The winners of Group A and Group B battle it out for the first time all season, but only one can take him television's most coveted prize -- plus, which panelist took home the Golden Ear trophy for guessing the most masks correctly?
There wasn’t just one title on the line, but two as “The Masked Singer” pitted Bull and Queen of Hearts in head-to-head competition to declare the winner of the Golden Mask trophy.
No less competitive -- okay, way less competitive -- the panelists were also battling it out for the Golden Ear trophy. To give you an idea of just how unimpressive the battle has been so far this season, let's break it down.
They get one point for each First Impression Guess they get right. Prior to tonight’s double unmasking, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger were tied with an impressive two points each. 14 celebrities have been unmasked this season, and the leading scores are two apiece.
That means your best guessers have been wrong 12 of 14 times. It's impressive in its terrible-ness.
Luckily, that’s not the main story. Instead, the main story is this epic showdown from the Group A and Group B champs hitting the same stage at the same time for the first time all season long. Even better, we get two rounds of singing competition, plus a bonus round of Christmas tracks because we’ve been so good this year.
On top of that treat, not only do we get to crown our Season 6 winner, we also get to find out who both finalists are. The internet has been confident for weeks that they know the identities of both artists underneath those elaborate costumes. Are they right?
There’s only one way to find out, so we’d better get to it!
Let’s jump right in with this week’s masks. And don’t worry, before we get to the shocking unmasking, we're 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.
Bull had a surprisingly plain vocal on this, and for the first time we found ourselves wondering if the vocals were pre-recorded. It’s not because he sounded very precise and clean, which he did, but because his dance movements weren’t even always with the beat of the track. As this is a weird bonus Christmas round that doesn’t seem to be part of the actual voting, maybe this is all pre-recorded TV fakery..
Round 1: Showstopper
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Bull showed off his falsetto and that beautiful grit in his voice, as well as his showstopping stage presence. But at the to of the number, and for the first time all season, we saw him sound a bit out of breath. He must have found it, though, as he wailed and did the splits and brought the house down by the end of this piece. It started off a little slow, but he definitely finished strong.
Guesses: Our last batch of clues saw the Bull talking about how he never fit the mold of what our society says a boy should be. He tried sports, he tried holding back his emotions, but it was never authentic to himself, and so he felt invisible.
He felt invisible for a long time, and when he finally found his “people,” he admitted that he wasn’t always perfect even where he belonged. Bull said he hasn’t always said the right thing or done the right thing, so he’s basically a work in progress like the rest of us.
He also said that he’d promised himself he’d always be bold, strong and celebrate exactly who he is. For the past several months that’s been a bundle of bull-energy wrapped up in a heavy costume who can still do the splits and move around like he’s in nothing but a pair of tights.
Jenny is riding the theatrical train that’s been a part of his clue package -- and “theater kid” certainly fits the fish-out-of-water experience he talked about tonight -- to throw out names like Tituss Burgess and Neil Patrick Harris. NPH fit the medical scrubs clues we’ve seen, but Ken was leaning more toward Taye Diggs with those.
“As soon as I saw him perform, I felt it in my nails, my hair, my hips and my heels, okay?” But in an effort to own the Golden Ear trophy, she decided to keep it close to her chest. Obviously, even though Ken didn’t get it, this is a pretty thinly veiled reference to Todrick Hall’s “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels.”
Nicole has apparently been right there with Twitter all along in their certainty that this is Todrick Hall. The more you see him perform, and especially the way he commands a stage and the way he moves around it, it becomes more and more obvious that’s exactly who it is.
Bull delivered a stunning anthem to his own journey through life where he felt different and invisible. It was such a connected moment, we could feel every time he felt exactly his way, while evoking our own experiences in life where we felt outside. It’s been a long time since he’s given us a vocal performance this strong, reminding us that he’s got an incredible instrument underneath all those stunts and that theatricality. Talk about a huge final statement.
Guesses: For his journey package, Bull revealed that he was actually just about to give up on this dream, this career path he’d choshen when “The Masked Singer’ came calling. It has been through this journey that his passion for performing and singing was reignited, which is a pretty powerful and beautiful thing.
What makes it special for him is how limiting he’s felt because of who he is, what he’s all about and how he presents. Underneath the mask, though, all of that is stripped away and he is just the performance and the voice. And being judged just on those things, he’s soaring, because he’s incredible.
Nicole went so far as to publicly say in front of everyone that she’s rooting for him to win this season -- can she do that?! Bull got emotional with Nicole talking about his performance and how much the song means to him. But did he do enough tonight to win?
Queen of Hearts is sounding more and more like the presumed woman under the costume, as she was definitely in full voice for this one. The speaking accent isn’t fooling anyone anymore, though she is committed to it and does it well. This wasn’t quite as powerful on the held notes as we were expecting, but as we also think it’s just for funsies, we’ll just say it was fun.
Round 1: Acoustic
Queen of Hearts made some interesting choices in the arrangement of this song and managed again to push a lot of emotion into it, but we were hoping for something even more emotionally wrought from her. We know she has the ability to make our hearts bleed with her and this didn’t do that. With the toughest competition she’s faced all season long in the Bull, she’s gotta bring everything she has.
Guesses: Once again, Queen of Hearts opened up about some of the struggles she faced when she was younger, this time centered around a letter she wrote to her grandmother as a teen. The spirit of the letter was optimism, but she did have to bend a few truths.
She told her grandma she quit her job to pursue her musical dream, but the truth was she lost her job. And the people who liked her music was about three of them who came to her shows. She had no place to live and even had her car stolen, but she never stopped believing and dreaming.
“Sometimes the single greatest act of defiance is shining your light no matter what the world tells you,” she said, sharing that she still has that letter and hopes that her grandmother now would be proud of her journey, and that optimistic drive that helped her achieve those dreams.
Nicole is still thinking Jewel, noting the ruby slippers from this week’s package as a nod to her playing Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” concert, and she thinks the briefcase is a reference to her son, Kase.
Jenny took us on a “crazy” journey through country music again, settling mostly on Kellie Pickler because the audience clapped the first time she mentioned it. But Ken countered, her “crazy” journey with a “stupid” one of his own, meandering his way to Miranda Lambert.
Queen of Hearts really brought a lot of passion into the early bars of this Katy Perry anthem, to the point we wondered if she was going to reimagine the whole piece. Instead, she just went for it once she got past those opening bars. Certainly she has the pipes to pull that off, hitting those power notes with confidence. After this, though, we found ourselves less confident that she could pull out the win. It just didn’t have that extra oomph Bull was giving us.
Guesses: Perhaps to balance out Nicole calling out that she thinks Bull should win, Jenny countered by predicting that Queen of Hearts would win this season. For her journey package, Queen talked about how she got into singing for herself over the idea of fame; it was something she needed.
She said that she sings to show that you don’t have to be the coolest person in the room or perfect, you just have to make people feel something. That goes beyond singing, too, as that’s just being a good and genuine person in your relationships. As for the show, she did it for something fun and to show her son that you can do anything you set out to do.
Her hope, she said after this performance, in coming onto the show was to be a spark for anyone struggling in the darkness. By opening her heart and her story of struggle so honestly throughout the season, she certainly stands as inspiration that you can fight your way through anything, as well as the power of having a positive attitude.
We were really feeling the passion of Queen of Hearts coming into this finale, but then Bull stepped up and offered more of an emotional connection than she did tonight. It was one of his rawest performances of the season, paired with another fun, high-energy piece, showcasing his diversity and range as an artist.
Because of that, we found our gut changing from thinking Queen of Hearts had it in the bag to considering Bull the more obvious front-runner. Especially considering these viewers might have seen only this episode, it really felt like it was his night. But did they agree?
After declaring it one of the closest votes in “Masked Singer” history, Nick flipped the script on us, giving us a Queen of Hearts victory. That meant settling for second place for Bull, but with competition this stiff in the finale, they’re both deserving of all the praise and credit.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Lil Uzi Vert), final guess (Sisqo)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Brian Littrell), final guess (Adam Lambert)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Sisqó), final guess (Taye Diggs)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Todrick Hall), final guess (Todrick Hall)
At this point, there’s really no question who either of these people are, so this wasn’t a shocking reveal as much as it was expected. With the reveal of Todrick Hall, Nicole slides into first place for the Golden Ear trophy with a one-point edge over Ken. And with only one point each, Robin and Jenny both fall out of the running entirely.
Todrick has certainly built a name for himself, but perhaps not as big as he would have liked. We’re glad this show gave him the inspiration and drive to continue pursuing his dreams.
He’s an incredibly gifted and talented performer. We’d also encourage him to follow Queen’s lead and share more of his heart through his art as it’s truly beautiful when he does.
Even if we didn’t think Queen of Hearts had the edge these past two appearances, there’s no denying she’s been stellar all season long. She dominated in her category and stands as one of the most gifted performers in show history.
Her ability to connect to a lyric is second to none, and finding out tonight that she’s not a big fan of covers and struggles to remember lyrics makes it even more remarkable what she was able to do with other artist’s work.
Already mega-talented, it’s nice to see she still had room to grow, and embraced that challenge and opportunity as a part of her “Masked Singer” journey.
Robin Thicke: first impression (Idina Menzel), final guess (Jewel)
Jenny McCarthy: first impression (Fergie), final guess (Jewel)
Ken Jeong: first impression (Renée Zellweger), final guess (Renée Zellweger)
Nicole Scherzinger: first impression (Carrie Underwood), final guess (Jewel)
The only prize left to award at this point is the Golden Ear trophy. With a right guess by Ken and a wrong one for Nicole, he could slide into a tie. Every other scenario sees her supplant Jenny after two consecutive wins as the new reigning Golden Ear champion.
This is another one that saw the internet click into right away, with very little doubt these past several weeks. And as the season wore on, you could hear it more and more in her voice, because there is no one out there who quite sounds like Jewel.
What she loved about the show, and what surprised her about it, is that the experience of performing behind a mask strips artists down to their essence. You are a voice, you are your talent and little more. It really is an interesting thing to take out of such an inherently sill premise, but a profound one that does make sense.
In the end, despite nobody getting any points for Jewel, Nicole hung on to the lead and secured her first-ever Golden Ear trophy in a moment she called bigger than just her and compared to when Halle Berry won Oscar gold for “Monster’s Ball.”
Um, let’s not get ahead of ourselves there, Sherlock Scherzy.