The panel is completely stumped on one of the finalists as all four are revealed following one of the most competitive finales in The Masked Singer history — who won Season 10? And who was under the mask?
We were a little uncertain heading into The Masked Singer Season 10 finale if the Ding Dong Keep It On Bell saving Gazelle had been a good call, but she definitely proved herself and set up the tightest finale yet.
Cow, Donut, and Sea Queen won their respective Groups and took on Gazelle for this final shot, along with a few unexpected clues that left the panel reeling. They also had a mixed night with a unanimous guess for one singer, while they were all over the place but right for another.
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By the end of the night, four became three became two and a winner was crowned. Along the way, four famous faces were revealed, leaving the panel stunned and awe-struck and crying. It was a powerful and emotional night, and a night that featured one of the single best performances we’ve ever seen on this show. Seriously, you just wait!
Let’s jump right in with this week’s mask. And don’t worry, before we get to the shocking unmasking(s), 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.
Along with the panel’s guesses, we’ll be sharing some internet speculation, too, so if you don’t want to be potentially spoiled (because they are very good at this), you may want to skip past the guesses sections.
Season 10 Finalists
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(“What I Like About You,” The Romantics) The Final Four kicked off the show with a showstopper of a performance that offered just enough of each of them performing solo to remind us how good they are and how this really could come down to who delivers the most in this final performance. They’ve all done the work to get here and they all have such distinct sounds and styles, it really feels like it could be anyone’s season — though we have a feeling Donut might have a sentimental edge.
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(“Rhythm Nation,” Janet Jackson) Cow came out and had us a little underwhelmed up on the platform, but as he made his way down this became a tour de force and one of the most impressive vocal and overall performances we’ve ever seen on this show. He sounded incredible, with power range, falsetto and all the things! Then, he had a dance breakdown that was otherworldly. This will be one of those performances we’ll see in highlights for years — and we would’ve never thought someone could do this song justice!
Guesses: Cow definitely had the panel scrambling when he revealed he took on this character to throw his friends on the panel off his scent … as in they know him. He also said he’s used to wearing different hats, which was too pointed to just be referring to talents. We’re thinking he’s a hat guy.
He also said the costume was in tribute to his mother, who taught him the importance of being strong and sensitive. As for those dance moves, Cow intentionally taught himself new moves for this different character, which he found refreshing, but also indicates he has some well-known moves.
“I was a fan of the show before I got here. I’ve always wanted to do this show and so this is already a dream come true,” said Cow, appearing to put on a different speaking cadence to further throw the panel. “I’m just having a ball. I really am. I really am.”
In the Group A Finals, Cow gushed about how much his mom means to him, both as his biggest supporter now and literal supporter growing up. He recalled her working “seven jobs” at once to support his family, which is why his dream was to make it big enough that he could support her, which he’s been able to do.
While talking, we saw a red stoplight and he caught and threw a football. His roller-skating clue was the word “Husband.” Cow explained, “Not my husband, your husband, Jenny. Listen, this cow is absolutely a lady. However, I have spent some time with your hubby.”
Cow was definitely feeling the 2000s semi-finals theme as that’s when it all came together for him. He recalled packing up a van with his buddies and performing on top of it in front of the Capitol Records building, convinced he’d get a deal. Security threw them out instead.
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But, he said, they kept coming back and now his picture hangs in the halls of that building. Visual clues included a gavel, a birthday cake with one candle on it and a newspaper. On-stage, the new clue was a banner reading “MOOOsical.” Cow said, “The 2000s were really, really good to me. So much, in fact, that I got to star in a musical.”
The prior clue package saw Cow really emphasizing how important family is to him. He has kids of his own and despite all the temptations of fame, he’s always made sure to put family first. Perhaps that’s because he didn’t have a dad when he was growing up.
In fact, he said he didn’t have a lot of positive male role models at all, coming up in a house of all women. He also credited this with the fact he’s a sensitive soul. New images included a red boxing glove with a yellow down arrow on it and a crayon drawing of a red heart drawn by his calves — ahem, children.
His on-stage clue came out in a giant purple bowl, out of which Le’Veon pulled a pair of tap shoes. To this, Cow said, “Much like a Super Bowl Halftime Show, I am known for my killer moo-ves.”
In his first clue package, he told us he didn’t even know fame was in his future, believing he was instead destined for a pretty simple life at home. This was despite his dreams of standing out and being a big star. The problem, he said, was that he struggled controlling his emotions. But everything changed when he learned he could write, presumably referring to music. He said he’s since gone on to win multiple Grammys and traveled the world with “hit after hit after hit.”.
Images included the date July 4, a Classic Culinary Cuisine for Cows cookbook and the recipe “Classic Cow Cake,” which he proceeded to mix and bake through the clue package. HIs first on-stage clue came in a popcorn bucket with a “Blockbuster Movie” ticket. He explained, “One of the better things known about me all started with a moo-vie.”
Robin Thicke was thinking of “Miss Independent” writer Ne-Yo, who wrote that song (he thinks) in honor of his mother. Nicole went through a journey tonight, hearing and seeing Ne-Yo in the first half of the performance, and then Usher in the second half.
Ken thought Usher, too, tying the football to his character from The Faculty. Jenny went out on a limb to twist the children clue to the song “Children” and Billy Porter, but it seems a stretch. The internet, meanwhile, has been on Ne-Yo this whole time, who is famous for his hats and has fit the clues extremely well. It’s also been our favorite guess.
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(“Chasing Cars,” Snow Patrol) Gazelle had a lot to prove after picking up the Ding Dong Keep It on Bell and she lived up to those expectations with her strongest performance of the season by a country mile. There was so much ache in her voice, we felt it through the mask and our screens. She played with the melody just enough to put her own inflection on it and by the end, with the audience poised on the edge of their seats, her voice broke beautifully with her own emotion. This was as palpable a performance as anyone has given.
Guesses: This character has really empowered Gazelle, and the character has a special meaning. She spoke before about losing someone close to her, but she also got a tattoo in honor of that person that happens to be a gazelle with flowers growing out of its horns — just like this Gazelle.
“Thank you so much for saving me and keeping me here,” she told Ken, “because being here and being the Gazelle has helped me find my voice and my confidence in singing again. And now I never want to stop, so thank you.”
Two weeks ago, while showing a letter with heart stickers for the guys on the show (Ken, Nick, and Robin), Gazelle talked about being the “hammy, performative kid” who grew up putting on shows for her family every night. While she was vastly different from the rest of the fam, her parents dropped everything to support her, uprooting their lives, for which she is so grateful.
At one point in the package, she held a magnifying glass and took a close-up look at the word “MYSTERY. On stage, the roller-derby disco diva brought out a tray adorned with “Island vibes” and a desert island vista. “Hey Nicole, just like you, I too hold the islands close to my heart.”
For her last clue package, Gazelle talked about how much this costume meant to her, as she associates deer with a dear friend she lost shortly before her wedding. We saw a mouse next to a bouquet and dog tags as she talked about his “adventurous spirit” and how the rain that fell during the vows told the couple he was with them.
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The Office’s Kate Flannery brought out her on-stage clue, which was a DVD called “Gazelle Love Story.” Gazelle explained, “The 2000s are a special time for me because it was when I had my film debut.” That adds a husband and a timeline to her previous clues.
A major focus of her second clue package was Gazelle’s heritage and unique name. She said she was pressured to change it professionally at just eight years old and casting directors didn’t quite know how to place her because of her “unique look.” Now, she sees herself as a trailblazer for other little girls who look like her.
Images that we saw included a sign reading “Threat Level: 3,” suggesting an entertainment triple threat, as well as a test with the grade A, and a surfboard, which could be a surf movie, a love of the ocean, or even a Teen Choice Award. On stage, Antonio Gates tossed Nick a football that had “Villain” printed across it. Gazelle explained, “I’m not actually a villain, but I can play the part. Gazelle’s got range!”
The first package revealed that she hit up a Broadway show at six years old (the sign in the clue package read Hello Doll! which could mean she saw Hello Dolly!). That sparked her interest in being on the stage, which she says she leaps at any opportunity to do.
One of those opportunities came as a teen when she entered a national talent competition … and “crashed and burned.” After this, she almost swore off singing for good, but she’s too passionate about it. Now, she’s looking to face her fears, which is another reason we suspect singing isn’t what she’s known for.
With a petite frame, that first clue package included a Hawaiian shirt, three statues of bulldogs together, a director’s chair and a camper in the desert. David Spade then brought out an LP with “Movie Soundtrack” printed on it. “Not only do I act in movies, I also sing in them,” Gazelle told Nick.
Jenny looked at all the villain and high school clues to High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale, while Nicole struggled to find someone married who fit all the other clues, finally landing on Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez.
Ken, meanwhile, remains convinced by the voice that it’s his friend Constance Wu. But the internet has been feeling very confident that it’s a teen villain all right, but one from Pretty Little Liars, Janel Parrish. Let’s just say the tattoo clue clinched it.
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(“Rescue Me,” Fontella Bass) Sea Queen is definitely an icon and she’s got that beautiful signature rasp in her voice, but this performance felt a little phoned in compared to her previous outgoings. It’s particularly notable on the heels of both Cow and Gazelle, who floored us and the panel. With everyone world-class at this point, it’s time to step it up and Sea Queen just didn’t. She hilariously collapsed at the end and gave a literal mic drop, with the panel noting she’s clearly ready to be done.
Guesses: The first-ever Wild Card to make the finals, Sea Queen is proud of her accomplishment, while also talking openly about how much she’s struggled with the costume. Most of the masked singers have faced the same struggle, but she mentioned claustrophobia, which would be a whole extra hurdle to have to overcome.
“It’s been amazing. I’ve been learning so much and it’s very challenging,” said Sea Queen. “I feel like I’m a better entertainer because of this show.”
In only her second appearance, Sea Queen was already dropping co-star names like Denzel Washington and showing pictures of Tyler Perry while saying she’s worked with multiple Oscar winners who bring their acting coaches to set.
She also revealed that she was once in a hard rock band while we saw a barber pole. On-stage, she dropped another “Co-Star,” adding, “I was lucky enough to share the screen with Ken. Funny, not much has changed.”
Sea Queen said she was down to be the Wild Card on Harry Potter night because she’s always been a bit of a wild card in life. She then detailed her first job at 14 years old giving tours at a museum — and getting fired. She got into a “fancy” boarding school through her smarts — but got kicked out.
She said that the twists and turns of her life, though, are why she’s become such a triple threat. She defines that, though, as “comedy, writing, singing, I’ve done it all!” As for visual clues, we saw a leather bag with four female silhouettes on it, suggesting perhaps a girl group?
We also saw a royal crown on display, trains, and a blue CD player next to a bird cage. On stage, she was sorted into Slytherin for being “cunning” and “shrewd.” She responded, “Slytherin makes sense for me. I’ve always been clever in my career. You never know what genre you’ll catch me in next.”
Nicole danced around a lot of names this season, but it always comes back to that signature rasp and incredible voice. We’ve been right there with her, as has the internet. This just has to be Macy Gray, right? Ken was picking up what Sea Queen dropped as a big gesture and agreed. No one can get past that distinctive voice.
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(“You Are So Beautiful,” Joe Cocker) Donut continued to serenade his late wife with this performance, which was a little repetitive toward the middle before he started soaring at the end. He’s got a beautiful grit in his voice that pairs with his clear passion. We won’t say he nailed the falsetto moment at the end, but there was no denying his authenticity and heart.
Guesses: For his final clue package, Donut revealed that his wife’s nickname for him was fritter, after the apple fritter he’d have every Saturday when they had coffee and donuts together. He talked about entering this show at a low point and how the Donut’s smile and the journey has been healing for him.
“It was actually my beautiful wife who first said she wanted me to be on this show,” Donut revealed. “So being able to check this off of her bucket list has given me great joy.”
Donut was light on clues last week, but it was a huge one as he revealed he’d actually sang with Ray Charles on TV, which is why he chose “George on My Mind” as his soundtrack song. We saw a toy jet plane and a red dragon in the clue package, as well.
His “mixtape” clue was titled “Poker Night.” Donut said to Robin, ‘This mix tape was on repeat every time I hung out with your dear, sweet dad.” Unfortunately, as Robin replied, “My dad knew everybody,” so as clues go, it wasn’t too helpful.
This week’s clue was a heartbreaker as Donut opened up about finding and marrying his soulmate, whom he called “My Smile,” and then more recently losing her. He even choked up talking about her, while celebrating all they accomplished together, like opening a studio.
He shared that he’s “lived out a billion dreams,” including movies and music while entertaining his fans for decades. We saw a film slate with “#1” on it, as well as a gumball machine and a magazine called Donut Adventures, amid all the classic ’50s diner memorabilia.
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For Trolls week, Branch and Poppy shook a bottle of confessing “SEASONING,” leading Donut to say, “I am well-seasoned and I have been enjoyed by several generations.”
Last week, Donut said he’s had a hard time being defined as how he sees himself. He said that a “mega hit” catapulted him to number one, but then says that he was mostly associated with a rough-and-tough “flavor,” suggesting he was pigeonholed or typecast as one thing. He showed what looked like a law enforcement badge at this point.
There was an LA flag and the dazzling lights of show business showing cowboy boots as he talked about being a country boy with a refined side and even a theater connection with shows like Chicago and 42nd Street.
He said he’s been known to pour his heart into a song or two, and is doing this show coming off of the toughest year of his life, hoping to turn things in a more positive direction. While there were a lot of neon lights, we definitely saw a focus on a bow-and-arrow, as well.
As for his on-stage clue, it was the one-hit wonder “How Bizarre,” by OMC. Donut explained, “You know what’s bizarre? Me being on one hit wonder night, because just like Rocky, I’ve got hit after hit after hit.”
Nicole is still aligned on Englebert Humperdinck, who was friends with Alan Thicke, who performed with Ray Charles, and who lost his wife recently, but she’s not set on it. Robin still has one of the more popular guesses in Tom Jones, while Jenny was thrown by the bow and arrow, sheriff, cowboy and landed on John Schneider aka Bo Duke of The Dukes of Hazzard.
That’s certainly been the internet’s favorite guess, with even the nicknames lining up. Ken was touched by his story and his performance and said that everyone is here for Donut along on his ride of healing and love.
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In this moment, the Final Four was set to be slashed in half, with two advancing to the next round and two getting the boot right now. While everyone gave standout performances, it felt like an obvious choice to us for Sea Queen to slip into the fourth position. She’s the only one who didn’t really bring as much heart to her performance.
At the same time, she’s a bona fide legend and everyone knows she’s Macy Gray (it has to be!), so would that factor into it? That’s the way it went with the audience and panel, too, with Sea Queen the first to unmask tonight.
- Robin Thicke: Macy Gray
- Jenny McCarthy: Macy Gray
- Ken Jeong: Macy Gray
- Nicole Scherzinger: Macy Gray
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It’s rare that the entire panel agrees on someone, but it’s also rare that someone with such a unique signature sound enters the show. No one sounds like Macy Gray so it’s hard to imagine anyone underneath that mask.
Luckily we didn’t have to find out about a secret doppelganger because it was indeed Macy Gray. When asked why she wanted to do the show, Macy told Nick, “It’s an awesome show. My friends are the stars, you included. It’s always fun with the fans.”
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While Donut didn’t have the strongest vocal performance, he has the heart of this audience and that left us a little stumped where it could go from here. Cow blew the roof off the place and Gazelle raised her own bar, but we couldn’t see this panel not being touched by Donut, so our feeling was that would hurt Gazelle. Based on voice and performance, though, it should be Donut to go here.
So was it sentiment or vocal prowess on the night that made the difference? Tonight, heart won out as Donut and Cow advanced to the next round, leaving poor Gazelle — the last woman standing — to have to unmask and reveal her identity.
- Robin Thicke: Ashley Tisdale
- Jenny McCarthy: Ashley Tisdale
- Ken Jeong: Constance Wu
- Nicole Scherzinger: Gina Rodriguez
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This was always going to be a tricky one as Ken was so certain, and quite emotional about it, that this was his friend Constance Wu. Meanwhile, social media has been just as certain that it’s Janel Parrish. So what happens if Ken’s dear friend isn’t under the mask? It actually had us feeling a little anxious by proxy for him.
It would also mean, if the internet has been right all along, that no one on the panel threw out the right name. When it came down to it and the mask came off, the whole panel was left flabbergasted as the internet was like, uh, yeah, and Janel Parrish was revealed. Ken’s reaction was definitely shock and a little uncomfortable.
“Singing is my first love, it’s the first thing I ever did as a kid,” Janel told Nick as to why she did the show “Somewhere along my journey, singing became my biggest fear and my biggest insecurity. As I became known for acting, it almost felt like to say I was a singer was a lie, but to come out here as this gorgeous Gazelle and nobody knows who I am, I got to tap into my voice and now I feel like a singer! And that’s because of you guys, thank you!”
“And Ken, I’m sorry that I’m not Constance, but I love you and thank you for being my champion this season” she added.
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(“Drift Away,” Dobie Gray) Donut brought joy to his final performance, along with that same rich tone we’ve come to love and expect from him. It was a stronger overall vocal performance than the first time we saw him, though still not as strong as when he had us all tearing up in previous weeks. Still, he’s got such a rich, raspy tone, it’s the kind of voice that’s cocoa in front of a roaring fire while it snows outside the window.
Guesses: Donut revealed that most people don’t know that he loves to sing, which cements the idea that he’s better known for something else (like acting). He’s done nearly 20 albums, has five number one songs, more than a dozen top ten songs and yet he’s still not know for this talent. And so, she wanted to put him on this show so people could see this side of his talent.
All of this makes John Schneider an even stronger guess as he’s been known for his film and television roles mostly from The Dukes of Hazzard to Smallville and on and on, while maintaining a successful and under-the-radar recording career, as well.
When asked what winning would mean to him, he said, “God knows that I could really, really use some joy in my life right now. And winning would give me great, great, great joy.”
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(“Take a Bow,” Rihanna) Cow definitely set a high bar by even taking on Rihanna and he nailed it. The texture of his voice was so smooth, we found ourselves melting along with him. It didn’t feel quite as emotionally connected as it could have been, but there’s no denying an incredible R&B vocal pouring through a silly costume. He had total command, and with those slow areas and nowhere to hide, he slayed this.
Guesses: With a very specific clue, Cow said he’s won Grammys but never had the moment televised and never been able to give a speech, so we’re talking one of those many, many non-televised categories. As such, he’s never been able to give credit to his mother for all of his accomplishments.
He also shared that while he’s helped other artists fulfill their dreams, he sometimes feels like he hasn’t had his moment to be recognized as an artist and creator. He also teased that this song was one he “helped bring to life” and is “near and dear” to his heart.
When asked what winning would mean to him, Cow said, “This has been an absolute dream come true because I’ve always been a fan of the show. To win the trophy would just be the icing on top of a very beautiful cake.”
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RUNNER-UP: UNMASKING 16
At this point, we’ve got two great artists who really know how to sell a song and a story. Donut has been the heart of the season, and against anyone else we might say he deserves the win. He still might get it, too, because people love sentiment. But how can you deny the two incredible showstoppers Cow gave tonight, including that first one that’s among the best ever?
With the final big announcement of the season, Nick revealed that the winner is… (dramatic pause here) … Cow. We couldn’t agree more, as he did everything right tonight to cement that. A runner-up spot for Donut is a stellar achievement and should still achieve his goal of becoming more known for his voice.
- Robin Thicke: Tom Jones
- Jenny McCarthy: John Schneider
- Ken Jeong: Tom Jones
- Nicole Scherzinger: Engelbert Humperdinck
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It’s really weird that after saying he wasn’t best known for his singing, three of four panelists choose well-known, dare we say legendary, singers. These are definitely the sharpest tools in the shed. Only Jenny was aligned with what the internet has been thinking for months at this point.
After the unmasking, she was free to celebrate as John Schneider proved his singing prowess once and for all with a beautiful journey of healing on this show. When asked where he did the show, John said, “I have always considered myself a singer who will act for food. And, Robin, Ihave had five number one songs, so I have sold millions of records, but nobody knows it .. until now!”
Talking about his wife, he added, “I’m honored to be here. I know that my bride would be delighted. SHe would have been back there having a great time. It’s really great to be part of this, to be part of what you’re doing. My wife passed in February, this year, so that’s why it’s still so fresh.”
“But I think it’s always going to be fresh,” he continued. “Make sure that if you love somebody desperately, make sure before you go to sleep tonight that they know it. Make sure that they know that you love them.”
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WINNER: UNMASKING 17
Cow was a world-class artist all season long, delivering great performances week after week. He had so much character in that costume, but he couldn’t quite hide his identity from the true fans (assuming they’re right). Tonight, he took it to the next level with a dance breakdown and one of the show’s most memorable numbers of all time!
- Robin Thicke: Ne-Yo
- Jenny McCarthy: Billy Porter
- Ken Jeong: Usher
- Nicole Scherzinger: Ne-Yo
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This one started to seem more and more obvious as the season wore on, and when he just stood there and sang, Nicole finally picked up on those vocals. It’s a testament to how he changed up his mannerisms and speaking so much, he threw someone who actually knows him well — and he threw Nick, too.
“I was giving real girl cow realness, dammit,” Ne-Yo said to explain how he threw both Nick and Nicole, showing off some of his cow sass and flair.
“I grew up in a house full of women … until I was, like, 16. I couldn’t tell you what the colors of the walls in the bathroom was ’cause I never got in there, never! But what I learned in the house is the strength of a woman, I’m talking physical and mental, I learned how to be a listener, I learned how to not be afraid of emotion, I learned how to stand on my own two. I learned these things from these women. My mother has been my rock my entire life, she still is to this day, so this one is for you, Ma.”
He then started listing off his kids, before turning to Nick and saying, “I ain’t got as many as you, but we close.”
The Masked Singer returns in 2024.
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