The Rhino has rallied since he was almost eliminated on the April 1 episode of “The Masked Singer.” He is among the five contenders competing on the May 6 quarterfinal. The Rhino is coming off of his best week ever, with his cover of “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett earning him praise from the four judges (Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke).
The previous week he had done well with his version of “10,000 Hours” by Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber. Just prior to that had been when he faltered with his cover of “What a Man Gotta Do” by Jonas Brothers. His earlier performances of “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “Nice to Meet Ya” by Niall Horan and “Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt were all much better suited to his voice.
We’ve been doing some digging to try and figure out who is hiding inside the Rhino costume. We watched all his performances again and taken another look at his clues videos. Keep reading for all “The Masked Singer” spoilers, including the real name of the Rhino.
We are convinced that the Rhino is Barry Zito, the country music star who got his start as a MLB player.
The Rhino referred to himself a “gentle giant.” Zito was a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants for seven years starting in 2007.
The image of the sliced hamburger slider bun in one of the clues videos made us think of Zito’s signature pitch, the slider-cutter hybrid.
In another of the clues videos, we saw a shot of three quarters (25 x 3 = 75). Zito wore #75 for all but his first season as a professional baseball player.
Barry co-wrote the song “Butterflies, which was featured in the Eddie Murphy movie “A Thousand Words.” Robin also had a song on that 2012 soundtrack, which would explain the Rhino saying, “Robin, we think alike – you and I were on the same track, literally.”
In one of the clues video we saw the words “Grand Ole Opry” etched on a guitar; Zito ended his baseball career in 2015 on the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, which is home to this music venue. He wrote and recorded a theme song for the team.
The Rhino admits he got caught up in celebrity. Zito wrote a revealing memoir, “Curveball: How I Discovered True Fulfillment After Chasing Fortune and Fame,” that hit the New York Times bestseller list; three of “The Masked Singer” contestants can claim this bragging right.
We took the yearbook quote given — “performing for a king being in your blood” — as a reference to Barry’s dad, Joe Zito, a long-time collaborator with legendary singer Nat King Cole.
The photo of the Show Me state with a crown must mean Zito’s wife, Amber Seyer, who was Miss Missouri in 2007.
Barry sports a tattoo of a golden calf on the inside of his right bicep; between them “The Masked Singer” celebrities have a whopping 160 tats between them.
We will only know if we are right that the Rhino is Barry Zito when he is unmasked. That will happen only when he loses an audience vote or wins the show. Do you think we are right about the true identity of the Rhino? Sound off in the comments section with your best guesses.