This season of The Masked Singer may as well have been called The Masked Boy Band. Past unmaskings included New Edition’s Bobby Brown, B2K’s Omarion, all three Hanson brothers, and even judge Jenny McCarthy’s husband, New Kids on the Block’s Donnie Wahlberg, who turned out to masquerading as behind-the-scenes poultry disruptor Cluedle-Doo. And throughout Season 5, there was even more ‘90s representation thanks to Mark “The Orca” McGrath, Tamera “The Seashell” Mowry, and Tyrese “The Robopine” Gibson.
But the show saved the best ‘90s/boy-band reveal for last. On Wednesday’s grand finale, the Piglet won Season 5’s Golden Mask trophy and turned out to be 98 Degrees heartthrob Nick Lachey — not AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, or Zayn Malik, as the all of the judges (other than Jenny) had previously guessed before finally getting around to stating the obvious.
Lachey is no stranger to reality television, having hosted Love Is Blind and The Sing-Off and, of course, having had his tabloid marriage to first wife Jessica Simpson chronicled on three seasons of Newlyweds. But it wasn’t his reality résumé or this season’s many easily Google-able clues (the Bruce Willis fandom, the secret birthmark, the connection to the Miami Dolphins’ Dan Marino, the many mentions of a rocky romantic past) that immediately tipped off fans who grew up watching Lachey on MTV. It was just that voice. That porky body and dorky propeller-beanie couldn’t disguise what was left of Nick underneath, even if the panel played dumb for much of the season.