Although we have yet to be introduced to Group C on The Masked Singer, I’m fairly confident we have already met the winner of this season: whoever is behind that Seahorse mask. Her vocals are so strong that the show should just announce her as one of the finalists early.
Seahorse dazzled the panel and became a front runner from the first note she hit in Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World).” But after she nailed Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” one of the hardest songs to sing, panelist Robin Thicke praised her saying only a handful of singers are that talented. He was right, which makes narrowing down her identity much easier. I know three musicians who could hit those high notes and I am convinced one of them is strutting across The Masked Singer stage as Seahorse.
When Thicke listed some of the singers who had the range to pull off a Celine Dion song, he made a glaring omission by leaving out Tori Kelly. The singer-songwriter has one of the best voices of this generation and is my top choice for the true identity of Seahorse.
In the first clue package, Seahorse was sitting around a campfire drinking tea while a teapot was boiling. For her tour meet and greets, Tori Kelly spends time with her fans and calls it “Tea Time With Tori.” During quarantine, she continued the series and called it "Quarantea with Tori."
Also, on September 23, she tweeted "got some thangs brewinn y'all." That date also happens to be the day The Masked Singer season 4 premiered. Just saying.
got some thangs brewinnnn y’all✨☕️ pic.twitter.com/FyFscVaNOu— tori kelly (@torikelly) September 23, 2020
Plus, one of the dogs sitting around the campsite looked almost identical to Kelly’s dog: Frodo Murillo-Baggins.
For her first performance, Seahorse changed her voice throughout the song, which threw off the judges. Not only does Kelly have an amazing voice, but she can do spot on impressions of other singers, like Britney Spears:
She was likely trying to trick the panel, but the ending of the song was reminiscent of the style of her “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” cover.
In Seahorse’s second clue package, she said that she had tried when she was younger to “make a name for herself” but she was rejected. When Kelly started out, she appeared on the talent show Star Search but she lost. She was also on American Idol but was sent home early and Simon Cowell famously (and wrongly) told her that her voice was “annoying.”
Seahorse said her rejection kept her “posted up in her room” for years. When Seahorse said this, there was a paper heart behind her with the phrase “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes,” a song from Cinderella. After Kelly was cut from American Idol, she posted videos on YouTube and gained a following singing covers from her room. She also has a song off her 2013 EP called “Paper Hearts.” She did not sing the famous Disney song referenced in the clue package, but she did cover “Colors Of The Wind” for a Disney compilation album in 2015.
Before singing the Celine Dion classic from Titanic, Seahorse said she has experienced a loss. Kelly’s grandfather passed away and he is mentioned in her most recent album Inspired by True Events. The song “Your Words” is about the advice he gave her which she shared before performing at Capitol Studios.
Kelly is known for hitting incredibly difficult notes and Seahorse has the same range. At this point, the clues and the voice are all but confirming Kelly is the sassy Seahorse.
Another singer with irrefutable talent that Thicke mentioned is JoJo. It was not his official guess, but it should have been because a few clues link to JoJo’s start in the music industry.
JoJo’s second single was “Baby It’s You” and it featured Bow Wow. During the campfire scene in the first clue package, one of the animals sitting next to the fire is a frog. Last season, Bow Wow was revealed to be dancing in the frog costume. Also the outdoor setting connects to JoJo’s role in the family road trip comedy RV.
In the second clue package, there was a sign with a mouth crossed out as Seahorse pulled up to the Under the Sea Saloon and Rodeo. The sign could have represented someone being silenced. After JoJo’s second album was released in 2006, her third was delayed for years because of label disputes. Her next studio album finally arrived in 2016. The rodeo clue also connects to JoJo’s film career. Her debut movie Aquamarine was about a mermaid, hence the “under the Sea” reference.
And then there's the fact that the heart in Seahorse’s fish tank is broken. JoJo’s most recent album has a song called “Lonely Hearts” and also features multiple songs about heartbreak like “Small Things.” Since her first single “Leave (Get Out),” JoJo has shown off her fiery personality. Maybe she is continuing to display her bold side as Seahorse.
While throwing out ideas about who Seahorse could be, Thicke asked if any American Idol singers came to mind. Panelist Nicole Scherzinger said season 10 Idol contestant Pia Toscano has the range and a quick look at her performances confirms it.
None of Seahorse’s initial clues connect to Toscano’s career, which made me initially think she couldn't be the underwater creature. However, the second set was more convincing. Seahorse said she is “a bit tame” in her usual life and said she was rejected after trying multiple times. As a contestant on American Idol, Toscano had a quiet, shy demeanor. She also originally tried out for the show four times before making it on season 10.
Seahorse said she stayed in her room for years after failing. Despite signing with Interscope Records in 2011, she never released an album with the label. She has released multiple singles over the year but she was not in the public eye until recently when she was cast on Netflix’s music series Westside in 2018.
Seahorse’s bravery in choosing to sing a Celine Dion song so early in the competition is the biggest sign that she could be Toscano. The singer performed another hit by Dion, “All by Myself” on American Idol and recently sang it during David Foster’s PBS special (above). Clearly, she can deliver a pitch-perfect production and she might be doing that again on The Masked Singer.