Why Winning The Masked Singer Season 8 Was So Validating For Amber Riley, Despite Her Past Accolades

The Masked Singer Season 8 has concluded over at Fox, and while there were some complaints from fans regarding the format change, it was still an enjoyable season. That was thanks in no small part to the competitive finale between Harp and Lambs, who were later unmasked and revealed to be to be actress Amber Riley and women’s singing trio Wilson Phillips. Riley outlasted Wilson Phillips and many other notable celebrities for the win and told CinemaBlend that even with her past singing accomplishments, her win was so validating. 

I had a chance to speak to Amber Riley about The Masked Singer, and what it was like having panelists like Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger praise her and her singing. The former Glee actress confirmed that even with everything she’s done so far in her career, it still felt great to get that type of praise and win:

Robin Thicke’s A Beautiful World, that album is like one of my favorite albums, right up there with Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill and [John Mayer’s] Continuum–which is why I actually ended up doing ‘Gravity’ on the show. And Nicole Scherzinger, I mean a vocalist, a superstar, a triple threat. Hearing your peers and people that you admire be so genuine in what it is that they’re saying to you, it just felt so genuine which is literally what brought me to tears. Hearing people that you admire validate what you already feel about yourself. That was such an invaluable experience.

Amber Riley might have a ton of cred in the singing world for her roles in Hollywood and on the stage, but there’s still something validating about being complimented on her performances by other singers that she admires. As she mentioned, Riley actually cried underneath her mask during the finale after hearing what some of The Masked Singer panel had to say after she performed. 

The Masked Singer Season 8 gave Amber Riley a lot of chances to receive validation as well, as she went undefeated in all five episodes she competed in. She also outlasted some pretty talented singers along the way, such as NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick and "This Is How We Do It" singer Montell Jordan. To stand tall against performers who put out top songs on the radio is an impressive feat, regardless of Riley’s prior singing credits. 

While there may have been some criticisms about the polarizing format change that led to more eliminations in The Masked Singer Season 8 compared to past seasons, it’s hard to dispute its effectiveness. The Masked Singer crowned the right person this season, and Amber Riley is once again the champion of a celebrity competition. Between this and her win on Dancing With The Stars years ago, I’d love to see Riley continue this run and dominate on other shows. 

As far as what’s next for Amber Riley after The Masked Singer, fans will be able to catch her on television as part of the 2023 TV schedule when she appears on Celebrity Name That Tune on January 11th at 9:00 p.m. ET. Riley is also featured in the docuseries The Black Beauty Effect, which highlights the impact Black women have had in the beauty industry. The series is currently available to watch on XUMO and the Black Experience channel on Xfinity. 

As for The Masked Singer, Season 9 will premiere on Fox in 2023. Fortunately, that means that fans won’t have to wait long at all to see new celebrities and singers competing in strange and impressive costumes, and for Ken Jeong to make a few wild guesses about who the Fox series invited for the new season.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.