Sweet Lollipop won The Masked Singer South Africa, with Holly Rey taking the trophy home

Reading Time: 3 minutes

During the spectacular local season finale of the world’s wildest singing contest, the lovely Lollipop was crowned the first queen of The Masked Singer South Africa stage. The disguised celebrity taking Lollipop to the top and keeping her identity intact until the end was multi-platinum singer, songwriter and SAMA winner Holly Rey.

Holly clinched the coveted Golden Mask Trophy when Lollipop crushed the statuesque romantic hero Rhino in the show’s epic smackdown. In this battle of note, the two costumed contenders performed a duet of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”.

The show started with two face-offs during which the remaining four costumed contenders had to secure their spot in the smackdown. First, Lollipop eliminated Lion, whereafter Rhino chopped down Tree.

When Lion took off his mane, the king of the jungle was unmasked as award-winning actor Abdul Khoza. Then, Tree turned out to be the suave, multifaceted entertainer and business mogul Maps Maponyane.

The riddle of the Rhino, which gave the show’s four celebrity detectives sleepless nights, was also finally solved. The Masked Singer South Africa’s runner-up, Rhino, was Afrikaans music superstar Kurt Darren.

But how did the show’s detective panel – J’Something from Micasa, Somizi Mhlongo, Sithelo Shozi and Skhumba Hlope – fare in deciphering the identities of the last four masked singers?

For a long time, the sleuths had suspected that the adorable, energetic Simba was one of the Khoza brothers – SK or his younger brother Abdul. In the end, Lion’s last rip-roaring stage act and a recent clue that he is a meditative Zen Lion caused Somizi, Sithelo and Skhumba to settle on SAFTA winner Abdul. However, J’Something went with SK.

Abdul told the audience he loved being part of the show as it’s something his kids can identify with.

With the versatile Tree, who had audiences on their feet week after week, J’Something reckoned it was best to take all clues he had dropped throughout the season. The emphasis on fashion prompted J’Something to name Maps Maponyane.

Sithelo came to the same conclusion by focusing on Tree’s magazine covers. However, the guesses were split down the middle, with Somizi and Skhumba thinking the bespectacled Tree was legendary actor Thapelo Moekena.

Following his reveal, Maps confessed that he always makes important decisions, but participating in The Masked Singer South Africa was the best one ever, as it allowed him to show his “other side.”

After Rhino’s first performance of the evening, J’Something had a light-bulb moment. The detectives had gathered that Rhino could only be a bulky sports star and probably a rugby player. Then, all the pieces of the puzzle suddenly fell into place for J’Something, who realised that Rhino is a professional singer and that all the references to ships indicated that it was Kurt Darren, whose hit song “Kaptein” is an anthem in sports stadiums across the globe.

Since Rhino also let slip that he cares for bugs and giraffes, Sithelo thought her absolute favourite masked singer could be rugby player Jannie du Plessis. Somizi and Skhumba were on the same trail, naming rugby legends Francois Pienaar and Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira.

After his reveal, Somizi gave Kurt Darren a massive compliment, saying he has an amazing spiritual connection with his audience – even with a mask on.

While J’Something was the only detective managing to unmask Rhino, he got it all wrong with The Mask Singer South Africa winner, Lollipop. The palette of her colourful mask reminded him of Sho Madjozi.

It was also a fail for detective Skhumba, who picked Pabi Moloi due to the reference to diabetes Lollipop’s clues.

But Somizi and Sithelo were spot on! Sithelo based her guess on the Lollipop’s certificates, knowing that Holly graduated cum laude. And this is what Somizi had to say: “Lollipop was born to be a history maker. Lollipop was born to be a record-holder. She became the first woman to win Song of the Year after the legendary Brenda Fassie twenty years ago. Lollipop is Holly Rey.”

After her unmasking, Holly raved about all the fun she had on the show. It was like being a kid in a candy store!