Every season The Masked Singer has a contestant whose performances are consistently so emotional and so beautiful that they bring the judges to tears, and Black Swan has done that on more than one occasion throughout season five of the Fox reality competition. But who is the woman responsible for those tearful reactions?
Judge Nicole Scherzinger knew her identity since the two are close friends in real life, but the rest of the panel — Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy and Ken Jeong — didn't necessarily know who it was. (Finale guest judge LeAnn Rimes, a.k.a. Season 4 winner Sun, agreed with Nicole — those professional singer ears did not deceive her.)
Black Swan didn't only perform ballads, but the true strength of her voice comes out when she tackles emotional tunes. That strength was enough to push her into the finals alongside Piglet and Chameleon, three very different voices who each could have won the trophy.
The judges went down a few routes as they tried to narrow down the identity of this masked celebrity, who obviously had to be a professional singer. Those runs and that vocal control could NOT come from an amateur...or could they? Like, theoretically it's possible that someone in the public eye has a very, very, very (very) hidden talent for singing, but if you have pipes like that then it's actually rude to not share 'em with the world. So yeah, we were pretty certain this is a pro, and we were also pretty sure we knew who she was — and luckily, we were right.
Read on to revisit the biggest clues about Black Swan's identity, including the judges' best guesses and our own (entirely certain) guess.
The clues so far:
+ Black Swan has covered a monster
+ She was hypnotized by a Hollywood deal she couldn't resist, but it came at a steep price
+ She was once trapped in a castle but a faithful flock flew to her rescue and set her free
+ Doing the show is far out of her comfort zone, and she's been nervous
+ The hardest decision of her life involved letting a person go, then later flying back into each other's lives
+ Her childhood crush was D'Angelo
+ She was once so worried about her appearance so she sent out audition tapes without her face
+ She recently hit a major milestone and decided it was time to take a major leap
+ A glass unicorn to commemorate one of her best friends, an incredible singer who passed away and taught her how to be herself
+ She grew up with a single mom in a one-bedroom apartment, but when she became successful she bought her mom a house
+ Her favorite food is Goldfish crackers, which was her and her mom's favorite snack as a kid
+ She's a huge fan of Mariah Carey and she can't believe she has surpassed one of her records
+ Imagery includes a wanted poster advertising a reward (with "award" in red), a chess piece (a bishop if you want to get specific), a diamond ring, a red square, a dangling pocket watch with the number 5 on it, an X, scales, a rowboat, a globe, a nickel, a penny, three 10s, a backpack with the word "Montana," skydiving, a cat, "spot," a dinosaur, a record player, lawn gnomes, a glass slipper, a stuffed animal with the note "I'm late," an umbrella, a drawing of a little pony, a science molecule, a photo of New Hampshire, and soda
+ Black Swan is a super-fan of Cher, because they've both been a part of iconic fantasy films, and Cher was a part of her world the very first time she shared her voice
+ A fan mail letter says they'll never forget when Black Swan was on Oprah and got the major recognition she deserved
+ Once again, Black Swan wants to tell her younger self to ignore the insecurity
+ Other clues from the semifinals include a maple leaf, a sticker that says "hello my name is 1," an aquarium, the mantra "Be unafraid," and a celebrity VIP lanyard that symbolizes she bumped into Robin Thicke at an afterparty
+ In her final clue package, Black Swan reiterated that she was terrified to do the show because of her stage fright, which might be surprising because she was known around the world before she even got her driver's license
+ She's accomplished her mission to put herself into an uncomfortable position and break through
The judges' guesses: The guesses for this singer were absolutely wild, but after plenty of actor/musician guesses (Anya Taylor Joy from The Queen's Gambit, Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee Simpson, Emily Osment from Hannah Montana, Victoria Justice, Brenda Song, someone from Fifth Harmony), the judges have realized this was more of a musician than an actor and guessed Kesha, Demi Lovato, Becky G, and finally JoJo. Though they continued dropping plenty of other names, including Christina Milian, Mandy Moore, Dua Lipa, Normani, Bjork (ok Ken...), Alanis Morissette and Carly Rae Jepsen.
After her final performance, producers reminded the audience of the most noteworthy guesses from the season: Ashlee Simpson, Camila Cabello, Christina Milian, Demi Lovato, Dua Lipa, Jojo, Kesha, Leona Lewis, Lindsay Lohan, Normani Kordei, and Mandy Moore. The judges' final guesses included Normani, Monica, Demi Lovato, and Jojo.
Our guesses: It took a second, but once we heard her lower register it was clear that this is none other than "Get Out (Leave)" singer Jojo. Here's why: She was notoriously trapped in a bad record deal, she just turned 30 (a major milestone), she's covered T Pain's "Can't Believe It" (aka season one winner Monster), she was born and raised in New England, and she turned down a role in Hannah Montana.
It is: Jojo!
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.