You Will Literally Never Guess Who Was Under the Hippo Costume on The Masked Singer Premiere

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[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the premiere of Fox’s The Masked Singer.]

The first big show of 2019 premiered Wednesday, mere hours after Americans left their warm holiday cocoons to get back on the hamster wheel. And what a slap of cold water to the face The Masked Singer was! Amid end-of-the-year stories of human triumph and new reminders that the government is falling apart, The Masked Singer set the tone for 2019 by asserting that nothing is too stupid to air for TV. That’s kind of comforting!

If you want to know who was revealed to be under that insane costume, scroll to the end. If you’d like to have confirmation that you didn’t dream that Nick Cannon, Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger combined forces to punish you for not reading a book, keep reading.

The first fight consisted of Peacock vs. Hippo. Peacock’s majestic entrance made clear that people who love imaginative costumes will be positively enraptured by The Masked Singer, at least until the pool narrows and they’ve seen them all. By the hints he dropped — he was friends with Michael Jackson; he said it’s been a while since your mom had his poster on his wall; and he thought it was never too late to comeback — we know he’s an old, casting some doubt on The Masked Singer‘s claims about its A-list roster. Sure, one can be A-list and from a “few generations back,” but the likelihood that somebody truly A-list like, say, Elton John had dressed up as a peacock to be peppered with questions from the dude from The Hangover is slim indeed.

Whoever he is, he sounded good, cooing “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman in a rich baritone and performing with a high sense of drama and nice moves to boot. Nicole guessed that the peacock might’ve been Johnny Weir because, I dunno, GAY! and someone else guessed Hugh Jackman — another acid raindrop from this storm.

The Masked SingerThe Masked Singer

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Next came the Hippo, the love child of a Kidz Bop Run-DMC album and amusement park mascot. He strutted out in the manner of a swagged-out rapper, admitting he’s used to performing in a mask and that his performances have gotten him in trouble. Guesses that Hippo was an athlete seemed smart, and his hint that he’s used to conquering arenas, coupled with a $10,000 bill for breakfast, alluded to a fine — the kind an athlete might pay. (Hey, is this thing rigged?!) His performance of Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” made Nicole guess “he sounds like an athlete,” an insult to athletes who don’t sing like they’re admitting people in an emergency room. After a Twitter vote — which could not have impacted the outcome Wednesday since Fox sent critics the episode early — the Hippo got the boot, and by the end of the episode, he was was revealed to be Dancing with the Stars alum Antonio Brown.

That left Monster, Unicorn, Deer and Lion to terrorize eardrums and eyeballs another week — with the exception of Lion, who’s clearly a music pro. Monster, whose description that he was once at the top of the game but took a break from the industry, again assured viewers they shouldn’t expect Drake or Rami Malek-caliber stars here and he was bested by Unicorn, a tone deaf native of Beverly Hills who sang “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten in a manner that didn’t make you want to cry. Paris Hilton or Ireland Baldwin were the not-bad guesses from the panel.

The Masked SingerThe Masked Singer

The best costumes came last. Deer, done up like a butch forest adventurer type with an S&M fetish, sang “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons and held statute with a football player on it — a near confirmation he’s a gridiron star. He was followed by Lion, a glittering gold beauty to behold, sang Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Anybody” with an impressive stage panache that made it seem like she really could be a current, in-demand performer. Who could she be? We won’t likely find out soon, since she’s likely to stay in the game a while. After she devoured Deer, Hippo had to come out and show himself to be an athlete already on the cheesy reality show circuit. This is gonna be a long season, y’all.

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

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