Frog, Night Angel and Turtle give it their all in one final performance before a winner is declared and all three have to reveal their famous faces.
All the months of speculation came to a head this week as the judges and the world at home had to make their final guesses as to who was behind the Frog, Night Angel and Turtle masks on "The Masked Singer" season finale.
Could Frog break through and become the first rapper to win the Golden Mask? Could Night Angel become the first woman to take the title? Could Turtle swim away with the victory after finally revealing whatever heartfelt performance he's been teasing for weeks?
There was only one more round of competition, and we have to say, we were a little surprised by how things played out. The artist we thought was going to win the whole season really faltered in overall performance this week, while another brought us to tear
But this is a show where Rob Gronkowski outlasted Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan, so there's no logic to anything this studio audience does. We can imagine vastly different results if voting were opened to the public.
At the same time, if this were done in real time there would be no way they could maintain the secrecy of their productions and these contestants would be even easier to guess than Twitter already thinks they are.
The Twitter that had no idea people like Sarah Palin and Jackie Evancho were in this competition until those masks came off. So there's still a lot for the show to be proud of in how well it handles its secrets.
Tonight, though, there were no more secrets for Season 3.
Well, this is it. After months of competition, the winner was crowned and all three finalists were unmasked. But we're still going to make you power through the terrible (and occasionally good) guesses made by our illustrious panel of Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger first. We do this because we love ... to torture you.
Frog is truly a "Bad Boy for Life" and one of the most entertaining performers of the entire series, even if some have tried to argue he isn't deserving of winning because he raps. But rap has been a legitimate music form for how long now? That said, though, this was a disappointing performance for him as he could have used some variety in his delivery, or swagger. Instead, he gave again that old-school aggression that felt a little too choppy on this mellower flow.
Guesses: After revealing that he'd never done choreography before this show -- and he's really grown in this area -- Frog gave a message of empowerment and the strength of self-belief. It's wonderful to see that the experience of this show has been positive for him personally.
The "No Limits" sign in this final clue package had Jenny shifting away from her Lil Bow Wow guess to think Lil Romeo. Ken, though, was thinking maybe it could be the versatile Kid Cudi under there.
Nick helped shut down Nicole's MC Hammer guess by reminding her that Frog just said he'd never done choreo before this show. Like, he just said it. Sometimes, we're amazed at the clues these judges can choose to forget or ignore (stay tuned!). But at least we got to see Nick's Hammer dance.
As for Twitter, they've been certain this was Bow Wow to the point they haven't even bothered to really say as much in recent weeks because what more could be said? It's Bow Wow. Period. They're right.
Turtle pulled out all the stops on a track he'd been saving for his biggest moment in the show. Lewis Capaldi can break our hearts with a whine or a single note, and Turtle channeled all of the emotion inside his shell to give us everything of himself in his most genuine, heartfelt and beautiful performance yet.
Guesses: Turtle broke our hearts with his incredibly relatable story of all the "almosts" in his career where he's ridden the cusp of one thing or another only to not quite get it. And then he sang, and we kept catching all the feels as we think he delivered more depth and heart here than maybe he has his entire career, shedding that boy band vibe.
Nicole still thinks it could be Jesse McCartney under that mask, which is as good a guess as the Twittersphere has heard for Turtle. Ken, meanwhile, latched onto his newlywed status and thought of apparently the only celeb he knows who recently got married, guessing Nick Jonas (what about Joe, Ken?).
Jenny slid back to an earlier guess, as the newlywed clue left her scrambling, settling on Nick Carter, while admitting she kind of reluctantly ("Am I sick?") agrees with Ken. But Jesse McCartney remains the strongest guess for this one, and one the internet has been rock solid on forever.
Night Angel gave a strong vocal delivery, though we would have liked a bit more grit and range out of a Tina Turner classic. We absolutely adored the look at an imaginary watch as she held a long note, showing a cheeky personality we've not seen yet. It was a great vocal overall, but the performance felt a little limited (costume could have had a lot to do with it).
Guesses: Night Angel talked about being a mother with grown kids who stepped away from her dreams of a solo career, effectively confirming she had at least some in a group. Instead, she shifted focus to the behind-the-scenes business side of music.
In her post-performance interview, Night Angel got emotional and started crying a bit and as we saw last season, heartfelt tears win "The Masked Singer." A sign of things to come?
Nicole fell back on her Taraji P. Henson guess because Night Angel has babies, but Jenny and Robin are on the right track, with Robin even hearing her distinctive vibrato. You could even hear Kandi Burruss' distinctive accent and way of speaking in her opening clue package.
Twitter has never wavered, though, on their guess that this is Kandi Burruss. Mainly because it simply has to be. Too many clues line up with her storied career. It's so hard to keep secrecy this deep into this show because so very many clues have been revealed.
We actually expected Frog to win the whole season, but after a disappointing finale performance, we totally expected him to wind up in third out of the remaining finalists, and that's exactly what happened.
Ken was correct adjacent with his Kid Cudi guess, while Jenny was name adjacent with Lil Romeo. And yet, it was Robin who's been all over this one for weeks now. Obviously, this is the artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow aka Bow Wow, with Nicole joining him on this one.
Twitter has been convinced it's Bow Wow for weeks, with not only the clues giving it away, but his rap delivery and style. Sure, the dance moves are all new, but the swag is OG and this is one of the OGs in the game, who did shift away from music in more recent years because (apparently) he lost some of his passion.
Of course it was Bow Wow, there were clues throughout his career. And we are thrilled that this versatile performer rediscovered his love for music, as that's where he kicked off his career and it would be great to see him continue to act, sing AND dance from this point forward.
Things got a lot tougher at this point, as this effectively reveals the winner and the second place finisher. We really thought Turtle laid it all down this week with an incredible performance, and he's been more consistent throughout the season.
Night Angel, when she's on her game, is one of the best the competition has to offer. But there have been weeks where she wasn't quite on her mark and disappointed a bit.
This week was somewhere in between those. But we'd still give the edge to Turtle in overall performance and vocals this week. For the whole season, he's also certainly grown more, but she's given us more wow moments. Still, with the audience only here for this one, our prediction was Turtle.
So of course we were wrong. It was Turtle, but in second place and seconds away from getting unmasked.
That meant it was time for final guesses on Turtle's identity, and Ken was sticking with Nick Jonas. Nicole, though, recalled spending a morning with this performer (an earlier clue) and lined up with Twitter in thinking it's Jesse McCartney (the photo album for her was "All My Children").
Jenny backed this play, thinking about his fragrance, and the poker chips referencing him voicing a character in the "Chipmunks" movie. Robin thought he heard Jesse's voice, but instead focused on "American Idol" and Queen clues and apparently ignored the newlywed clue (even after Nick chastised Nicole for it earlier) to settle on Adam Lambert.
Never doubt the internet -- except the few times they were wrong this season -- when they are this sure that it's Jesse McCartney. And he really did show a more diverse artistry than his pop career has allowed thus far. Hopefully he gets the chance to explore greater depths of emotion in his music going forward.
Night Angel represented for the ladies in this finale and we are thrilled to have a woman win this whole thing for the first time. While we think Kitty was our sentimental favorite in the ladies category, there's no denying that when Night Angel was on her game, she absolutely soared.
Nicole was feeling super confident in her Taraji P. Henson, dropping "Empire," "Hustle & Flow" and even tattoo hints to help make her case. Ken shifted to an earlier guess from the panel with Tisha Campbell.
Jenny has been following the trail all season to Kandi Burruss' restaurants, her album title and really all of the clues, because this has been Twitter's guess since Day One. And this week, she even sounded more like Kandi than ever before when speaking (even with her voice altered).
Robin picked up on all the Xscape (Colombia for the label, shoes for "Kick Off Your Shoes) clues to echo Jenny's guess that it was Kandi Burruss and really, at this point the only way someone could not think it's Kandi is if they've never heard or seen Kandi before.
Congratulations to Kandi Burruss. Of course it was her under that mask, and what a wonderful moment for her to redeem herself in her own estimation as a powerful solo artist and vocalist on top of all her other amazing endeavors throughout her career.
Another great ambassador for the brand, which is proving the value in not judging books by their covers or even their legacies. Clearly some of these artists and winners on this show were met with challenges in their careers because of what they were known for, without making it just about their voice.
They're proven week in and week out that when you strip away preconceived expectations and assumptions about someone by simply not knowing who they are, you can candidly and fairly judge them based solely on their gifts. Maybe we should all do job interviews in lavish costumes hiding our true identities so the work can stand for itself.
"The Masked Singer" will be back in the fall on Fox (or at least that's the plan right now as the country tepidly continues opening back up).