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Tuatara on Masked Singer NZ. (Photo: Daniel Medini)
Tuatara on Masked Singer NZ. (Photo: Daniel Medini)

Pop CultureMay 18, 2021

The Masked Singer NZ recap: Two lies, one truth, and a very sad fish

Tuatara on Masked Singer NZ. (Photo: Daniel Medini)
Tuatara on Masked Singer NZ. (Photo: Daniel Medini)

Who, who, who was beneath the mask this week?

Welcome back to the The Masked Singer NZ, the most gloriously batshit show on New Zealand television. Watching a bunch of celebrities sing cover songs while disguised in giant animal costumes is not just a bewildering ride, but a worthy one. We’re four episodes in and I’m now dedicating my life to solving these mysteries like I’m in Line of Duty and this is the most complex undercover operation AC12 has ever seen. 

Keeping it low key casual.

I have post-it notes on the wall. I have Venn diagrams circling my brain. I can’t talk, I can’t sleep, and all I eat is Sultana Bran. This is my life now, guessing which well-known New Zealand identity is miming the lyrics to ‘I’m Still Standing’, dressed as a giant pavlova with a mouth that never moves. I don’t even mind. I love pavlova.

Everyone loves pavlova.

Week two gave us plenty of fresh clues, thanks to a confusing new feature called ‘Two Lies, One Truth’, where the singers drop clues that may or may not be true. It made me Google “is Simon Bridges really The Fonz” and I’m not even sorry, because a show sponsored by Sultana Bran will never make me regret my choices. Plus, Sunday night’s episode featured a background video of dancing cats wearing sunglasses, which had absolutely nothing to do with anything, and yet I’ve never seen anything finer in my life. Let’s reveal the rankings.

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Eliminated: Alien – Tom Sainsbury

It’s Tom!

Song: ‘Whip It’ by Devo

Judge guesses: Richie McCaw, an actual alien, Tamati Coffey/Paddy Gower/Clarke Gayford or neither of the three, Tom Sainsbury

Ah, ‘Whip It’, the famously intergalactic pop hit of the 1980s, brought to a new audience by an alien dressed in a green plastic onesie. We’re all devo after Tom Sainsbury’s all too-short visit to this strange universe, but he whipped it, whipped it good. James Roque guessed it was Sainsbury, freeing the political impersonator from his sweaty alien prison and giving us the answer to one piece of this slippery puzzle. Truly out of this world.

Eliminated: Monarch – Madeleine Sami

Fly like a butterfly, sing like a Sami

Song: ‘Break Away’ by Kelly Clarkson

Judge guesses: Jacinda Ardern, Pippa Middleton, Madeleine Sami, Bic Runga

Singer, actor and writer Madeleine Sami did something new, New Zealand, and Ladi6’s guess was a winner. Most of all, we should be grateful that Sharyn Casey guessed Jacinda Ardern so that we were blessed with this team of five million moment: 

8. Jellyfish

Every photo of Jellyfish looks the same, sorry.

Song: ‘Blame It on Me’ by George Ezra

Judge guesses: Jamie McDowell, Rose McIvor, Lydia Ko

The Spinoff guess: Sophie Pascoe or Nemo

The big clue is that Jellyfish once “led the Olympic team out”, and with so many water-related hints, she’s either an acclaimed swimmer or an actual fish who went to the Olympics. You’re scoffing, but it’s 2021, anything could happen. Fish are people too, you know.  

7. Monster


Song: ‘Faith’ by George Michael

Judge guesses: Tane Williams, How to Dad Jordan Watson, Kings, Jayden Daniels

The Spinoff guess: Scott Morrison, Australian prime minister

Clue one: I’ve been hiding under your bed. WTF, Monster.

6. Sheep

This is what emotion looks like.

Song: ‘Stay’ by Rihanna

Judge guesses: Michael Galvin, Jay Laga’aia, Temuera Morrison, Moses Mackay

The Spinoff guess: Shrek the Sheep

Yes, Shrek died years ago, but this competition is not built for logic. Sheep earned a standing ovation on Monday night, impressing the judges with a performance so soulful he probably made himself cry. That’s why sheep wear sunglasses, to hide their tears. Bravo, Sheep. 

5. Medusa

Just come on over, Valerie, FFS.

Song: ‘Valerie’ by Amy Winehouse

Judge guesses: JJ Feeney, Trelise Cooper, LAB’s two back-up singers, Valerie Adams

The Spinoff guess: Joe Cotton, because tonight’s the night

So many clues, so little time. It could be TrueBliss singer and former The Edge presenter Joe Cotton, or it could be Valerie Adams, or maybe it’s legendary rugby snake Richie McCaw? Maybe it’s one of those dancing cats? Help us Jellyfish, we’re drowning. 

4. Tuatara

Eating the microphone. What a joker.

Song: ‘Higher Ground’ by Stevie Wonder

Judge guesses: William Waiirua, Jonno Roberts, Jeremy Redmore, Dan Carter.

The Spinoff guess: Jesus. Or Jason Kerrison.

The ‘Two Lies, One Truth’ round confirms Tuatara is none other than old mate Jesus. A fully trained carpenter who is compared to The Fonz? There can only be one. Also, Tuatara sang ‘Higher Ground’ which Jesus was always on, both spiritually and physically, and Jesus always gave an “extra special performance”. Hello water-into-wine, it’s The Masked Singer NZ calling.  

Sadly we don’t know what Jesus’s singing voice was like, and Tuatara is a bloody good singer. We have at least three good singers in New Zealand: Kiri Te Kanawa, Suzanne Prentice and Jason Kerrison, so perhaps this tiny dinosaur is actually the lead singer from OpShop. Kerrison built an ark to take him to higher ground, he was a judge on X Factor NZ, and is compared to the Fonz in this article. Case closed, dinosaur man.

3. Pavlova


Song: ‘I’m Still Standing’ by Elton John

Judges guess: Irene Van Dyk, Hilary Barry, Pippa Wetzel, Holly Smith

The Spinoff guess: Helen Clark

It’s not Helen Clark, but how many New Zealand celebrities do we have left

2. Orange Roughy

Someone needs a hug.

Song: ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra

Judge guesses: Mike McRoberts, Peter Burling, Dominic Bowden, Rog from The Rock

The Spinoff guess: Mike McRoberts

Poor Orange Roughy. His mournful eyes stare directly into our souls and don’t like what they see, and looking at his big, sad mouth feels like falling into a dark abyss filled with wrong choices and bad decisions. Why the legendary Mike McRoberts has ended up as a sad fish is beyond me; was there no Silver Fox costume? At least he’s giving ‘Shotgun’ the coverage it deserves, and the sooner it becomes Newshub’s new six o’clock theme song, the better.  

1. Possum

There’s a lot to unpack here.

Song: ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll’ by Joan Jett

Judge guesses: Lily McManus, Hilary Barry, Aja Rock

The Spinoff guess: Sally Ridge, mostly because we need her to jazz up those masks in Clinton Randall’s introduction with a hot glue gun and some pipe cleaners.

Possums were born to rock the shit out of our Sunday nights, so sound the dancing cat klaxon, this was spectacular. Possum gave the performance of her marsupial life, using her tail as a guitar and delivering more high kicks than should be physically possible. I don’t know how she ended up in the final two, but I was so bewitched my notes were simply “Poaaum – aUXY, VUAHY Rlw”.

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