The Masked Singer is one of television’s most popular shows these days. It pairs world-class vocals with the mystery of a guessing game, a winning combination that keeps viewers coming back. Season six has just wrapped up, and the winner was unveiled as Jewel – former pop superstar of the 1990’s. Jewel, real name Jewel Kilcher, has said that this was the perfect opportunity for her as a mom and a wonderful chance to flex her vocal skills.

The Queen of Hearts is Crowned

Jewel

It all started with 16 contestants, battling it out behind masks to become the winner of season 6. In the end, it came down to two: the Queen of Hearts and The Bull. The Masked Singer costumes are elaborate and designed to hide their wearer’s identity as viewers have fun guessing about who their favorites might be. This year’s Queen of Hearts may have had the most elaborate costume to date – and she took the crown, of course.

It was revealed that the runner-up was none other than YouTube star Todrick Hall. And the winner: Jewel. Jewel hand-designed her own costume because she’s apparently good at everything, and her powerful sultry vocals took the top honor for season 6, beating out the following competitors:

  • Banana Split: David Foster and Katharine McPhee
  • Skunk: Faith Evans
  • Caterpillar: Bobby Berk
  • Mallard: Willie Robertson
  • Pepper: Natasha Bedingfield
  • Jester: Johnny Rotten
  • Beach Ball: Honey Boo Boo and Mama June
  • Hamster: Rob Schneider
  • Cupcake: Ruth Pointer
  • Baby: Larry the Cable Guy
  • Dalmation: Tyga
  • Pufferfish: Toni Braxton
  • Mother Nature: Vivica A. Fox
  • Octopus: Dwight Howard. 

It was an exciting and neck-and-neck season. Clues for Hall included:

  • “He created his ‘own world’ in his garage growing up
  • An image of the Disney Concert Hall
  • He said he’s been on shows and done guest performances
  • Bull ‘is no stranger to house parties.’
  • An image of Carnegie Hall on a party invite.”

And the Queen of Hearts teased:

  • “An image of a tall, brown horse
  • A garden, with a giant chess piece
  • A faux magazine with tabloid-style headlines
  • Wizard of Oz-themed clue package with Tin Man featured in it
  • Says she “left home” when she was “pretty young’ and that it was ‘definitely scary at times’
  • Framed photo of Hillary Swank with ‘BFF’ under it.”

Ultimately Jewel was the winner and when she was revealed as the Queen of Hearts, a whole swath of former ’90’s fans swooned.

The Masked Singer

If you’re not familiar with The Masked Singer, you’re really missing out. It’s both silly and serious – a blend of mystery and raw talent. Wikipedia describes it: “Hosted by Nick Cannon, the program employs panelists who guess the celebrities’ identities by interpreting clues provided to them throughout each season. Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Nicole Scherzinger, and Robin Thicke appear in each episode and vote alongside an audience for their favorite singer after all perform. The least popular is eliminated, taking off their mask to reveal their identity.”

Past winners include:

  • T-Pain “Monster”
  • Wayne Brady “Fox”
  • Kandi Burruss “Night Angel”
  • LeAnn Rimes “Sun”
  • Nick Lachey “Piglet”

And now, Jewel. Although there have been mixed reviews from critics for the series all along, in general it’s been beloved by viewers and their ability to attract names like Hall, Kilcher, Lachey, Braxton and others speaks to the show’s popularity. Fashion is also having a bit of a moment in the sun as the costumes get the runway rundown. 

Jewel: From Van to Vocal Van Gogh

Jewel

Kilcher has had a long path to get from where she started to here. As a single mom who saw the show as an opportunity to continue to be a musician – which she says is a difficult achievement for moms – Kilcher is an endearing winner who touched many hearts with her heartfelt gratitude for winning. In an online speech after her win, Kilcher says, “When I was younger, I had a chip on my shoulder, and I had a point to prove. But I don’t feel that way anymore now. For me, it’s just the joy of seeing what I’m capable of.” She adds, “I never tried to be the most perfect singer. I think if you make people feel something, they’ll go with you on a journey. Wanting to have a long career, I’ve had to bank on that. because if people are emotionally invested on me, we stay together. I’m honored to be surrounded by these other beautiful winners.” 

Kilcher wasn’t always the superstar she is today, however. Born May 23, 1974 in Utah and raised in Homer, Alaska, Kilcher’s childhood background was yodeling. Which explains, “Who Will Save Your Soul?” if you remember the unique sound. A writer, a poet, and a guitar player, young Jewel quickly learned to do it all. Before it was popular, Kilcher was living the #VanLyfe, living out of her car as she traveled around in the early stages of her performing career. The singer’s soulful voice and talent for painting pictures with words helped propel her career. Her first album “Pieces of You” was released in 1995, and since then Jewel has released several more albums and has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards.

A philanthropist who focuses on humanitarian projects, Kilcher has been spending her time running Higher Ground for Humanity and the “Project Clean Water” charity along with serving as the ambassador for ReThink: Why Housing Matters initiative. Kilcher married pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray and had a son – who is now 10 – with him before divorcing in 2014. 

From the days of career building from the back of her van to winning top honors on The Masked Singer, Jewel has always been a charming fan favorite with a true raw talent for vocals. In the wake of her victory, Kilcher is releasing an album of her hit performances of the show. In addition, the singer will be releasing a new album – her first in 7 years – in 2022.

In an interview with People, Kilcher explained, “I always made myself a promise that my No. 1 job was to learn how to be happy, and my No. 2 job was to be a musician. This job’s really difficult. That’s why a lot of people end up drug addicts or kill themselves or have mental breakdowns. So I’ve always taken a lot of time between records and just made records when I felt like it. And I finally got that itch again. I definitely wanted to push myself to do something new, so this is a style I haven’t really done. It’s definitely a pop album. A goal was to push myself vocally, to write more for my voice and to show myself as a singer in a different way, without sacrificing story and lyrics, so I loved doing this record. As I looked at my career, I was like, oh gosh, I’ve never really shown what a good singer I am. And I wanted to remedy that. And so, that was part of writing the album and one of the really fun things about doing the show.”

Congratulations, Jewel! It’s a well-deserved victory.