Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Masked Singer season 3, episode 18.
It’s been a long road to The Masked Singer finals this season. As Nicole Scherzinger said, there have been 47 contestants — er, 18 and we’ve said goodbye to some incredible talent like Jackie Evancho as Kitty and huge stars like Lil Wayne as Robot.
Tonight, the top three battled it out for the last time and they pulled out all the stops. Joining them were Scherzinger and her fellow panelists Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, and Ken Jeong, as well as host Nick Cannon, who probably maxed out the wardrobe budget with his glittery finale getup.
Frog, Night Angel, and Turtle all gave show-stopping performances before the night’s first reveal.
Frog rapped “Bad Boy for Life” by Black Rob, Mark Curry, and P Diddy, and it was fire. Literally, there was a fire display plus funhouse mirrors, which made for an epic and infectious final performance. Then, Turtle delivered his best yet, with “Before You Go” by Lewis Capaldi, and he put his entire soul into his rendition. Dare we say, beautiful soul? (We’re still convinced that Turtle is Jesse McCartney.)
Finally, Night Angel brought down the house with Tina Turner’s classic tune “River Deep, Mountain High.” It was hard to pick from such great performances, but McCarthy reminded the competitors that they were all winners no matter the results. “The only real loser here is Ken,” she said. Amen to that.
The audience and panelists then voted, and in third place was Frog.
He was eliminated to reveal … Bow Wow (who we guessed from the get-go). The major clues leading to his identity related to his rapping, acting, and hosting career, and his home base of Atlanta. Bow Wow hosted 106 & Park, has appeared on shows like CSI: Cyber, and resides in the Georgia capital. And on tonight’s episode, there were nods to trolls and social media hate, and the entertainer was famous for his “private jet” stunt that led to the ironic Bow Wow Challenge.
Scherzinger and Thicke both guessed Frog’s identity correctly, while McCarthy guessed it was Lil Romeo and Jeong was characteristically wrong with his Kid Cudi prediction.
After his unveiling on stage, Bow Wow said he never thought he’d make it this far.
“I knew I wasn’t going to outsing or outballad anybody,” he said. “So I say, ‘You know what, I’m going to come with the swag, I’m going to add a little of this a little bit of that, and I want the people behind me.’”
Next up, Cannon revealed the winner of season 3, who’d get the coveted golden mask trophy. In first place, it was none other than Night Angel! She made history as the show’s first-ever female champion, after Wayne Brady and T-Pain won the first two seasons.
But, we didn’t get to find out her identity right away. First, it was time to unmask Turtle, who ended in second place (and looked quite shell-shocked at the results).
He was revealed to be … Jesse McCartney. (We called it!) Between the surfboard clues, teen heartthrob references, and “beautiful soul” callouts throughout the season, Turtle had to be McCartney. The “Beautiful Soul” singer has won multiple Teen Choice Awards (which are shaped like a surfboard), and played a talented surfer in the teen drama series Summerland. Turtle’s finale clue package also mentioned a “new Mrs. Turtle” in the contestant’s life, and McCartney recently got engaged.
Although he didn’t take the crown, McCartney said it was “an experience I’ll never forget.”
Scherzinger and McCarthy were on the right track with their guesses, while Thicke thought Turtle was Adam Lambert and Jeong went with Nick Jonas.
Finally, came the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Who was under Night Angel’s mask? The panelists stated their final guesses: McCarthy and Thicke were all in for Kandi Burruss, Scherzinger predicted Taraji P. Henson, while Jeong said Tisha Campbell.
The purple songstress was then unmasked and revealed to be … Kandi Burruss! (Another EW prediction).The former Xscape singer and Real Housewives of Atlanta star had to be Night Angel. There were lots of specific clues that could only lead to Burruss, like the gangster grandmas and duck bill visuals. Burruss owns restaurants called Old Lady Gang in the Atlanta area (which also made sense given the sweet tea and Southern hints), and she co-wrote Destiny’s Child’s “Bills Bills Bills.”
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On stage, Burruss said “it feels incredible” to be the first woman to win The Masked Singer, and added that being on the show helped her believe in her own talents.
“For a long time, I stopped singing by myself. You get negative feedback so it kind of messes with your head,” she said. “I really appreciate you guys for helping me build my confidence back up.”
If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll notice that every panelist got two of the three finalists’ identities correct — except poor Ken Jeong. Well, he’ll always have Barry Zito as Rhino.
So what did you think of the results? Many EW readers wanted Turtle to win it all — do you agree with Night Angel’s crowning? Did Frog deserve to be higher up in the rankings? Let us know below and we’ll see you back here when The Masked Singer returns for season 4.