SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 7, Episode 10, of “The Masked Singer,” “Season Finale: I’m Team Good, Thanks for Masking,” which aired May 18 on Fox.
It came down to a battle of the Good in the season finale of “The Masked Singer” but only one could emerge victorious: Singer/actress/dancer Teyana Taylor.
“The Masked Singer” ended its seventh season with three finalists, all from “Team Good,” competing for the Golden Mask trophy. Landing behind the Firefly, “The Goldbergs” star Hayley Orrantia came in second place, as the Ringmaster, while “Call Me Kat” star Cheyenne Jackson earned the bronze as the Prince.
For Firefly, Robin Thicke and Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg guessed right, with Taylor. Nicole Scherzinger thought it was Monica, and Ken Jeong guessed Alicia Keys.
As for Ringmaster, no one guessed Orrantia. Thicke thought it was with Maren Morris, Scherzinger chose Lucy Hale. McCarthy Wahlberg thought it was Hayden Panetierre and Jeong guessed a different Hayley: Hailee Steinfeld.
And then as Prince, Scherzinger got it right, choosing Jackson. Jeong guessed Matt Bomer, Thicke thought it was Ricky Martin, McCarthy Wahlberg went with Ben Platt.
Taylor as Firefly (round 1 winner) campaigned this way: “Now comes the most important decision of your voting lives. Team Firefly or Team Firefly, it’s that simple. Joining this competition meant I had to face my fears and come out of retirement. I refused to fade away. And being on the stage has allowed me to shine bright again. Never give up on Firefly and I’ll never give up on you.”
Taylor sang “Bad Girl,” by Usher, for her final song. For her second track, facing off with Ringmaster, Taylor performed “Lost Without U’ by Robin Thicke. Previous performances included “Ain’t Nobody,” by Chaka Khan [interrupted by coughing fit in first try]; “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” by Michael Jackson; and “Attention,” by Charlie Puth.
Final clues included a basketball net, a faded “M” and “5, 6, 7 (bolded), 8.” Other names that had been suggested for Firefly: Alicia Keys, Monica, Aisha Tyler, Keisha Cole, Lauryn Hill, Ciara, Keyshia Cole and Brandy.
Meanwhile, round 2 winner Orrantia as the Ringmaster completed her run by performing “Gravity,” by Sara Bareilles and then “Waking Up in Vegas,” by Katy Perry. Previous songs were “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus; “Super Bass,” by Nicki Minaj; and “I Will Always Love You,” by Dolly Parton.
Other past guesses for the Ringmaster by the panel included Olivia Rodrigo, Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Alanis Morrissette, Zara Larson, Sarah Hyland, Noah Cyrus, Maren Morris, Hailee Steinfeld, Lucy Hale and Hayden Panetierre. Clues this time included a horse, a Disney-like mouse, Simon Cowell, hail.
“I thought ‘Masked Singer’ would be a fun experience that would confuse audiences because not many people know I am a musician,” Orrantia told Variety. “However, music has always been my first love and I have been releasing music independently between filming seasons of The Goldbergs.
Orrantia said she felt lucky to have the Firefly costume, which was more flexible than some of the other costumes this season. “At least I could move around, but I wasn’t used to having the weight of the costume on me when performing,” she said. “It required some practice to get used to carrying all of that while focusing on keeping my vocals as strong as possible. Having the mask on made it a little more difficult to catch my breath, but because I had a pack on with in-ears, I could at least hear myself decently.”
Jackson as the Prince (round 3 winner) said he discovered the show “was harder than I thought it would be. I wasn’t sure it was live and I didn’t anticipate how hot and sweaty and difficult it is to actually sing with a big mask on.”
Among the most difficult parts: “The weight of the mask, using your neck muscles to hold your head up when you should be relaxing them to sing,” he said. As for the panelists’ guesses, “[they] made me crack up every week. I figured at first they’d go the athlete route initially cuz of my size and my big legs but then when they started honing in, they started guessing quite literally all of my peers. I was laughing inside my frog head.”
For his last song, Jackson performed “Viva La Vida,” by Coldplay. Other songs he sang included “La Copa de la Vida,” by Ricky Martin; “Lay Me Down,” by Sam Smith; and “Sir Duke,” by Stevie Wonder.
Prince clues in the finale included a reference to “Glee” and that series’ creator, Ryan Murphy; as well as Broadway. Previous guesses for Prince included Enrique Iglesias, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Enrique Iglesias, Niall Horan, Darren Criss, AJ McLean, JC Chasez, Ben Platt, Andrew Rannells and Ricky Martin.
Teyana Taylor as Firefly, Hayley Orrantia as Ringmaster and Cheyenne Jackson as Prince joined the roster of unmasked celebrities this season that also included En Vogue as Queen Cobra, Shaggy as Space Bunny, Kirstie Alley as Baby Mammoth, Rudy Giuliani as Jack in the Box, Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman as Armadillo, Jennifer Holliday as Miss Teddy, Penn and Teller as Hydra, Christie Brinkley as the Lemur , Jorge Garcia as Cyclops, Jordan Mailata as Thingamabob, Duff Goldman as McTerrier and Joe Buck as the Ram.
“The Masked Singer” entered Season 7 with 15 contestants, who were divided into “The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly.” This season’s costumes included THE GOOD: Ringmaster, Armadillo, McTerrier, Firefly, Frog Prince; THE BAD: Hydra, Ram, Jack in the Box, Cyclops, Queen Cobra; THE CUDDLY: Baby Mammoth, Thingamabob, Lemur, Space Bunny, Miss Teddy.
The Season 7 contestants boasted a combined 112 film appearances, 15 Grammy Nominations, eight Emmy Nominations, seven Super Bowl Performances, two Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars, two World Records and one attempt at destroying democracy by plotting a coup and undermining the properly elected President of the United States.
In another change, the show’s panelists didn’t compete for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy has won two times, but Scherzinger won last season) this time.
Here was the breakdown for the three finalists:
THIRD PLACE: The Prince (“Team Good”)
Song: “Viva La Vida,” by Coldplay
This week’s voiceover: “My loyal fans. A vote for me is a vote for love. Finding the love of my life taught me to leave the hard times in the past, and pour my heart and soul into everything I do. A trait I hope to pass on to my children. I want to win this for my family. And trust me when I say, this golden crown means nothing without that golden mask. So vote for me, the Prince, and I’ll lead you to love.”
Previous voiceover: “Long ago, I was a young toad who dreamed of escaping my small pond. I knew I had something special to share with the world, but it felt like no one was listening. So I set off on a journey to make my little voice heard. But people only judged me on what they saw on the outside. Why couldn’t they really see the Prince I really was on the inside? I traveled to scary places, and sometime felt like turning around and hopping home. But I knew I had to wipe my tears and keep pushing. After years of struggle, people finally started to recognize me for my true talent. I had finally become the royalty I always thought I was. And now I stand before you, prince of the stage, king of my castle, and future winner of Team Good.”
Previous clues: “Long, long ago”; Carnegie Hall; writing sheet music; pencil; airplane; bats; watch/time; high five.
Previous interview: “I did this show because I come from a teeny little town where I wasn’t always understood. And music was my first love. Over the years I’ve become known for other things, other than music. But I wanted to come to a place where I could tap back into that original joy.”
Previous songs: “La Copa de la Vida,” by Ricky Martin; “Lay Me Down,” by Sam Smith; “Sir Duke,” by Stevie Wonder
Previous panel guesses: Enrique Iglesias, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Enrique Iglesias, Niall Horan, Darren Criss, AJ McLean, JC Chasez, Ben Platt, Andrew Rannells, Ricky Martin
SECOND PLACE: Ringmaster (“Team Good”)
Songs: “Gravity,” by Sara Bareilles; “Waking Up in Vegas,” by Katy Perry
This week’s voiceover: “Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to vote for the one and only Ringmaster,” her voiceover began. “As a young Ringmaster, my only passion in life was music. But over the years, the music has been silenced, and my life took a different path. But the “Masked Singer’ stage has given me my voice back. It’s time to give you the greatest show on Earth and win this competition.”
Previous voiceover: “Looking back at the canvas in my live, I’m remember my first day at a prestigious school, when I was just a little goodie. I was surrounded by some of the best of the best, and I wondered if I would ever be good enough. And that pushed me to work even harder. I always did my own thing, and my mentors wanted me to join the in-crowd. So I did. I’d never been part of a group before. And we tried our best to make it work, but I knew I wanted more. So I took a chance doing something completely different. And it has been paying off for the past ten years. Tonight, there’s no clowning around. This ringmaster is going to be center stage in the finals.”
Previous clues: NASA, hula hoops, laughing emoji, ‘Welcome to Nashville,’ juggling, ‘B-,’ A “no” sign over a holiday elf doll, ‘A++’
Previous songs: “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus; “Super Bass,” by Nicki Minaj; “I Will Always Love You,” by Dolly Parton
Previous panel guesses: Olivia Rodrigo, Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Alanis Morrissette, Zara Larson, Sarah Hyland, Noah Cyrus, Maren Morris
WINNER: Firefly (“Team Good”)
Songs: “Bad Girl,” by Usher; “Lost Without U’ by Robin Thicke.
Previous voiceover: “I’ve never been one to shy away from the spotlight. Even as a young firefly, I loved to dress up in my mom’s clothes and entertain my imaginary audience. Then one day, my mom encouraged me to get in front of a real crowd: My neighbors. I even charged them to watch my show. And believe it or not, it was one of those neighbors who got me my first real gig. I’ve always been a shining star. I’m not just fire, I’m fly. Showdown or not, I’m going to light up that stage and let my voice shine, baby!”
Previous songs: “Ain’t Nobody,” by Chaka Khan [interrupted by coughing fit in first try]; “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” by Michael Jackson; “Attention,” by Charlie Puth
Previous panel guesses: Alicia Keys, Monica, Aisha Tyler, Keisha Cole, Lauryn Hill, Ciara, Keyshia Cole