SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched “The Masked Singer” Season 6, Episode 13, “Finale,” which aired Dec. 16 on Fox.
When it comes to the Queen of Hearts, there’s no playing. Singer/songwriter Jewel was unmasked as the Season 6 winner of “The Masked Singer,” having wowed the show’s panelists and fans while disguised as the Queen of Hearts. Jewel beat out runner-up Todrick Hall, who was unmasked as the Bull.
Jewel told Variety that she signed on to do “The Masked Singer” for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that it allowed her to maintain a work/life balance: “Being a single mom in the music business is really difficult” she said. “And so I’m always looking for opportunities that helped me creatively and allow me to be a mom. I thought this show really fit. It didn’t require so much of my time that it would disrupt my son’s life.”
The singer also appreciated the challenge of trying different performance styles, and she took full advantage of that through her song choices: “Born This Way,” by Lady Gaga; “La Vie En Rose,” by Edith Piaf; “River,” by Bishop Briggs; “She’s Got You,” by Patsy Cline; “Bird Set Free,” by Sia; and “Dream On,” by Aerosmith, which she sang with panelist Nicole Scherzinger.
For the finale, Jewel as the Queen of Hearts sang two more tunes: “What’s Goin On,” by Marvin Gaye, and “Firework,” by Katy Perry.
“I don’t tend to show off my technical ability as a singer,” she said. “My heroes are like Sarah Vaughan, who inspired to sing and Edith Piaf and Patsy Cline. And so this show gave me a chance to focus on my vocals, on pushing myself technically as a singer.”
The Grammy-nominated artist will now release a covers EP of material performed on the show, titled, appropriately, “Queen of Hearts.”
Meanwhile, Jewel added that she felt appearing on “The Masked Singer” also served to showcase the power of self-worth. “I do a lot of work in the mental health space, and I say that our self-worth cannot be tied to anything outside of ourselves. We’re not our name, we’re not our job. And so what if all those things went away. Oddly, that’s what this show allowed me to do. It wasn’t focused on my stories, my name, it was just really based on my heart.”
And that’s why Jewel said she gravitated toward the Queen of Hearts costume. “Because I think heart one of most important things in my life and in the world and what I stand for, and so in a really strange way, this silly, fun show allowed me to share an essential part of myself that was really authentic. First of all, it’s kind of my dream come true because I hate hair and makeup. It’s such an Alaskan girl that most annoying part of my job is getting made up all the time. And so just getting to throw a mask on my head really fast and swift, it’s so efficient!”
Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke correctly guessed Jewel; Ken Jeong chose Renee Zellweger.
Her Queen of Hearts costume was also a nod to her name with its jewel-shape, while other clues touched on moments spanning her entire life. She mentioned growing up in a house that lacked warmth, a reference to her early upbringing at a cabin in Alaska. Then in a clues video, a reference to the tin man from “The Wizard of Oz” related to Jewel’s portrayal of Dorothy as part of 1995’s “The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True.” Another reference to childhood storybooks included imagery of an “Alice in Wonderland” tea party; Jewel’s sixth studio album from 2006 was titled “Goodbye Alice in Wonderland.”
Previous panel guesses for Queen of Hearts included Britney Spears, Kellie Pickler, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Fergie, Renee Zellweger, Ireland Baldwin, Ashley Judd, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Kacey Musgraves, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lawrence, Jewel, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelly Clarkson, Sia, Christina Aguilera, KT Tunstall, Paula Cole and yes, Jewel.
Jewel said she tried to throw off the judges by employing an exaggerated Southern accent in her clue packages. “You have to find a way of being really sincere and only throw them off in ways that are not as important,” she said. “So for me an accent felt really doable. And I’ve also played June Carter Cash in a movie. And I’ve lived in the South a long time. So the Southern accent was really easy for me. And hopefully enough to throw for people.”
As for the Bull, Hall told Variety that “The Masked Singer” helped him tackle his nervousness of singing live in front of people. “Even though I’m a Broadway kid, and for some reason when I’m on Broadway, it doesn’t make me nervous because I’m playing a character. But when I’m thinking just having to perform I get so nervous.”
Hall said the pandemic convinced him to leave his comfort zone and try things he would normally turn down. “So when they called me, I was like, I can’t live like that anymore. I’m not going to be scared. I’m going to go and try it. I would have never thought that I would get that far. I think in my 30s me doing this show has given me so much confidence to be able to say yes to things that might scare you because you can actually make it really far and change some people’s lives, touch people’s lives with your story.”
For the Bull, Nicole Scherzinger got it right with Todrick Hall. Thicke thought it was Sisqo, Ken Jeong picked Taye Diggs, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg selected Adam Lambert.
“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Hall said of Scherzinger. “She’s been one of my biggest cheerleaders and one of the people that gives me so much confidence to keep pursuing things that I’m doing with my career. She’s incredible. She’s a master of singing live and dancing at the same time and looking fierce while doing it. It felt like a really nice safety net to be able to perform and know that she was going to have something nice to say at the end and it also helped make me step it up.”
For the finale, Hall sang “You Gotta Be,” by Des’ree, and “Invisible,” by Hunter Hayes.
Hall’s previous performances included “Drops of Jupiter,” by Train; “What Hurts the Most,” by Rascal Flatts; “Circus,” by Britney Spears; “Make You Feel My Love,” by Bob Dylan; “Rain on Me,” by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande; “Straight Up,” by Paula Abdul; “Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)” by The Script (with guest Jesse McCartney).
“I can’t even express in words how shocked I was that I made it that far and to be up there with people who are legendary and Grammy Award winners — Faith Evans, Natasha Bedingfield, Toni Braxton, Katharine McPhee, David Foster. I mean, I was up there with legendary people. So it was just incredible and further proof that you should just believe in yourself because I come from a very small town of Plainview, Texas. The fact that I even live in LA alone is huge. The number one show in America, competing against people that I grew up listening to, is mind boggling. But it’s just proof that if you work hard, you believe in yourself and you have great work ethic, anything is possible.”
Other names for Bull that had been brought up over the season included Hunter Hayes, Lance Bass, Brian Littrell, Sisqo, Dwayne Johnson, Darren Criss, Justin Timberlake, Brandon Flowers, Rufus Wainwright, Kevin Jonas, Zac Efron, Donald Glover, Anthony Ramos, Leslie Odom Jr., Taye Diggs, Cheyenne Jackson, Lil Nas X, Billy Porter, Usher, Jason DeRulo, Ne-Yo, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Adam Lambert, Jaden Smith, Jeremy Pope, Tituss Burgess, Neil Patrick Harris.
“I know that I have a very specific voice and that I am in a niche audience,” he said. “So if you’re not a person that like loves to like go and hang out with the gays on the weekend or you’re not a big Broadway person or super huge like Disney or YouTube fan, you might not have ever heard it. That’s part of the reason so I did this show, because it was a way for me to introduce myself and my brand and my story and my message to an entirely new audience.”
Jewel (Queen of Hearts) and Todrick Hall (Bull) joined David Foster and Katharine McPhee (Banana Split), Faith Evans (Skunk), Willie Robertson (Mallard) and Bobby Berk (Caterpillar) joined Natasha Bedingfield (Pepper), John Lydon/Johnny Rotten (Jester), “Mama June” Shannon and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson (Beach Ball), Rob Schneider (Hamster), Ruth Pointer (Cupcake), Larry the Cable Guy (Baby), Tyga (Dalmatian), Toni Braxton (Pufferfish), Vivica A. Fox (Mother Nature) and Dwight Howard (Octopus) as the celebrities unmasked on Season 6 of “The Masked Singer.”
“The Masked Singer” entered Season 6 with the return of a studio audience for the first time since the pandemic began. The Season 6 contestants boasted a combined 85 Grammy Nominations and 27 wins, three Academy Award nominations, 12 Emmy Nominations, 12 Razzie Award Nominations, two Super Bowl appearances and two Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The show’s panelists once again competed for a “Golden Ear” trophy based on their first impressions of each masked performer (which McCarthy has won the last two seasons). Jeong and Scherzinger went into episode 13 with two points each, while Thicke and McCarthy Wahlberg had one.
For the Bull, Thicke’s first impression was Lil Uzi Vert; Jeong went with Ne-Yo; McCarthy Wahlberg’s initial choice was Brian Littrell. Scherzinger picked Todrick Hall and got it right. Score point #3 for Scherzinger.
For the Queen of Hearts, McCarthy Wahlberg picked Fergie. Thicke’s first impression was Idina Menzel; Jeong went with Renee Zellweger; Scherzinger picked Carrie Underwood. No one got a point here.
But with three points, Scherzinger dethroned McCarthy Wahlberg as the show’s new “Golden Ear” victor. See you next season!