Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Masked Singer season 5 finale.
Tonight was The Masked Singer season 5 finale, and before we get into the actual show, let's take in the fact that we've had three TMS seasons (plus The Masked Dancer) and three Masked universe hosts go by during the pandemic. I am exhausted, I miss Niecy Nash and Craig Robinson, and I would like to put in a trademark for The Masked TikToker before Fox can get its hands on it.
Anyway, tonight's episode featured the return of season 4 champion LeAnn Rimes, a.k.a. the Sun. Her performances throughout that season were series highlights, and she reminded us why she won as she opened tonight's show with a rendition of her beloved song "How Do I Live." With her Sun costume behind her, Rimes also looked dazzling in a glistening gold dress.
Then, the three finalists joined in to sing with Rimes — even rapper Chameleon, who showed off a decent voice, though his interjections of "oh" and "yeah" felt a little out of place. I'm not sure the attempt to make such a classic country-pop ballad into a hip-hop jam was successful, but whoever suggested it, your effort was entertaining (and appreciated).
The first competitor to perform solo was Chameleon, who rapped "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V. He's done an amazing job at bringing his laid-back confidence and heat to iconic hip-hop songs all season, and this was no exception.
Black Swan kept the bar high with Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" and gave us a masterclass on voice control and belting. She has the range!
Scherzinger agreed, telling Black Swan that "you took us to church for the finale."
And lastly, the Piglet ended his TMS journey with, well, Journey's "Faithfully." He began backstage, flanked by colorful balloons, before taking the main stage, which was decorated with floating hot air balloons. It was a literal and metaphorical ascension, coupled with Piglet's crescendoing passion to cap off his performance.
It was time to tally the votes, and host Nick Cannon announced that the third place finisher was Chameleon.
He was then revealed to be... rapper Wiz Khalifa!
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Though two of the panelists picked the "See You Again" rapper for their final predictions, none had the correct first impression guess. Thicke settled on Khalifa because he delivered "every single song with such swagger, and Scherzinger agreed with "Thicke Thug," adding that Chameleon's brownie and "elevated" clues also fit Khalifa. For their initial guesses, however, Thicke guessed Red Foo while Scherzinger said Cannon (no judgment, this was when Nash guest hosted in his place).
McCarthy, last year's Golden Ear winner, sank under the desk in embarrassment after Cannon revealed she put Denzel Washington down for her first impression guess. She changed her final answer to Gucci Mane. Meanwhile, Jeong had Dwight Howard at the very beginning, before settling on 2 Chainz. Rimes also proposed 2 Chainz.
After his unmasking, Khalifa said that his son Sebastian will probably be "a little freaked out when he sees Chameleon." However, he hopes that going on The Masked Singer will encourage Sebastian "to be himself, and get into his imagination and sing, dance, and be as crazy as possible."
It's interesting to note that Khalifa had the same run as his collaborator Bow Wow, who placed third in season 3 as Frog. A pure rapper hasn't ever made it past that rank (season 1 winner T-Pain is also known for singing). Last season, rap legend Busta Rhymes was first out as Dragon, following in the footsteps of Lil Wayne being out as Robot in the season 3 premiere. Will that change in season 6, or are hip-hop stars destined to come up short on TMS?
If you're keeping track, the panelists are still at the same Golden Ear score: two for McCarthy, two for Jeong, one for Thicke, and none for Scherzinger.
Next, Cannon revealed who finished second and who took home the Golden Mask trophy. Runner up was Black Swan, which means the Piglet has officially won season 5!
Before we find out who the champ is, it was time to unmask the swan with a voice of an angel. She was revealed to be... JoJo!
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Once again, none of the panelists had the correct first impressions guess, though Scherzinger and Rimes had the "Too Little Too Late" singer as their final forecast. Scherzinger, who initially wrote down Natasha Bedingfield, remarked that Black Swan's clue about becoming famous before she got her driver's license had to be about the former teen sensation. Thicke previously said Rita Ora, though tonight he decided on Normani; McCarthy pivoted away from her initial Leighton Meester guess to Monica; and Jeong decided on Demi Lovato after he put down Jessie J for his first hypothesis.
JoJo said that she felt too anxious during the pandemic, and decided to go on TMS to conquer her fears.
"This freaked me out so I said yes to it," she revealed.
She delivered one final, rousing performance before the Piglet was unmasked. He was unveiled to be... Nick Lachey!
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McCarthy had the only correct first impression guess of the night. She said she detected the former 98 Degrees singer right away, as she has "boy band in my blood." What confirmed her senses were the Drew clues (like the one featuring a llama, a.k.a. Drew Carey in season 3), as Lachey's brother and bandmate is Drew Lachey.
Rimes and Thicke both said Lachey for their final guesses, though Thicke had written down John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls initially. Scherzinger was wrong but not way off base; switching from Cody Simpson to boy bander Brian Littrell felt within the ballpark. Jeong was playing a different sport entirely, departing from his first prediction, Adam Lambert, to arrive at Jeremy Renner.
Following his unmasking, Lachey said he "had the best time going on this incredibly twisted, weird ride that is The Masked Singer." He also revealed that his kids had "wanted me to do this show for so long," and he finally got to fulfill their wishes.
That's it, folks. Lachey won season 5's Golden Mask trophy, and McCarthy once again nabbed the Golden Ear trophy. The Masked Singer will return for a sixth season, which will likely premiere in the fall, given its history. Until then, we'll leave you with our prediction posts for Chameleon, Black Swan, and the Piglet if you want to leave no clues unturned and agonize over details you missed. And look out for my show, The Masked TikToker, to air some time in 2022 if all goes well.