed fake, Van Halen’s “Top of the World” belter Sammy Hagar. And finally, based on the screeching vocals, shuffling gait, affable personality and general body language, this could be AC/DC’s Northern Englishman Brian Johnson, who temporarily replaced Axl Rose in the AC/DC lineup.

Whoever it is, the bride “sounds like a real rock star,” as Jenny confirmed. And next week, he’ll be back for another try against two new contestants… while Leslie Jordan will forever remain in the hearts of viewers.

"The masked singer"  dedicates the November 9, 2022 episode to the late Leslie Jordan.  (Photo: Fox)

‘The Masked Singer’ dedicates the November 9, 2022 episode to the late Leslie Jordan. (Photo: TBEN)

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