Musician and former pro baseball pitcher Barry Zito was revealed to be the Rhino on Wednesday’s semifinals episode of The Masked Singer on Fox.
Barry, 42, didn’t make it to the season three finale, but he was still celebrating because his third son was born just days before taping.
His performances as Rhino made him a fan favorite throughout the season, judge Robin Thicke, 43, reminded him.
Mask off: Barry Zito removed his Rhino mask on Wednesday during the semifinals episode of The Masked Singer on Fox
‘I’ve had such a great time,’ Barry said. ‘This show has stretched me in so many ways.’
Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, 47, suggested weeks ago that the Rhino was Barry, and before the unmasking, her fellow judge Ken Jeong, 50, agreed with her idea.
After the reveal, Ken, who hadn’t had a winning guess all season, ran around the judges’ table in triumph, making his way onstage to hug the ballplayer.
He was very proud of himself for correctly intuiting from Rhino’s video packages that he had once been featured on the CBS TV show JAG, which Barry confirmed.
Baseball star: The 42-year-old former baseball pitcher removed his mask with the help of host Nick Cannon
Got it: Ken Jeong celebrated as he made his first correct guess of the season
The panelists: Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, Jay Pharoah, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger reacted as Barry took off his mask
Viewers who paid close attention during the show would have spotted the baby rhino Barry wore on his pilot’s jacket, and a photo that showed an adult rhino with three babies.
Clues to Rhino’s identity included ‘slider’ sandwiches, beverage ‘pitchers,’ and ‘world’ photos referencing his World Series win with the San Francisco Giants.
A picture of three quarters, or 75 cents, nodded to Barry’s jersey number, 75, while an image of the number nine referenced his position in the 1999 Major League Baseball draft.
Game one: Barry is shown during Game One of the 2012 World Series in San Francisco that he won after outdueling Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers
The planet Mars was shown, which alluded to Barry’s nickname, Planet Zito, and the name of his five-year-old son, Mars. A sign marked ‘South’ indicated he was a southpaw as a pitcher.
While still dressed as Rhino, Barry moved the judges with a cover of Tim McGraw’s Humble And Kind, leading Jenny to tell him, ‘You’re so sweet.’
‘You are the sentimental favorite,’ Ken added, emphasizing, ‘You are beyond amazing.’
Planetary clues: The planet Mars was shown, which alluded to Barry’s nickname, Planet Zito, and the name of his five-year-old son, Mars
Rhino’s package detailed the challenges he’d faced in his professional life, which saw him transform from an athlete to a musician.
‘Early in my career, I faced many failures,’ the Cy Young Award winner said. ‘There was no way I could have ever imagined hitting pay dirt like this.’
‘It’s cathartic, because there was a point I literally wore a mask to hide from others to hide my shame,’ he shared.
Cathartic experience: ’It’s cathartic, because there was a point I literally wore a mask to hide from others to hide my shame,’ Barry said
Top pitcher: Barry won the Cy Young Award in 2002 and the World Series in 2012
As the episode opened, the four semifinalists sang Tina Turner’s Simply The Best, with special bonus clues offered for each of them.
Night Angel had a football, Rhino had a globe, Frog had a hat and Turtle had a photo album.
Special guest judge Jay Pharaoh, 32, a former Saturday Night Live star and master of impressions, imitated celebrities throughout the night.
Guest panelist: Special guest judge Jay Pharaoh, 32, a former Saturday Night Live star and master of impressions, imitated celebrities throughout the night
Night Angel was the first contestant to perform, turning in a scorching rendition of Lil Wayne’s How To Love, which she dedicated to his Masked Singer character, the Robot.
‘I think you did a good job, you killed it,’ Jay said, imitating Lil Wayne. ‘Heh heh heh.’
Night Angel told host Nick Cannon, 39, that it would mean ‘everything’ to her to be the first woman to win the show, because it would help her stop questioning her talent.
Heavenly talent: Night Angel told host Nick Cannon, 39, that it would mean ‘everything’ to her to be the first woman to win the show, because it would help her stop questioning her talent
In a video package, she explained that she’d chosen her name as a tribute to a late friend who had acted as a guardian angel for her in her career.
Losing that person had encouraged her to take risks, she noted, as a soccer ball was shown.
‘I think she’s gonna win,’ judge Nicole Scherzinger, 41, told Ken.
Guardian angel: In a video package, Night Angel explained that she’d chosen her name as a tribute to a late friend who had acted as a guardian angel for her in her career
The judges thought Night Angel might be a singer like Ciara Wilson, 34; En Vogue’s Dawn Robinson, 54; or Kandi Burruss, 43, from Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of Atlanta.
Next up was Turtle, who crooned a sexy version of Nick Jonas’ hit song Jealous and had everyone dancing.
In his video package, Turtle said he’d been ‘pigeonholed’ in his career, and never felt comfortable stepping outside his ‘wheelhouse’ until Robin praised him on the show.
Fun performance: Turtle crooned a sexy version of Nick Jonas’ hit song Jealous and had everyone dancing
‘Robin, you don’t know how hard I’ve been geeking out under this mask,’ the Turtle noted, telling viewers, ‘For my first car, I even bought a special CD adapter just so I could listen to his album Beautiful World.’
Robin returned the favor, telling Turtle, ‘You got me blushing up here, man, but once again, you murdered it… you are going to the finals.’
Clues to Turtle’s identity included a military hat, a street sign reading ‘Back,’ and a fake diamond ring.
Confident performer: Clues to Turtle’s identity included a military hat, a street sign reading ‘Back,’ and a fake diamond ring
The judges felt that he could be a Backstreet Boy, like Kevin Richardson, 48, or Nick Carter, 40; or former American Idol contestant Justin Guarini, 41.
After Rhino performed, Frog debuted his take on Naught By Nature’s Hip Hop Hooray.
‘Unbelievable,’ Jenny told him. ‘I have no doubt in my mind you’re going to the finals.’
Finals bound: Jenny told Frog, ‘Unbelievable. I have no doubt in my mind you’re going to the finals’
‘It would mean the world to me,’ the Frog said. ‘I made a promise to my little tadpole that if I did win, I would give the trophy right to her. She can put it in her bedroom.’
In his video package, the Frog played basketball and noted that the show had helped him redefine his idea of himself, adding, ‘And that feels like a slam-dunk.’
‘I feel electrified,’ he continued, as an animated jolt of electricity coursed through his body.
Slam dunk: In his video package, the Frog played basketball and noted that the show had helped him redefine his idea of himself, adding, ‘And that feels like a slam-dunk’
Clues to his identity included the number 1,000, hair curlers, the mention of a ‘tour’ and a pin that said ‘Mom.’
The judges sensed Frog could be a musician such as Chance the Rapper, 27; Bow Wow, 33; or Lil Fizz, 34.
The panel and audience voted and Rhino came in last, unmasking himself as Barry.
The Masked Singer season three finale will air next week on Fox.
Singing stars: The judges sensed Frog could be a musician such as Chance the Rapper, 27; Bow Wow, 33; or Lil Fizz, 34
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