‘Wonder Park’ Film Review: Original Animated Film Thrillingly Celebrates Youthful Imagination

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If there’s one thing kids like, it’s amusement parks. If there’s two things, it’s amusement parks and animated movies. And if there’s three things, it’s amusement parks, animated movies and a surprisingly mature message about not letting debilitating mental health issues get in the way of your creativity. At least, that’s what can be gleaned from “Wonder Park,” a clumsy but amiable kids movie with a streak of sincerity that stretches further than the Wonder Park itself.

“Wonder Park” stars Brianna Denski as June, a young girl who spends her off hours — which seems to be most hours — concocting an elaborate, fictional amusement park with her mom, voiced by Jennifer Garner. (Because, in movies, Jennifer Garner is practically everyone’s mom.) Their creation, Wonder Park, is a gigantic feast for the senses, with amusingly stomach-churning rides that literally toss you across the park, or come to life underneath you and fly around magically.

June and her mother fill the house with clockwork miniatures and complicated blueprints, but then her mom gets deathly ill and has to go away to a special hospital. (Never mind what she’s got, how curable it is, or how far away she’s going.) So June decides to put away all her amusing things and instead devote every waking minute to taking care of her dad (Matthew Broderick), because in her head he’s more accident-prone than Wile E. Coyote.

Watch Video: ‘Wonder Park’: A Magical World Comes Back to Life in First Teaser

Eventually, June is so far down this compulsive rabbit hole that she runs away from her summer camp to head back home and stop dad from (presumably) burning the whole house down, but along the way she wanders into the real-life Wonder Park, populated by all the mascots she invented with her mom, like responsible warthog Greta (Mila Kunis), safety inspector porcupine Steve (John Oliver), technician beavers Gus (Kenan Thompson) and Cooper (Ken Jeong), and sleepy greeter bear Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell).

That’s a heck of a lot of legwork to get to the film’s core premise — a little girl wandering into her own fantasy land — only to find that it’s been overrun by her adult anxieties run amok. The whole park has been infested with Chimpanzombies who want to destroy every monument to June’s relationship with her mother, just like June wanted to throw Wonder Park away in a fit of maladaptive grief. Now it’s up to June and her animal friends to overcome their fears and to find a way to save the park and, by extension, June’s creative spirit.

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“Wonder Park” is hardly the first movie to explore the unfortunate side-effects that growing up can sometimes have on someone’s psyche, but it’s nowhere near as disturbing as “Return to Oz” nor nearly as trite as “Christopher Robin.” Because the story in “Wonder Park” is original, the filmmakers don’t need to subvert any beloved childhood icons in order to tell it. It takes longer to set up the characters and their world, but once we’re there, we can enjoy them without any cognitive disconnect. This is simply “Wonder Park,” and “Wonder Park” is an enjoyable kids flick with decent intentions and some delightful imagery.

Indeed, the park itself is a genuine treat. The various rides and lands, many of which would be physically impossible to re-create on even the most unlimited budget, are sure to fire up the imagination of young audiences. The filmmakers seem to have a genuine respect for the artists who spend their whole lives developing complex, richly themed attractions that excite the mind, and they certainly had fun coming up with wild new examples to surreptitiously enjoy on-screen.

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The characters are simplistic creations, mostly boiling down to simple character traits, but for the most part they’re all personified individual aspects of June’s own personality, so it’s hard to complain. In particular, Wonder Park’s lead designer Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz) hits close to home for June. He’s spent his whole career assuming that June’s mother’s voice was his voice of inspiration, and without it, he thinks he can never create again. To convince him to start creating again, June will have to convince herself to start creating again.

The world of “Wonder Park” is thrilling, and the message is unusual for a kids movie, but admirable. It’s the clutter that gets in the way of the movie’s excellence. The complicated first act stops more than it starts, and gets tiresome after a while, and the bizarrely complicated rules of Wonder Park itself — which involve a magic pen, magic whispers and a magic delegation of authority — distract from the film’s simple fantasy of visiting the best amusement park ever, and from the simple message about the importance of staying motivated in the wake of tragedy, depression, grief and loneliness.

Instead of an instant classic, we get a noble effort. We need more of those. This is a bright and earnest attempt to craft an on-screen fantasy for modern kids, with a practical moral that anyone could appreciate.



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Pug Almost Passes Out Playing Ellen DeGeneres’ Latest ‘Masked Singer’ Ripoff (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Clearly Ellen DeGeneres didn’t put as much thought into her “Masked Dancer” ripoff of Fox’s show “The Masked Singer” as they did with their costumes … like how someone hopes to breathe in those ridiculous masks.

“Since we haven’t been sued yet,” DeGeneres said on Monday, she decided to play another round “The Masked Dancer,” bringing out “Masked Singer” judge Ken Jeong and DJ tWitch to help guess who was disguised as a Pug wearing a Two Face suit. Yes, like the Batman villain.

The performance had the mystery guest gasping for air and quite literally panting on the ground after some goofy gyrating and even a famous move popularized by Curly on “The Three Stooges.” The dancer found themselves unable to breathe after the mouth to the rubber pug mask had closed up. Jeong then asked him, “What’s the one thing you can’t live without?”

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“Apparently oxygen. These are good questions,” the dancer said. “You know how sometimes you say ‘yes,’ and you think it’s going to be fun?”

For the “clues,” the dancer described himself in three words as “amazing, brilliant, humble,” and that if he could be an insect he’d be a moth because he likes sweaters, plus that he came from a stand-up comedy background.

The last time Ellen and tWitch played the game, they were stumped. But the stand-up comedy clue allowed tWitch to correctly guess that the Pug was none other than … Howie Mandel.

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“It’s either Mitch McConnell or Dogg the Bounty Hunter,” Jeong joked. “I’ve narrowed it down to either Chance the Rapper or Flo from that Progressive ad,” DeGeneres chimed in.

Watch the clip via EllenTube above.

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Ken Jeong To Star In ‘The Emperor Of Malibu’ CBS Comedy Pilot From ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Author

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Crazy Rich Asians co-star Ken Jeong has been tapped as the lead of CBS’ multi-camera comedy pilot The Emperor of Malibu, from Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan, former 2 Broke Girls executive producer Michelle Nader and Warner Bros. TV.
In The …

Fox’s ‘Masked Singer’ Reveals Sixth Celebrity Masked Singer: And the Raven Is… (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Wednesday’s episode of “The Masked Singer.”)

Fox’s oddball, already-smash-hit celebrity singing game show “The Masked Singer” returned Wednesday, revealing at the end of its sixth episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” disguised from head to toe in an elaborate Raven costume — was none other than actress Ricki Lake.

This episode — which aired a week after Fox renewed the series for a second season — saw the returns of Raven, Peacock, Monster and Bee.

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After the contestants’ first group performance and individual performances, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke, along with the studio audience, to choose which member of the group was the “weakest performer,” who would then be eliminated and unmasked. And that ended up being poor Raven.

After the Raven was voted out, it was time for her to take off her mask and reveal herself to be the Emmy-winning talk-show host.

According to Fox, between all of the 12 celebrities competing on the first season of “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles.

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Now, we still don’t know the identities of Alien, Bee, Rabbit, Lion, Peacock and Monster — though we have learned Tori Spelling was UnicornMargaret Cho was PoodleTerry Bradshaw was DeerTommy Chong was Pineapple and Antonio Brown was Hippo.

Watch the reveal above and Lake’s performance below.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Fox’s ‘The Masked Singer’ Reveals Fifth Celebrity Masked Singer: And the Unicorn Is… (Video)

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Fox’s oddball, already-smash-hit celebrity singing game show “The Masked Singer” returned Wednesday, revealing at the end of its fifth episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed Icona Pop’s “I Love It” disguised from head to toe in an elaborate Unicorn costume — was none other than actress Tori Spelling.

This episode — which aired on the same day Fox renewed the series for a second season — saw the returns of Alien, Lion, Unicorn and Rabbit.

After the contestants’ first group performance and individual performances, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke, along with the studio audience, to choose which member of the group was the “weakest performer,” who would then be eliminated and unmasked. And that ended up being poor Unicorn.

Also Read: ‘The Masked Singer’: Alien, Rabbit, Lion and Unicorn Bless Us With Show’s First Group Performance (Exclusive Video)

After the Unicorn was voted out, it was time for her to take off her mask and reveal herself to be the “Beverly Hills, 90210” alum.

According to Fox, between all of the 12 celebrities competing on the first season of “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles.

Now, we still don’t know the identities of Raven, Alien, Bee, Rabbit, Lion, Peacock, and Monster — though we have learned Margaret Cho was PoodleTerry Bradshaw was DeerTommy Chong was Pineapple, and Antonio Brown was Hippo.

Watch the reveal above and Spelling’s performance below.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Fox is probably feeling on top of the world after giving its smash-hit freshman series, “The Masked Singer,” an early season two renewal today — and so are the show’s contestants.

In a clip from Wednesday’s episode, titled “Mix and Masks” — which is exclusive to TheWrap — Rabbit, Alien, Lion and Unicorn return to the oddball celebrity competition series to sing their hearts out in the show’s first-ever group performance.

The quartet — which is made up of two contestants from last week (Rabbit and Alien) and two from the week prior (Lion and Unicorn) — sing Imagine Dragons’ “On Top of the World” at the top of the show to cheering panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke.

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McCarthy is in awe, as she doesn’t even know how they manage to perform in those costumes.

According to Fox, between all of the celebrity competitors on the show, they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles. With each performance, the host, panelists, audience, viewers and even the other contestants are left guessing who is singing behind the mask.

Now, we still don’t know the identities of Raven, Alien, Bee, Rabbit, Lion, Peacock, Unicorn and Monster — though we have learned Margaret Cho was PoodleTerry Bradshaw was DeerTommy Chong was Pineapple, and Antonio Brown was Hippo.

Watch the clip above.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Fans of “The Masked Singer” have more “whosungit” mysteries coming their way, as Fox has renewed the hit freshman celebrity singing competition series for a second season, following its premiere earlier this month.

Based on a South Korean format, “The Masked Singer,” features famous contestants facing off against one another with one major twist: each singer is shrouded from head to toe in an elaborate costume, complete with a full face mask to conceal his or her identity.

Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke serve on the panel, playing “detective” alongside host Nick Cannon.

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The Jan. 2 series premiere of “The Masked Singer” posted TV’s greatest Live + 7 Day lift from Live + Same Day among unscripted debuts ever among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic (4.2 rating/17 share in L7, up +1.2 a point from L+SD) and total viewers (13.0 million in L7, up 3.6 million from L+SD).

“The response to ‘The Masked Singer’ has been fantastic and we are thrilled to bring it back for another season,” said Rob Wade, president, alternative entertainment and specials, Fox Broadcasting Company. “I am so happy to see a singing Peacock burst into pop culture! ‘The Masked Singer’ is unique, bold, original and embraces the DNA of all the best FOX unscripted shows. We look forward to Season Two being even more fun, weird and wonderful than the first.”

On tonight’s all-new episode, “Mix and Masks,” the series will shuffle up its roster, with Rabbit, Unicorn, Alien and Lion hitting the stage again to perform again with all-new clues. “The Masked Singer’s” special two-hour finale airs Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 8/7c.

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According to Fox, between all of the celebrity competitors on the show, they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles. With each performance, the host, panelists, audience, viewers and even the other contestants are left guessing who is singing behind the mask.

Produced by Endemol Shine North America, “The Masked Singer” was developed for the U.S. and is executive-produced by Craig Plestis (“Minute to Win It,” “The Winner Is”) of Smart Dog Media and Izzie Pick Ibarra (“Dancing with the Stars,” “Breaking Pointe”). Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing with the Stars,” “Grease: Live”) directs. Cannon serves as co-executive producer. The series is based on the South Korean format created by Mun Hwa Broadcasting Corp.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Fox’s oddball, already-smash-hit celebrity singing game show “The Masked Singer” returned Wednesday, revealing at the end of its fourth episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” disguised from head to toe in an elaborate Poodle costume — was none other than comedian Margaret Cho.

This episode saw the returns of Raven, Alien, Poodle, Bee and Rabbit. Each performed solo in succession, rather than in sing-offs, which was the format showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra told TheWrap the show would be following after Week 2

Next, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke and guest panelist Joel McHale, along with the studio audience, to choose which member of the group was the “weakest performer,” who would then be eliminated and unmasked. And that ended up being poor Poodle.

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Then came the fun part: the reveal of Poodle’s true identity.

After much debate among the panelists, with Thicke guessing Judge Judy, Scherzinger and McHale saying Jillian Michaels, McCarthy picking Kathy Griffin, and Jeong landing on Melissa Rivers, host Nick Cannon revealed the answer to their fourth “whosungit mystery” (Fox’s pun, not ours), by having Cho remove the Poodle mask. And clearly, they were all totally stumped.

Now, we still don’t know the identities of Raven, Alien, Bee and Rabbit, along with last week’s contestants Lion, Peacock, Unicorn and Monster — though we have learned Terry Bradshaw was DeerTommy Chong was Pineapple, and Antonio Brown was Hippo.

Also Read: Ratings: ‘The Masked Singer’ Almost Matches Last Week’s Numbers

According to Fox, between all of the 12 celebrities competing on the first season of “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles.

Watch the reveal above.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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‘The Masked Singer’: Ken Jeong Is VERY Confident He Knows Who Bee Is (Exclusive Video)

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Are you a fan of Fox’s new oddball celebrity competition series “The Masked Singer”? Can you not wait a few more hours until the fourth episode of the already-smash-hit airs to get more clues about the contestants’ true identities?

If so, TheWrap has you covered with an exclusive clip, in which panelist Ken Jeong may have just figured out who Bee is. Or at least he’s pretty confident he has.

In the video above, host Nick Cannon interviews the celeb — who is disguised from head to toe as the yellow-and-black insect in a very elaborate costume — to get some new details about the celeb’s life.

Also Read: Ratings: ‘The Masked Singer’ Almost Matches Last Week’s Numbers

“Bee, sting us with something,” Cannon says, to which the masked famous person responds, “Take me to court.”

This line seems to be enough to help Jeong create this theory about who Bee really is: “Maybe she was a member of a band, extricated from that band, and then they’re suing the band over the rights to use that name on the road.”

His statement gets an “ahh” from the audience and he starts “kinda freakin’ out” because he now seems pretty confident that Bee is a Supreme — possibly Diana Ross.

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Fellow panelists Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger are impressed by his guess, as Jeong declares, “I’m not that dumb!”

Watch TheWrap’s exclusive preview of Wednesday’s episode above.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Fox’s oddball, already-smash-hit celebrity singing game show “The Masked Singer” returned Wednesday, revealing at the end of its third episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed Florida Georgia Line’s “Get Your Shine On” disguised from head to toe in an elaborate Deer costume — was none other than football legend Terry Bradshaw.

This episode saw the return of Lion, Deer, Peacock, Unicorn and Monster. Each performed solo in succession this week, rather than in sing-offs, which was the format showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra told TheWrap the show would be following from here on out.

Next, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke and guest panelists Joel McHale, along with the studio audience, to choose which member of the group was the “weakest performer,” who would then be eliminated and unmasked. And that ended up being poor Deer.

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Then came the fun part: the reveal of Deer’s true identity.

After much debate among the panelists, with Thicke, McHale and Scherzinger guessing Bradshaw, McCarthy picking Peyton Manning, and Jeong landing on John Elway, Nick Cannon revealed the answer to their third “whosungit mystery” (Fox’s pun, not ours), by having Bradshaw remove the Deer mask.

The entire panel was convinced it was an athlete, with several proceeding clues to Deer’s identity being nods to the four Super Bowl titles Bradshaw won as quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Now, we still don’t know the identities of Lion, Peacock, Unicorn and Monster, along with last week’s contestants, Raven, Alien, Poodle, Bee and Rabbit — though we did find out Antonio Brown was Hippo and Tommy Chong is Pineapple.

According to Fox, between all of the 12 celebrities competing on the first season of “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles. (We now know Bradshaw accounted for that entire last category there.)

Watch the reveal above.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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(Warning: This post contains spoilers through Episode 102 of Fox’s “The Masked Singer”)

Are you one of the many U.S. viewers entranced by “The Masked Singer,” Fox’s new wacky celebrity singing competition series based on a popular South Korean format? If so, are you wondering how the rest of the already-smash-hit show’s nine-episode first season is going to work now that all 12 disguised contestants have made their debuts and two — poor Pineapple (Tommy Chong) and Hippo (Antonio Brown) — have been eliminated and unmasked?

You are? Great, because we have answers.

TheWrap spoke with “The Masked Singer” showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra earlier this week to get the lowdown on how this oddball “whosungit” (Fox’s pun, not ours) will work from here on out. And yes, you will be getting additional clues to work from while trying to figure out the identities of Raven, Alien, Poodle, Bee, Rabbit, Deer, Peacock, Monster, Unicorn and Lion.

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“Basically, the show moving forward you’ll see Group A again [the contestants from the premiere] in Show 3 and they will — essentially we give you a whole load of new clues,” Ibarra said. “They will perform individually, and the panel and the studio audience vote and the person that was not everybody’s favorite — the worst singer of that night, the worst performer of the night — will go home and be unmasked. And that format will follow on until the seventh show and on Show 7 we combine the cast essentially for the first time. So you’ll be down to six singers in Show 7 and they’ll be the remaining six from the series.”

Ibarra tells TheWrap there are a total of nine competition episodes, with one singer being unmasked every week, except for in Episode 8, which will see two singers get the ax. That leaves three singers appearing on the finale.

Now, we know you are wondering about more clues — and so were we — so here’s the deal with all that.

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“Yeah, there’s lots of different new clues,” Ibarra said. “I mean, one of the great things about the show when we were taping it was everybody was so convinced that they knew who somebody was — on the panel and the production crew as well — they’d go, ‘Oh, we all know who it is.’ And then a whole load of new clues come in and suddenly it throws your first guess completely out the window for somebody.”

“So we worked really, really hard on the clues,” she continued. “We had a whole team of people trying to create and craft the clues and the information we gave out and when we gave it out. There are things people may not know about some of the singers. You know, the clues have really been embedded everywhere and you have to kind of pay attention because a lot of the time you may not realize that’s a clue that’s just gotten past you, but they are there.”

Ibarra said the extra clues were essential “so the narrative can move forward” — obviously.

Also Read: Fox’s ‘Masked Singer’ Reveals Second Celebrity Masked Singer: And the Pineapple Is… (Video)

“We can’t just have the panel sit there and give clues in the first two shows and then expect everybody to stay engaged throughout the series,” she said. “So, you know, we had additional ways of giving clues. For example, in one of the episodes, the singers brought an object onto the stage from home that was a clue as to who they might be. So we were doing different things as we went along, adding new stuff all the time.”

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second episode of Fox’s “The Masked Singer”)

Fox’s oddball, already-smash-hit celebrity singing game show “The Masked Singer” returned Wednesday, revealing at the end of its second episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” disguised from head to toe in an elaborate anthropomorphic Pineapple costume — was none other than comedic legend Tommy Chong.

After three rounds of sing-offs in which studio audience members voted to determine the results, Alien lost to Rabbit, Pineapple lost to Raven, and Poodle lost to Bee. Next, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke to choose which member of the losing trio was the “weakest performer,” who would then be eliminated and unmasked. And that ended up being poor Pineapple.

Also Read: ‘Masked Singer’ Showrunner Tells Us About Closest Call They’ve Had (So Far) With an Early Identity Reveal

Then came the fun part: the reveal of Pineapple’s true identity.

After much debate among the panelists, with Thicke guessing Sugar Ray Leonard, McCarthy picking Chong, Jeong landing on Jimmy Buffett and Scherzinger saying Kid Rock, host Nick Cannon revealed the answer to their second “whosungit mystery” (his pun, not ours), by having Chong remove his mask, confirming McCarthy’s guess.

Earlier in the episode, a short segment featuring the Pineapple washing a car gave us a few clues as to who the masked singer really was, including: 1) he’s a pineapple because they are “fun, tropical and go well with ham,” 2) he went through some “dark times” and beat a “life-threatening disease,” 3) he’s an “OG” who has decided to “take things as they come,” 4) he’s been in the public eye for decades, but has “always dreamed of being a singer,” 5) he’s got some attachment to Michigan and 6) some reference to “pipe dreams” and a lot of smoke in the scene made the panelists think he “definitely smoked weed.”

Also Read: Fox’s ‘Masked Singer’ Sees Biggest Ever 3-Day Viewing Lift for a Reality Show Debut

Now, we still don’t know the identities of Raven, Alien, Poodle, Bee and Rabbit, along with last week’s contestants, Peacock, Deer, Lion, Monster and Unicorn — though we did find out Antonio Brown was Hippo.

According to Fox, between all of the celebrity competitors on “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles.

Watch the reveal above.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for last Wednesday’s premiere of “The Masked Singer”)

If you tuned in for the debut of Fox’s wacky new celebrity singing competition series, “The Masked Singer,” then you already know Antonio Brown is Hippo — but you don’t yet have confirmation on the identities of Deer, Peacock, Monster, Unicorn and Lion. (You also aren’t at all confused by the sentence we just wrote, as insane as it may have sounded.)

Rest assured, over the course of the show’s first season, you will learn who is donning those five disguises, along with the six new ones you’ll be introduced to tonight when the second episode of the already-hit game show (adapted from a popular South Korean format) airs.

Also Read: Fox’s ‘Masked Singer’ Sees Biggest Ever 3-Day Viewing Lift for a Reality Show Debut

But “Masked Singer” showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra tells TheWrap she is really hoping you don’t figure out who is who until host Nick Cannon unmasks the talent in front of panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke, seeing as they went to such great lengths to keep everything under wraps during filming.

Though that’s not to say there weren’t a few incidents that made her nervous.

“Yes, yes, there were a few close calls, actually,” Ibarra told TheWrap in an interview ahead of tonight’s episode. “There was a brilliant one — I won’t give away who it is, obviously — where the panel was very convinced they knew who one of the singers were, and then that singer turns up to rehearsal wearing denim, cutoff shorts and then therefore, basically, totally nixing the guess that the panel was convinced that person might be, just because of their skin color.”

Also Read: Ratings: ‘AGT – The Champions’ Debut Tops Last Week’s ‘Masked Singer’ Premiere in Viewers

“But we did manage to get the panel out of the rehearsal space,” the EP continued. “I don’t know that they actually saw. I don’t think that they did, but the rest of us were just all having a kind of meltdown as we went through production.”

Though a “meltdown” over something like that might seem extreme to you, it’s a little more understandable once you hear Ibarra explain how extreme the precautions were surrounding secrecy.

“Just so you know, the levels in which we went to to protect the identity of the singers was kind of FBI in my mind — it obviously wasn’t (laughs). But in my unscripted television mind it was. We never, ever, ever called anybody by their names. The singers themselves were ostracized to such a degree that they weren’t allowed to talk to anybody else on the set. They had offstage masks that they had to wear.”

Also Read: ‘The Masked Singer’: Just How Hippo-Sized Was the Premiere for Fox’s Bizarre Singing Competition?

Ibarra told us that she realized this new way of living (at least on set) might be difficult for some of the famous participants, so she wrote them a note to let them know she understood their (possible) pain.

“I sent all of them a letter before they started to say, ‘You’re not going to be treated in the way you are used to being treated by us, because our team don’t know who you are. So don’t get upset and don’t feel lonely, and ostracized, and on your own. And if you do need a hug at any point, please let me know. But essentially, nobody knows who you are, all they will call you by is your costume name.’”

“And I think for some of them that was great, and they loved it,” she added. “And other people found it really difficult to not have any kind of, I suppose, you know, reverence from everybody around them. So I think it was kind of an unusual experience for them.”

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The new year has its first smash-hit TV show — and it’s a weird one.

With a 3.0 Nielsen rating among adults 18-49, Wednesday’s launch of “The Masked Singer” — a celebrity singing game show adapted from a South Korean format — was not just Fox’s highest-rated unscripted debut in more than seven years, excluding post-NFL starts, but the highest-rated unscripted debut on any network in over seven years.

The last series to premiere higher in that genre was also a Fox imported singing competition, “The X Factor” (a 4.4 rating in the advertiser-coveted demographic).

Also Read: Fox’s ‘Masked Singer’ Premiere Reveals First Celebrity Masked Singer: And the Hippo Is… (Video)

Along with those impressive demo numbers, “The Masked Singer” scored an average of 9.4 million total viewers, according to “Live + Same Day” data from Nielsen.

The Nick Cannon-hosted series — which features famous people entering sing-offs while disguised from head to toe in elaborate costumes to be judged by a studio audience and panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke — was the top-rated unscripted broadcast over the past two seasons.

That means — with the 9 p.m. show’s above stated 3.0 rating, plus a 12 share — “The Masked Singer” beat the most recent season premieres of NBC’s “The Voice” by 45 percent (2.0/8), ABC’s “American Idol” revival by 26 percent (2.3/9), and NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” by 16 percent (2.5/11).

Also Read: Fans Think They’ve Got ‘Masked Singer’ Identities All Figured out Less Than a Day After Fox Premiere

It was so huge it actually handed its lead-in series highs in both adults 18-49 and total viewers. That’s called being a strong lead-out, and it’s how “Empire” used to help “Rosewood” on the same network on the same night. (Of course, the scripted music-biz drama couldn’t help “Rosewood” enough to not be canceled after just two seasons.)

Speaking of “Empire,” “The Masked Singer” was Fox’s highest-rated debut since the Lee Daniels-created drama premiered in January 2015, excluding post-Super Bowl launches.

The reveal that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was the Hippo (read the explanation here) also gave Fox a primetime-average win over ABC, CBS and NBC combined, with a 2.1 vs. a 2.0.

Also Read: Ratings: ‘The Masked Singer’ Reveals Huge Premiere Numbers for Fox

By the way, these big numbers aren’t even counting some major markets, like Milwaukee, Cleveland, Greensboro, Kansas City, San Diego and St. Louis, as Charter and a dozen Fox affiliates are currently locked in a nasty carriage-fee battle.

“The Masked Singer” was also the No. 1 most-social primetime program episode across all of television last night.

Now, before we wrap this up, let’s reveal how Fox stacked up against the other broadcast nets in Nielsen numbers, both last year and this season, before “The Masked Singer” entered our lives.

Also Read: Here Are 2018’s 15 Highest-Rated Broadcast Shows Among Millennials (Photos)

Below are the “most current” season-to-date primetime rankings, which count a week’s worth of delayed viewing where available.

Adult 18-49 Rating:
1. NBC: 2.1
2. Fox: 1.9
3. CBS: 1.4
4. ABC: 1.2

Total Viewers:
1. CBS: 8.9 million
2. NBC: 8.8 million
3. Fox: 6.7 million
4. ABC: 5.6 million

Also Read: Ratings: Fox’s ‘Lethal Weapon,’ ‘Gifted’ Returns Tie NBC Repeats on New Year’s Day

And here are the completed 2018 calendar-year primetime averages:

Adult 18-49 Rating:
1. NBC: 1.8
2. (tie) Fox: 1.3
2. (tie) CBS: 1.3
4. ABC: 1.2

Total Viewers:
1. NBC: 7.8 million
2. CBS: 7.4 million
3. ABC: 5.3 million
4. Fox: 4.4 million

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Fox’s new Nick Cannon-hosted celebrity singing game show, “The Masked Singer,” premiered (to huge Nielsen numbers) Wednesday, revealing at the end of its very first episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed disguised from head to toe in an elaborate hip-hop-style hippo costume — was none other than NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown.

However, we still don’t know the identities of Peacock, Deer, Lion, Monster and Unicorn, the contestants who wowed panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke and the studio audience enough to move on to next week’s competition.

Or at least we don’t officially know who they are, as some viewers are already taking to Twitter to try to decipher the clues about each masked famous person, which were given to them during last night’s show, a series based on the South Korean format created by Mun Hwa Broadcasting Corp.

Also Read: Ratings: ‘The Masked Singer’ Reveals Huge Premiere Numbers for Fox

The leading theory for Peacock appears to be Donny Osmond:

It is Donny Osmond # The Masked Singer # peacock mask

— Jeannine Johnson (@SweetJeanninee) January 3, 2019

#TheMaskedSinger in the #peacockmask has to be Donny Osmond!!

— Candy Olivares (@Candypo) January 3, 2019

The overwhelming guess on Monster’s identity is T-Pain:

We’ve got some monstrous clues for you! ???? Be sure to tweet #TheMaskedSinger + #MonsterMask and send us your guesses. pic.twitter.com/kRTXpYq6oB

— The Masked Singer (@MaskedSingerFOX) January 3, 2019

It’s T-Pain!!!

— Channel Surfing Pod (@ChannelSurfPod) January 3, 2019

THATS T-Pain HANDS DOWN

— Justin (@wjustin950) January 3, 2019

Also Read: Fox’s ‘Masked Singer’ Premiere Reveals First Celebrity Masked Singer: And the Hippo Is… (Video)

A decent number of viewers think Unicorn is Tori Spelling:

Better believe we’ve got clues for you! ???? Don’t forget to tweet #TheMaskedSinger + #UnicornMask and your guesses. pic.twitter.com/yaNnVnJp8j

— The Masked Singer (@MaskedSingerFOX) January 3, 2019

Tori Spelling

— Lisa Miller (@LisaMtoU) January 3, 2019

Fans were torn over Deer, with a pretty even split between the leading guesses of Terry Bradshaw or Peyton Manning:

Terry Bradshaw, he is 6’3″ and he has a Quarter Horse Farm

— Nadene Lange (@nlange44) January 3, 2019

Peyton Manning

— Mistress Lila Lane (@LilaMistress) January 3, 2019

Terry Bradshaw.

— Nicholas_Sye (@NicholasSye1) January 3, 2019

#DeerMask Hahaha Payton Manning! He was a COLT AND A BRONCO !

— Dede #reptourNola! (@DedeFurniss) January 3, 2019

Also Read: Fox Orders Nick Cannon-Hosted Celebrity Singing Competition Series ‘The Masked Singer’ (Video)

By far, the character that seems to be stumping everyone the most was Lion, who viewers think might be a Kardashian, Rumer Willis or Paris Jackson:

Rumer Willis
5′ 6″
A lot of women in her family
Is Hollywood royalty
Was on Empire (lions)
Has a soulful voice and kind of sounds like Amy Winehouse

— Elisa Mora (@ElisaMora77) January 3, 2019

Paris Jackson

— Keith Delauter (@knicksseahawks) January 3, 2019

If a Kardashian is considered royalty… Houston we have a problem

— Robin (@fitzrob6991) January 3, 2019

#LionMask it’s gotta be a Kardasian

— Heather Brackney (@heatherbrackney) January 3, 2019

Also Read: Ratings: Fox’s ‘Lethal Weapon,’ ‘Gifted’ Returns Tie NBC Repeats on New Year’s Day

And things will only get trickier as the season goes on, as there will be more masked singers joining the party in the weeks to come, with a total of 12 celebrities competing.

According to Fox, between all of the celebrity competitors on “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the premiere of Fox’s “The Masked Singer”)

Fox’s new Nick Cannon-hosted celebrity singing game show “The Masked Singer” premiered Wednesday, revealing at the end of its very first episode that the identity of one of its famous contestants — who performed disguised from head to toe in an elaborate hip hop-style hippo costume — was none other than NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers player was the one who sang Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” earlier in the episode, while dressed as “Hippo” and going up against “Peacock,” another masked celeb, who belted out Hugh Jackman’s “The Greatest Show.” Stay with us here.

Also Read: Fox Orders Nick Cannon-Hosted Celebrity Singing Competition Series ‘The Masked Singer’ (Video)

After three rounds of sing-offs in which studio audience members voted to decide Hippo lost to Peacock, Deer lost to Lion, and Monster lost to Unicorn, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke to choose which member of the losing trio was the “weakest performer,” who would then be eliminated and unmasked. And that ended up being poor Hippo.

Then came the fun part: the reveal of Hippo’s true identity. Everyone predicted this particular masked singer was an athlete, with McCarthy and Jeong both guessing Deion Sanders, Scherzinger thinking it was Allen Iverson and Thicke choosing Odell Beckham Jr.

After much debate among the panelists, Cannon revealed the answer to their “first whosungit mystery” (his pun, not ours), by having Brown remove his mask, shocking the panelists, as none of them got it right.

Also Read: Midseason TV 2019: Complete List of Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Updating)

Earlier in the episode, a short segment set in a diner gave us a few clues as to who Hippo really was, including 1) “breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a competitor like” him, 2) he is “used to performing in a mask in front of thousands of screaming fans,” 3) “every time [he wins, he’s] just gotta dance — even if it gets [him] in trouble,” and 4) he’s apparently loaded, as he racked up a (fake) $10,000 bill for his pancakes.

Now, we still don’t know the identities of Peacock, Deer, Lion, Monster and Unicorn — and there will be more masked singers joining the party in the weeks to come, with a total of 12 celebrities competing throughout the season. So tune in next week if you’re already hooked on this thing, which is based on the South Korean format created by Mun Hwa Broadcasting Corp.

According to Fox, between all of the celebrity competitors on “The Masked Singer,” they’ve amassed 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four Super Bowl titles.

Also Read: Ratings: Fox’s ‘Lethal Weapon,’ ‘Gifted’ Returns Tie NBC Repeats on New Year’s Day

Watch the reveal above.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

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TV News Roundup: Ken Jeong to Guest on ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ ‘Billions’ Sets Season 4 Premiere Date

Read on: Variety.

In today’s TV news roundup, Ken Jeong is set to guest star on an episode of ABC’s “The Kids Are Alright,” Showtime sets the season four premiere date for “Billions” and AMC released first look images for the upcoming…