SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details about the eliminated contestant from Wednesday’s episode of The Masked Singer.
Elton John was the man of the hour on Wednesday’s episode of The Masked Singer.
No, the prolific musician didn’t make an appearance (though Jenny McCarthy did mention he was watching). Instead, four contestants paid tribute to John with their song choices. But first, Robin Thicke kicked things off with a rousing rendition of “Tiny Dancer.”
The contestants cycled through John’s hits, like “Bennie and The Jets” and “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting).” But, none were quite so fitting as Royal Hen’s selection, “Philadelphia Freedom.”
You see, underneath the mask was none other than Billie Jean King, who John penned that song for.
Named after her tennis team, the lyrics of the song are meant to honor John’s admiration for King, after the pair built a strong bond through their philanthropy.
“I just feel like there’s a legend underneath that mask,” Ken Jeong said following King’s performance, before her identity had been revealed. Moments later, King gave the judges a pretty big hint — she received the Presidential Medal of Freeform from former President Obama.
Anyone who has followed King’s legacy might have been able to guess she was the Royal Hen even before her rendition of “Philadelphia Freedom.” Earlier in the episode, her clue segment hinted at several huge moments in her career, including the fact that 90 million people tuned in to watch her defeat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match in 1973.
In addition to various tributes to her decades of work championing equal rights, a shot of a coin with a football on it might have roused memories of her aiding the coin toss as an honorary captain at last year’s Super Bowl LVI. The image of the Eiffel Tower was certainly an homage to French President Emmanuel Macron bestowing her with the Legion of Honor.
Jeong was the only judge to guess correctly, even after that final hint. Other female icons who were tossed around were Gloria Steinem and Rita Moreno. All of the judges were pretty floored, as was the audience, to see such a legend standing on The Masked Singer stage. She is, perhaps, one of their biggest contestants yet.