Don't let the Hamilton clues throw you!

By Rachel Yang
December 16, 2020 at 03:00 PM EST
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

We've guessed Jellyfish, Seahorse, Whatchamacallit, and more correctly. We bet $1 trillion that Sun is LeAnn Rimes. But from the beginning of season 4, one contestant has confounded EW's Masked Singer sleuths: Mushroom. Now, as we head to the finale, we're finally ready to lock in our prediction of the singing fungi, who's quite possibly the hardest contestant to guess in the show's run.

Some fans think he's Work It star Jordan Fisher, while others are convinced singer and dancer Todrick Hall has to be under the mask. And while more than a few clues work for the two — likely a deliberate move on the producers' part — we think Mushroom is another performer: "The Man" singer Aloe Blacc.

Credit: Al Pereira/Getty Images

Let's get something out of the way first — the Hamilton clues. Like with Serpent, Mushroom's clue packages contained numerous references to Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical (e.g. "Young, scrappy, and fungi"), but that seems way too obvious to point to an actual cast member. Blacc, who rose to popularity with his song "I Need a Dollar," was featured on 2016's Hamilton Mixtape. And we have history on our side, as many people thought Serpent was Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr., when it was actually viral singer Dr. Elvis Francois.

Moving on, let's talk about other major clues favoring Blacc. Mushroom's first package had him holding a briefcase, and he mentioned he started out "in the rat race, at a job that may surprise you." Well, Blacc briefly worked in the corporate world for Ernst & Young before his career took off.

In the third package, Mushroom's "secret confidant" told us he was class president in high school and had a GPA over 4.0. Blacc previously said in interviews that he was senior class president and had straight As in high school and he went on to attend USC, where he was a Renaissance and Trustee Scholar, and studied psychology and linguistics.

Mushroom being brainy was referenced in past clues too, as he described himself as a "a healer and a scholar" in his first package, and his second onstage clue was a brain on a platter. "Healer" could be a nod to the social messages in his music, reflected in album titles like Shine Through and Lift Your Spirit, and to his stage name, Aloe (as in aloe vera).

Then, Mushroom revealed on stage after his third performance that "the name that I go by now was not my name when I first sprouted." Of the three most popular guesses for Mushroom, only Blacc fits, as his real name is Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III. As far as we can tell, both Fisher and Hall have used their real names throughout their careers.

Now, let's introduce the supporting cast of clues, if you will. First off, we've seen lots of hats throughout Mushroom's tenure on the show, from the "If you want to know who's behind my mask, you’ll need to figure out who’s under my hats" line in his sneak peek episode, to the hat in his third clue segment, which points to Blacc's penchant for caps (seriously, look up any video or photo of the guy — he is never not wearing a hat). And from the first package, there was the "sprouted up underground" line, and Blacc was part of an underground hip-hop duo called Emanon.

Next, in Mushroom's second package, the orange slice and glass of OJ likely referenced Blacc's upbringing in Southern California's Orange County. Then, we saw two black beetles. In 2016, Blacc voiced a Frog on the animated series Beat Bugs and covered the song "Rain" by guess who — the Beatles.

In the same package, Mushroom was holding a Mean Girls-esque burn book that said "Mushroom needs a clue" with a picture of a buck, which is also slang for a dollar, and one of Blacc's most popular songs is "I Need a Dollar." Speaking of songs? Mushroom's Super Six Super Clue was an alarm clock and Blacc co-wrote and sang the infectious track "Wake Me Up" by the late DJ Avicii.

Later in the second package, Mushroom said he had "totally different roots" and was "around strange food and customs." Blacc's parents are Panamanian and he's said he grew up with Caribbean cooking and music like merengue and salsa, which perhaps made him feel different from his classmates.

A bull is shown in the third package, and Blacc attended the Melbourne Red Bull Music Academy in 2006. Mushroom's Super Six onstage clue also said "Cooling Court," again a reference to the calming aloe vera plant. Lastly, his safe clue on stage said he was connected to panelist Robin Thicke, and both Blacc and the "Blurred Lines" singer performed at an M&M's sponsored event in 2016.

The numbers add up for Blacc too. Before the season began, the show teased that there were 46 Grammy nominations between all the celebrities. There are 45 among contestants already revealed and EW's guesses Rimes and Nick Carter as Crocodile. Blacc was nominated in 2015, while neither Fisher nor Hall have nominations.

Last but not least, there's the question of Mushroom's ever-changing voice. He's gone high, he's pitched his vocals down, he's channeled a '50s crooner in a Christmas song, and everything in between.

Just listen to a few of Blacc's songs below to hear him flex his own versatility. Tell us that's not Mushroom!

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Episode Recaps

The Masked Singer

Celebs compete in this reality-singing TV show while wearing elaborate costumes to conceal their identities. Can you guess the celebrity behind the mask?

  • TV Show
  • 3
  • Wednesdays at 08:00 PM
  • In Season
  • Fox