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‘The Masked Singer’ Winner Talks ‘Surreal’ Experience & Feeling ‘Empowered’ in Costume

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Masked Singer Season 9 Finale.]

And with that, another celebrity has walked away with the Golden Mask Trophy.

The Masked Singer ended its ninth season with only two contestants left standing — Macaw and Medusa — and after each performed twice, it was just a matter of voting. Macaw came in second and was revealed to be singer David Archuleta, then it was time for the winner, Medusa, to unmask. And in that costume was singer and songwriter Bishop Briggs.

Here, Briggs opens up about her win and her time on the show.

Congratulations on winning!

Bishop Briggs: Thank you. This is the coolest thing ever!

How does it feel, especially since you’ve had some time to process it since the win and now you’re looking back at your time on the show?

Oh my gosh, it feels like a complete whirlwind that this even happened and the fact that I won is so surreal. I think the only thing that I’ve won in the past was Most Improved in fifth grade for math. So this is definitely an upgrade.

What made you say yes to doing the show?

I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time, really since it started, and I also really liked the message behind the show, that it was about the voice, it was about the emotion that you were evoking. It wasn’t about how you looked.

Talk about that costume. What appealed to you about in the beginning, and how did you feel about it in the end? Because you spent quite some time with it.

I felt very empowered. Medusa is a very empowering person. I felt like the snakes were very charming, which helped me throughout the competition. I started naming the snakes, I would pet the snakes when we had a tough day. So I got very attached.

How was moving in it?

It was an adventure. I wore a belt that had the snakes attached to it, and so that could throw off my balance a little bit, and there were heeled boots. But the headpiece was heavier, and that was something that definitely had to be perfected in terms of making sure it stayed still and didn’t reveal my face. And so I would start the songs being able to see, and then maybe sometimes by the end, I wouldn’t be able to see it all.

Did it affect any of your song choices?

Oh, no. I for sure just performed the way that I would normally perform, and I hoped that the mask would stay on, especially when I kneeled at the end of “Take Me To Church,” I just hoped that everything would stay put.

That performance was so good.

Oh, thank you! I love performing that so much.

Nicole was the one to ring the Keep it On bell, and you got emotional after she did. Talk about that moment.

Oh my gosh, yeah. In the room, everyone was chanting “Take it off!” and the cameras were all around me and I really thought this was the moment that I was going to be taking off the mask once and for all, and I felt so defeated. And so to have that happen — and it was so much longer, like the chanting of the “Take it off!” it feels so much longer, and I don’t know if it was, so by the time that the Bell happened, it just was such a wave of relief and you really learn in those moments, how much do you want this? How much do you want to be here? I’m not really competitive with others, but I’m really competitive with myself, and so to have made it was such a relief. I feel so indebted to her.

Was there a performance this season that stood out to you?

One of the episodes I sang “New York, New York,” and I did an acoustic version of it, and I grew up with my dad singing “New York, New York” in karaoke bars, so there was a lot of pressure on myself to do it justice and to really create this intimacy. I think there was something with that song in particular that I wanted to make sure that I could evoke that emotion and that everyone in the room could feel that, even though I was just basically standing still in that moment. So I think that was definitely a challenge and something that I hope translated.

Was there a performance that made you think that you could win or make it far?

No, I still am an insecure human being with a head full of thoughts, so I was relieved every single time I made it through each round. All I could say was that I knew I had committed so much passion, time, and energy each week that I really, really hoped that I would go through, but there really was no guarantee.

What went into your song choices all season? It was one powerful performance after another.

Thank you. I feel like it was important to think of songs that I could envision in my own set and songs that had a soulfulness to them and songs that were really a part of my journey as an artist. I feel like that was something I really appreciated about the show giving me the opportunity to do.

Michael Becker/FOX

Talk about figuring out the genres and what you wanted to do vocally for your finale performances.

Just in talking about that artistic journey, “Welcome to the Black Parade” is a song that I would have in my set, and I did a little medley of it when I was last on tour. I have never done the song in its entirety. I’ve never stood on top of a piano with flames behind me. And so to be able to have that song close off my journey was something that meant so much to me on so many different levels, and My Chemical Romance is a band that has always inspired me so much.

Then with Sia, “Elastic Heart,” I felt this as I was performing it, I was telling the story of this show and how it has been, that it’s been about having a thick skin and continuing on and putting my heart and soul into everything and trying my best to not feel defeated. And so to have the combination of both heart and soul meant a lot.

Nicole was the one to figure out it was you. Talk about listening to the panelists’ guesses all season because you stumped them for a while.

Yeah, I’m still an artist that I think people are learning about, and so I wasn’t super surprised that I didn’t get guessed, but when I did get guessed, it’s really strange. You feel very exposed in that moment and you all of a sudden are very aware of how your body is moving and you’re curious if you’re giving any signs away. But when there was conversation about vocalists like Lorde, it was the coolest thing ever.

What are you going to take away from your entire experience on the show?

I think the biggest takeaway is that being authentic can come in many different forms. I’m also going to have so much difficulty without the costume on stage. It was so much fun to be able to have that. But I think the takeaway also was just that there’s something really empowering about embodying someone else on stage, and I feel that the Medusa character is someone that I will for sure take with me.

Where are you going to keep the Golden Mask Trophy?

I think on my bedside, so I can look at it every single day. I can admire it. I can show my son what I have done. I’m not sure where I should put it. I have been thinking about that.

This story originally appeared on TV Insider

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