Oh hell no.
Imagine a singing competition where Kelly Osbourne is a single rung below Patti LaBelle in its rankings. Imagine an American singing competition in which Patti LaBelle is not the winner. Imagine a global singing competition in which Patti LaBelle is not the winner. Imagine a singing competition of the entire universe in which Patti LaBelle is not the winner. Imagine a singing competition in which Jenny McCarthy is tasked with judging Patti LaBelle and then letting her down easy by saying, “The caliber of talent is unbelievable on this show. We are so honored to have you here.” Imagine a singing competition in which Nicole Scherzinger feels the need to reassure Patti LaBelle by telling her, “No one will ever have another voice like you, ever to come, and I just continue to be inspired by you, thank you so much.”
Imagine all of these things. It isn’t easy if you try, and yet it’s real. Patti LaBelle, whose voice has been a gift to popular music for some six decades, was eliminated from The Masked Singer on Wednesday, making her the seventh runner up on this show. That means, per the competition, there are eight singers on the show who deserve to be there more than Patti LaBelle. These people likely (per Lindsey Weber’s impeccable predictions) include an athlete, a comic actor, and the Destiny’s Child alum you’d least like to hear from. Meanwhile, I’m struggling to think of eight singers who deserve to be on this planet more than Patti LaBelle.
In all fairness, her performances last night were her weakest in the competition, and maybe her public-singing career. For some reason that I assumed was illness, her voice sounded like this, and if there’s one thing you can generally count on, it’s that Patti LaBelle is packing robust pipes. She just didn’t sound like herself. I gasped when the opening strains of Heart’s “Alone” played (it’s been obvious from jump that LaBelle was the flower), but I deflated when I heard LaBelle gingerly traipsing through the song as opposed to blowing it out. Her “Eye of the Tiger” was also weak. I suppose even Patti LaBelle can have an off night, but no matter what, she’s still Patti LaBelle. I have no doubt that the voting system on this show is imprecise and vulnerable to corruption (if, in fact, the voting system is real at all). They could have let a legend hang out until the end. Shit, Gladys Knight made it to the Top 3 last season and then lost to T-Pain, which itself was absurd. I’ve seen speculation that LaBelle signed on for only a certain number of episodes, thus effectively joined the show to lose. I don’t buy it. That’s not the behavior of a winner and Patti LaBelle has been winning at life for as long as most people can remember.
Injustice turns farce into travesty. I am mostly serious here. Fuck this show.