*Caution: Spoilers ahead!
The Masked Singer season 5 crowned a new champion on Wednesday! After some next-level performances from the final three contestants, one costumed crooner ended up walking away with the Golden Mask trophy.
First, we’re going to look at how the night unfolded. Scroll down to find out who won and who came up just short.
Wednesday’s finale came down to The Chameleon, The Black Swan and The Piglet — each of whom delivered perhaps their most commanding performances of the season. But when it came to the audience vote, one singer wowed the audience with their incredible vocals and lively performance.
Before the winner was announced, the third-place finisher was named and unmasked. Despite an impressive cover of “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, featuring L.V, it was The Chameleon who was the first star to unmask.
After the show’s panel of celebrity “detectives” — Robin Thicke, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong, and Jenny McCarthy, as well as guest panelist and season 4 champion LeAnn Rimes — made their final guesses, it was time for The Chameleon to unmask.
The resplendent reptile turned out to be none other than hip-hop superstar Wiz Khalifa!
Khalifa said, in his multiple clue packages, that he did the show for the sake of his son — 8-year-old Sebastian, whom he shares with his ex, Amber Rose. After the unmasking, host Nick Cannon asked how his son is going to react to seeing his dad on the show, and he explained, “He’s probably gonna be a little freaked out when he sees The Chameleon.”
“I’m a fun dad, I love to enjoy myself, and I love to be myself. And as much as I can encourage him to be himself and get into his imagination… I’ll be the best example for that,” he added, before taking his leave after an unmasked cameo of “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
This left only The Black Swan and The Piglet in the running for the Golden Mask! After a lot of suspense and buildup, Cannon revealed that this season’s champion is…
… The Piglet!
It must have been a tight race! The Piglet made the judges cry with his cover of Journey’s “Faithfully,” but The Black Swan hit some impressive high notes with her rendition of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?”
Before The Piglet revealed his true identity, it was time for The Black Swan to unmask. After some final guesses (which Scherzinger and Rimes nailed spot-on), the stunning songbird removed her mask to reveal herself to be the talented vocalist JoJo!
ET spoke with JoJo on Wednesday, and she opened up about her emotional time on The Masked Singer, which she touched on in several clue packages throughout the season.
“My journey on the show was a lot like the arc that you see, but maybe even more extreme,” JoJo shared, referring to The Black Swan’s recurring admissions of stage fright and insecurity that played out over the last 11 weeks of competition.
“I came in feeling really depressed and numb and afraid, and just really in my head. I was going through some personal stuff at the time… and there was so much uncertainty with the pandemic, and I was feeling the weight of that uncertainty… and it was just getting to me,” JoJo recalled. “So putting on that costuming and not taking myself as seriously as I have in the past was just what I needed.”
“Coming into it, you wouldn’t really expect to have that type of awakening, or to have this type of growth from such a silly show,” she admitted. “To be on the other side of it, it’s just something you don’t really know how amazing it’s gonna be until you’re in it. So I’m glad I said yes, because I was kind of uncertain, but I just dove in.”
JoJo is dropping her new single, “Creature of Habit,” Wednesday night at 9 p.m. PT, 12 a.m. ET, shortly after The Masked Singer finale wraps up, and the songstress credits her experience as The Black Swan with helping her create her new music.
“By the end of [the season], I really felt like I was getting my mojo back. And if it weren’t for my experience on the show, I don’t know if I would be in the right mental space to write new music and to be ready to go on tour,” she shared. “I really feel like I found my voice again.”
After JoJo’s unmasked encore performance of the Michael Bolton classic, it was time for The Piglet to accept his trophy and take off his mask.
This time around, Thicke, McCarthy and Rimes all nailed their final guesses right on the head when they predicted The Piglet was actually singer and former 98 Degrees band member Nick Lachey!
Lachey was met with a standing ovation as he accepted the trophy, and he explained to Cannon how he felt about his time on the show, sharing, “I’ve had the best time going on this incredibly twisted, weird ride that is The Masked Singer.”
Lachey also spoke with ET on Wednesday, and reflected on why he decided to sign on to be a part of season 5.
“It had always been on may radar as something I’d love doing,” he shared. “My kids have been huge fans of the show and I thought they’d have fun with it… so when the opportunity came up, I kind of jumped all over it.”
According to the singer, he got some advice from fellow boy bander and former Masked Singer contestant Joey Fatone — who performed as The Rabbit in season 1.
“He said, ‘Hey, if you ever decide to do this, really make this a character. Give this character all these idiosyncrasies,'” Lachey recalled. “So I tried to do things that gave this character a personality.”
Lachey’s fun Piglet persona was likely one factor for his popularity with the audience, along with his ability to deliver stunning renditions of songs from a wide variety of musical genres, including power ballads, rock hits, pop classics and even a little opera thrown in for good measure.
“A goal of mine going into this was to try and show range and show diversity. I didn’t want to come and stay in one lane,” Lachey said. “I think it’s more fun for the audience… but it’s also fun as a performer not to do the same thing every time.”
He also managed to bring a lot of emotion into his performances, and delivered a few songs that actually brought the panel to tears.
“I’ve always said that’s kind of your ultimate validation, if you’re able to bring emotion out of someone listening to your music. Then you know you’ve done your job,” he explained. “It makes you feel good as a performer. It makes you feel like, ‘I did what I came here to do.’ Which is to get emotion across with my vocals.”
Congrats to the season 5 Masked Singer champion!
Check out the video below to hear more on this wild, wacky and bizarre season of TV’s most popular reality competition mystery guessing game series.
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