Charlie Simpson from Busted has been named the winner of The Masked Singer’s latest series. The show, presented by comedian Joel Dommett, sees famous contestants disguised in elaborate costumes singing in front of a celebrity panel who have to guess their identity.
Simpson performed in disguise as Rhino throughout the ITV series, and beat Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson - who was disguised as Phoenix - and All Saints star Natalie Appleton - hiding behind the Fawn mask - in Saturday’s (18 February) finale show. According to overnight ratings, The Masked Singer 2023 final averaged 4.8 million viewers, a decrease from the previous year, which had an average audience of 6.3 million.
This is the second consecutive dip, after the 2021 final episode had an average of 8.6 million viewers tune in – although viewing figures were generally higher during the first two national lockdowns. Here is everything you need to know about it.
What happened in the finale?
The three finalists opened the show with a lively performance of ‘We Can be Heroes’ to kick off the night, but Simpson was the first to perform solo, delivering a powerful rendition of ‘Before You Go’ by Lewis Capaldi while dressed as a cowboy.
Judge Rita Ora said Rhino had her “favourite voice in the whole wide world” before guessing it could be Simpson behind the mask. Guest judge Lee Mack thought that Rhino’s true identity may have been George Ezra.
Former contestant Harlequin, who was previously revealed as singer-songwriter Gabrielle, returned to sing ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ by Labrinth alongside Rhino, and guessed it could have been singer James Arthur under the mask.
Who is Charlie Simpson?
Simpson rose to fame with the pop punk band Busted, which produced hits including ‘Year 3000’ and ‘Crashed The Wedding’. The band was initially active between 2000 and 2005.
Alongside his time in Busted, Simpson was also a member of the rock band Fightstar, which initially caused tensions within Busted. This led to Simpson leaving to focus on his more ‘mature’ band full-time. Busted announced their split a few weeks after Simpson’s departure.
The band’s James Bourne and Matt Willis would go on to perform as part of pop-punk supergroup McBusted with members of McFly from 2013, before Simpson’s return in 2015. Busted then resumed activity until 2019. They are currently on hiatus, with the three original members focusing on solo careers.
After his reveal on The Masked Singer, the six-foot-four Simpson admitted that his bandmates in Busted and Fightstar all guessed it was him behind the mask “within the first two seconds of hearing Rhino sing”. “When you spend that much time on stage with people and spend so much time in the studio, it would be very hard for them not to get it pretty much instantly”, he said.
The Busted star admitted he did not expect to win the show and just tried to “remember the lyrics and have fun”. Asked how he found the experience, he said: “I was terrified the entire time because the thing I was scared most of was remembering lyrics. I often forget lyrics to my own songs.”
He added that his last song of the show, ‘Try’ by P!nk, was the only time he did not really think about the lyrics and he just tried to enjoy himself.
Who is Charlie Simpson’s wife?
The singer, who has two children with his wife Anna Barnard, revealed he decided to do the show for his family, saying: “I thought it would be something that my kids would love to watch and also it looked like a really fun show to do.”
Simpson married Barnard, his long-time girlfriend, in 2014 following the announcement of their engagement a week earlier. During a show on his 2015 UK tour, he announced that he and his wife were expecting their first child. In July that year, Simpson’s wife gave birth to their first son, Arlo. In February 2018, their second son, Jago was born.