Season 2 of The Masked Singer has served up plenty of surprises so far — they really got a member of Destiny's Child to be on the show, ya'll — but I suspect the biggest surprise of all is going to be who The Masked Singer's Tree is. Week after week, Tree's clue package offers maddeningly contradictory pop culture references. The most recent episode dropped not one, but two Friends clues with a "Smelly Cat" shout-out and a "What is a friend?" sign. However, previous clues have referenced Strangers with Candy, Superstar, and possibly even Seinfeld, thanks to an abundance of soup cans. Oh, and don't forget that they started out by saying they're associated with a particular time of year.
At this point, the Tree could be anyone from Lisa Kudrow to a Christmas-obsessed member of the CIA. I'm completely baffled, but let's take a stab at unraveling this festive mystery anyway.
Who Is The Tree?
Ah, the question that is haunting my dreams. From what the show has revealed, the Tree is associated with Christmas in some way. The person under the tinsel-adorned mask has some serious musical talent, but it's unclear if this is a hidden talent or one the world already knew about. It also feels safe to say that she's a comedian of some sort. After all, the one thing that all of the pop culture references in the clue packages have in common is that they're all comedic — Strangers with Candy, Friends, New Girl, Superstar, and even My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
The Tree is clearly a woman of many talents, but one thing that's almost certain is that she's known for making people laugh; although her knockout singing skills suggest she should be known for her musical abilities too. Which leads me to the internet's current favorite theory...
Clues Lisa Kudrow Is The Tree
Prior to last week, no one thought the Tree was Lisa Kudrow, but thanks to a "Smelly Cat" reference and a sign asking "What is a friend?" people are convinced that the Friends star is under the mask. There's just one problem: Kudrow, like her Friends character Phoebe, isn't much of a singer. Sure, she joined Taylor Swift onstage for a rendition of "Smelly Cat" once, but she's never displayed the vocal range of the Tree, which makes me suspect the Friends references were meant to confuse fans. She's also not associated with any particular time of year, so despite a mention of Phoebe's favorite song, it's unlikely that Kudrow is under the Tree mask.
And there are a few other interesting options.
Clues Nia Vardalos Is The Tree
In the latest clue package, the Tree says "Opa!" a Greek expression that only added to people's suspicions that My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos is masquerading as Tree. Her Greek heritage aside, Vardalos is also a gifted singer who has been on Broadway (which would explain the Playbill clue), and she voices cartoon characters on Star vs. the Forces of Evil and Ducktales, which could explain why the Tree made out with a cartoon character a few weeks back. Finally, the actor has strong ties to Christmas and baking thanks to her time spent hosting The Great Holiday Baking Show on ABC.
The only thing keeping me from calling this one a slam dunk is Vardalos denying the theory on Twitter, but hey, maybe she's just trying to keep everyone guessing?
Clues Molly Shannon Is The Tree
Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon is a strong contender for Tree. First of all, thanks to her Superstar character making out with a tree, it would be fitting for her to choose an evergreen costume. Tree also reenacted the infamous movie scene during a recent clue package, and added a cartoon character to the mix — Shannon has done voicework for animated movies and TV shows, including Fox's Bob's Burgers.
But the most convincing piece of evidence is her strong ties to the Christmas season. One of her most famous SNL sketches is the holiday-themed "Schweddy Balls," and she's a Christmas movie mainstay with titles like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Santa Clause 2, and The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve. On top of all that, Shannon even has a connection to Lisa Kudrow: she appeared in multiple episodes of Web Therapy.
Clues Aisha Tyler Is The Tree
My last Tree contender is Aisha Tyler, a hilarious comic with a strong voice. Tyler makes sense for plenty of reasons, not the least of which is that she was a recurring guest star on Friends. That, plus a guest appearance on Kudrow's The Comeback, would make those clues pointing to the '90s sitcom relevant, but not too obvious. Plus, the Tree keeps saying she owes her career to soup, but maybe she doesn't mean literal soup. Tyler's career took off after she hosted Talk Soup on E!. Add in a career that's full of voicework on shows like Archer and Bojack Horseman, and this comedian starts looking like the perfect candidate to be under the mask.
But what about the Christmas connection you say? I'm not sure if she's really defined by her role as Mother Nature in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3, but the movies get plenty of play come December.
Clues Ana Gasteyer Is The Tree
The other half of that Schweddy Balls sketch is Gasteyer, which places her as someone known for this time of year. She's also got a new Christmas album out in 2019, which would provide a great motive for going on the singing competition show that ends... right before the holiday.
Gasteyer has also done a few Broadway plays — which would account for the Playbill clue. She also spent quite a few years working in Chicago, and the Chicago flag was slyly dropped into one of Tree's clue packages.
So there you have it. The only way to find out who the Tree actually is, unfortunately, is to wait. And waiting is the worst.