Update: This story was originally published September 23, 2020.
The Masked Singer boasts each episode about the intricate steps everyone on set takes to ensure that each celeb remains anonymous until they are unmasked on the show. But this season, it seems like a producer missed a major giveaway that The Masked Singer's Sun posted on their social media. We now know that country pop singer LeAnn Rimes somehow revealed her identity a year before she was cast as a contestant.
The clue packages combined with said social media drop seemed to confirm this Rimes theory early on. But now that the finale has aired, we know that these hints and one very clear video on Rimes' Instagram led us to the right conclusion.
Original article continues below:
The Most Likely Singer: LeAnn Rimes
When the Sun belted Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” to open season 4, Rimes basically unmasked herself. Last year, a video was uploaded of Rimes singing the same Lizzo song and hitting all the notes in the exact style the Sun performed the track. Usually, the singers on the show do not serenade the audience with songs they have publicly sung before to conceal their identity. This had to have been a huge oversight behind the scenes because there is no denying that Rimes and the Sun’s version of the Lizzo song are identical.
As we have seen with past contestants like season 3's Kitty, sometimes the costumes are another clue. One of Rimes most successful songs is “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” It would have been too on the mark for Rimes to dress as the moon so the next best option would be to masquerade as the Sun.
In the first clue package, there was a card that said “gold member” and mickey mouse ears popped up. Rimes has had multiple albums and singles that have been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Plus, in 1997, Rimes filmed a television special for the Disney Channel called LeAnn Rimes in Concert. She then recorded the song “Remember When” for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration.
The Sun also opened up about falling into a “deep depression.” In April, Rimes spoke to People about dealing with depression and anxiety.
The Sun’s second clue package focused more on her upbringing. She said she missed out on her childhood. Rimes entered the spotlight at a young age. She started off on the competition show Star Search at age eight. She became the youngest person to win a Grammy in 1997 at only 14 years old when she walked away with two awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
This package also highlighted the color blue everywhere. There was a blue watering pail, a lock of hair with a blue tie, and a blue heart that transformed into a blue butterfly. Blue is the name of Rimes' massive debut record and it is also the title of the song that won her a Grammy.
Other standout clues in the second package were the Sun saying she was “burning out ugly rumors” and “over the moon.” After success in country music, Rimes transitioned to a more pop sound. Her track “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” was featured in the movie Coyote Ugly and she made a cameo in the film. Her connection to the cult classic explains the “ugly” and “moon” clues. It could also be argued that she's been at the center of one major ugly rumor thanks to her marriage to Eddie Cibrian.
Additionally, one of the secret service men was holding a red rose. Rimes released a pop remake of Bette Midler’s song “The Rose” in 1997. So far, The Masked Singer is overflowing with evidence that Rimes is the one lighting up the stage.
The Sun finally returned to The Masked Singer stage for the Group A finals and each contestant had a loved one or friend speak and deliver a special clue.
Sun’s “Sol Mate” in her clue package was likely Rimes’s husband and actor Eddie Cibrian. The mystery man spoke in a seemingly fake country accent, which could have been done so that Cibrian could subtly mispronounce words that doubled as clues. When talking about Sun, he said he was “blasting the A/C cause she’s so dang hot.” But because of the slight twang, it sounded like he said E/C which are Cibrian’s initials.
When Sun’s Sol Mate spoke at a campsite, he did so next to a photo of the Northern Lights. Rimes and Cibrian met each other when they were working on a Lifetime film called Northern Lights in 2009. The two were engaged a year later and have been married since 2011.
A string of angels was another important clue highlighted at the campground. The panel pointed out that the angels were wind chimes, but that was a misdirect. The placement of the angels was significant: They were strung together and twisted. Rimes’s fifth album was titled Twisted Angel.
During the presentation of the special robot clue, Sol Mate revealed that Sun has “at least one single that went certified Gold.” Six of Rimes’ singles have been certified Gold including her debut “Blue” and “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.”
So far, it has been fairly easy to connect some of Sun’s clues to Rimes. The addition of her Sol Mate seals the deal. The panel should finally figure out who she is very soon.
After weeks of clues that were practically giveaways to Rimes’s identity, her name was finally mentioned on the show.
Sun’s semi-final clue package explicitly pointed to moments in Rimes’ past with the line about her feeling like she was “five years old again back at dance competitions.” In a 2016 interview with Chicago Tribune, she confirmed winning her first song and dance competition at age five.
Her early start also ties in with the clue about Sun having a really hard time expressing her feelings. When Rimes was interviewed on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan during the pandemic, she specifically said that becoming a musician at a young age caused her to suppress feelings for 37 years. This also connects to the previous clue about Sun battling depression.
The special clue in Sun’s package was her breathing fire. Rimes has a song on her third album, I Need You, called “Light the Fire Within.” It was a clever way to reference her catalog without blatantly pointing to more well-known songs.
Each contestant had a clue hidden in a safe and Sun’s safe clue was for Scherzinger: She last ran into Scherzinger in a bathroom. This hint, combined with previous clues, finally pushed the panelist to suggest Rimes.
It is almost impossible at this point to think anyone else could be unveiled as Sun on finale night, but in case it's all a ruse, there are a few other candidates.
Backup: Christina Aguilera
The Sun has a voice that fills the room so she has to be a super talented female musician. Christina Aguilera’s voice does not directly match the Sun’s vocals, but the Grammy-winning singer does have a range capable of hitting all the big notes the Sun has roared. It is hard to deny that multiple clues can be applied to Aguilera and her career.
Aguilera has plenty of ties to Disney and specifically to Mickey Mouse. She was a cast member on The Mickey Mouse Club television show. Before she released her debut album, she recorded, “Reflection,” the theme song for the animated film Mulan in 1998. She recently sang an updated version of the song for the soundtrack of the 2020 live-action movie. When answering questions after her first performance, the Sun told the panel the mask was like a “reflection” of her.
In the second clue package, the Sun remembered loving the feeling of dirt in her toes as a child which baffled panelist Nicole Scherzinger. The odd line could have been Aguilera hinting at her lead single “Dirrty” from her fourth studio album. There was also a clip of a candy cane in a jar. Another hit song by Aguilera is called “Candyman.”
In week 3, each of the Group A contestants had their special clues fly in via drone. The Sun offered up a magic eight ball, which is a clear connection to Aguilera. According to a Washington Post article from 2000, Aguilera won her first talent show when she was eight. Her debut, eponymous album was certified eight times platinum by the RIAA. Plus, so far in her career, the singer has released eight studio albums.
I am leaning toward the anonymous man in Sun’s clue package being her husband, but if guest judge Niecy Nash was correct that the guy was a boyfriend, then Aguilera is still a decent guess. There were a few obvious clues in her third package that hinted at the vocalist.
The man in Sun’s clue package said, “We realize we don’t need much to be happy. We just need each other.” Aguilera is not married but she has been in a relationship with Matthew Rutler since 2010. They got engaged in 2014. This line from Sol Mate could have been Rutler explaining why the couple has had a long engagement.
Just in case my ears were deceiving me, let’s say Sol Mate did pronounce A/C correctly. Those are Aguilera’s initials reversed and possibly a clever way to hint at her name without being too obvious.
Sol Mate spoke in front of a camping RV and said that he and Sun like to take road trips together. This summer, Aguilera posted a picture with her son standing on the steps of their camper. It was similar to the one shown in the clue package. The caption read, “Escaped into nature for a bit.” Sole Mate said that he has been with Sun during quarantine.
Sol Mate's final clue is the final strong piece of evidence for the Aguilera theory. It could refer to Aguilera’s countless gold albums and songs. However, it could double as a reference to Aguilera’s movie Burlesque which was nominated for a Golden Globe. She also recorded eight songs for the film’s soundtrack, which was certified gold. Basically, Aguilera’s decades-long career is covered in gold, so she could be Sun.
Although there does not appear to be any evidence of Aguilera performing when she was five, she did compete on the singing show Star Search when she was nine. So, it is possible she entered other competitions a few years before.
The only reveal in Sun’s fourth package that signals Aguilera’s identity is the special clue of fire coming out of Sun’s mouth. Before the clue, Sun said, “I now have a hunger and drive in me to win the entire thing.” Aguilera had a song featured on the soundtrack of The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire.
Aguilera has worked with Scherzinger in the past. The two sang together when the Pussycat Dolls opened for Aguilera on her 2007 Back to Basics tour. But it is unlikely Sun would only remember a random bathroom interaction if she had actually shared the stage with Scherzinger. So, while the hunger and fire clues are compelling, they are not enough to make me think Aguilera is a better guess than Rimes.