'The Masked Singer' Season 9 Kicks Off With a Shocking Unmasking That Brings Judges to Tears

See which star wowed the judges and which characters got the axe on Wednesday's season 9 premiere!

The Masked Singer is back, and kicking things off with one of the most unexpected and delightfully shocking episodes ever!

The hit Fox reality competition mystery series kicked off its ninth season on Wednesday, helmed by host Nick Cannon and overseen by stalwart panelists Robin Thicke, Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger.

The show introduced fans to the first three performers of the season -- The Mustang, The Gnome and Medusa -- and revealed this season would be keeping the same format as season 8.

This means, instead of one star getting revealed and the rest moving on, only one would be getting a chance to sing another day, and the others would all be taking it off after just one solo performance.

The Mustang was the first character to hit the stage, rocking an all-black, leather ensemble and a giant, red-eyed horse head. She chose to showcase her vulnerable voice with a cover of Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" which earned a massive standing ovation from the audience.

After The Mustang wowed the judges, fans were introduced to The Gnome.

After a fun clue package, The Gnome brought a smile to everyone with a lighthearted rendition of Billie Holiday's "When You're Smiling" which was a total delight from start to finish.

"I wanted to say that your vocals, your voice, just melted my heart," Nicole said after his performance. "You made this entire country smile after that performance."

Finally, Medusa hit the stage rocking a next-level costume covered in snakes and absolutely dripping with mystery and intrigue. After a clue package gave viewers a clue as to what her voice might sound like, no one was expecting what she'd deliver when she hit the stage.

With a voice both delicate and heartbreaking, while simultaneously powerful and full-bore rock n' roll, Medusa performed a cover of Billie Eilish's "Happier Than Ever," which might be the most jaw-dropping performance in recent memory.

After all three costumed contestants had hit the stage, it was time for the audience to vote on who would be going home, and who would be headed to the Battle Royal.

Sadly, it was The Gnome who was the first to go -- but his unmasking proved to be one of the most memorable in Masked Singer history.

After the judges all made their (admittedly terrible) final guesses, The Gnome revealed himself to be none other than screen legend and comedy icon Dick Van Dyke!

The 97-year-old performer beamed as he introduced himself to the crowd and the judges, and Nicole couldn't help but burst into tears at the reveal.

"I love you so much. We love you. The whole world loves you so much," Nicole said, sobbing with tears of joy. "It's an honor to have you on our show. Like, I can't -- I can't believe you're here! I gotta-- I'm trying to play it cool, but-- and you look so gorgeous! You look so handsome!"

"You are one of the reasons why I got into comedy," Ken added in awe. "You are comedy"

"You're our childhood," Nicole added, still crying.

After the unmasking, the Mary Poppins star bid farewell with a performance of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and showed off his dance moves to the amazement of everyone in the audience.

Next up, The Mustang and Medusa faced off in a Battle Royal round, where each had to sing a verse from Rihanna's "Diamonds." Both stars brought real skill and talent to the challenge, but Medusa managed to eke out a win.

This means Medusa moves on to face off against another group of contestants, while The Mustang had to unmask. As it turns out, The Mustang was, in fact, celebrated country singer Sara Evans!

When asked why she wanted to do the show, the songstress shared, "I love the show, and, you know, I don't think there's enough country artists represented!"

The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

Check out the gallery below for a look at every single contestant who has ever had to "take it off" throughout the history of the show!