This post contains spoilers from Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.
It was anything but a silent night on The Masked Singer's season 4 finale Wednesday.
Host Nick Cannon promised the episode — where Crocodile, Mushroom and Sun competed for the Golden Mask trophy — would be "a gift better than anything under your tree" and called the finalists the show's "strongest power vocalists of all time."
Crocodile opened the evening with a performance of "Open Arms" by Journey. Prior to taking the stage, Croc recalled in his clue package how he saved up his money as a kid to buy the band's 1983 album. "Growing up, my family was dirt poor, so I mowed lawn after lawn just to afford my first album, Frontiers by Journey," he said.
The reptile also shared that The Masked Singer gave him "the freedom to completely express the real me that for so much of my life has been hidden."
After each performance, the finalists gave a holiday gift to a panelist who "is near and dear to their hearts," Cannon, 40, explained. Crocodile gave Jenny McCarthy an angel. "Thank you for your kind words," he said to McCarthy. "You helped me believe in myself a little bit more.
Mushroom followed up with a version of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish." In his clue package, Mushroom called his daughter his inspiration for his character.
"I channeled her mannerisms, her voice, her love of dressing up every time I step out on this stage and she doesn't even know I'm doing this," he said.
Shroom suspected most viewers wouldn't connect his identity to his music. "While most of you have shopped to my music in the supermarket and heard me on the radio, not a lot of you know me by name," the fungus said. "But I hope tonight changes all that. I want to win The Masked Singer in the name of all of those who have ever felt different."
Mushroom gave his holiday present — a gallon of mushroom cookie dough ice cream — to Nicole Scherzinger. "You’ve been so sweet to me with all your compliments so here's a sweet holiday treat for you," he said.
Sun closed out the finale with Brandi Carlile's' "The Story," which she called "a tribute to the person who has loved me through some of my toughest times." "He's always encouraged me to fly and our bond is a testament that love really does conquer all," Sun said in her clue package.
The bright star also hinted that viewers might know her from different eras of her career.
"I've been in the industry a really long time, since I was a kid," Sun said. "Depending on when you discovered me has probably influenced who you think I am. You might see me as the little girl with big dreams or a pop princess or the more grounded woman I am today, but as the Sun, for the first time in my career, I've gotten to show that I'm all of those things in one."
For her gift, Sun presented Robin Thicke with mistletoe — "A little something to say thank you for all your compliments and encouragement this season," she explained.
"As far as I'm concerned you're meant to be The Masked Singer," Ken Jeong told Sun. "You're amazing."
Once all three finalists gave their last performances, the judges and virtual audience voted on who they wanted to win. First, Cannon announced that Crocodile took third place. The panelists' final guesses for who could be under the costume included Nick Lachey (from Jeong), Jordan Knight (from Scherzinger) and Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough (from Thicke).
But when the toothy pink mask came off, another Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter —who McCarthy guessed — turned up underneath. "I had to pull every trick out of the bag that I had," the boy band member, 40, said after being revealed. "I mean, there are some talented artists [that have] been on this show. And I'm just grateful to be here.”
Carter also gave a shoutout to his wife Lauren Kitt, son Odin, 2, and daughter Saoirse, 14 months. "To my family back home, I love you," he continued. "My two little croc-lings, Daddy’s coming home."
Then Cannon revealed the winner: Sun!
Before she could take off her glowing getup, the panelists offered up their last guesses for Mushroom. McCarthy, 48, suggested Ne-Yo and Jeong, 51, thought it could be Pharrell Williams. Scherzinger, 42, and Thicke, 43, agreed on Aloe Blacc — and they were right!
"Music is truly the language that connects us all and I got a chance to experience that and do just that here on this stage," the "I Need a Dollar" singer, 41, said following his unmasking.
Ahead of Sun's reveal, Cannon awarded McCarthy the Golden Ear trophy for making four correct impression guesses, the most of any judge.
Then McCarthy offered up one final guess: that Sun could be LeAnn Rimes. Scherzinger agreed with McCarthy, but Jeong proposed Mandy Moore and Thicke tossed out Katherine McPhee.
McCarthy proved why she earned the Golden Ear trophy — and Scherzinger got it right once again — when singer Rimes appeared under the Sun outfit.
"This has been an overwhelming experience," the two-time Grammy winner, 38, said. "I didn’t expect this to be this much work. I have to say. I was thinking like, I'll come on, this will be easy. This will be fun. And it was a blast.”
The Masked Singer spinoff The Masked Dancer premieres Dec. 27 and The Masked Singer will return in the spring for season 5.
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