The second episode of the all-new season The Masked Singer South Africa, Mzansi’s most fun-filled and famed singing contest, turned out to be a battle of note with four strong-voiced A-listers disguised in spectacular costumes which hide their identity from top to toe.

First, sassy Tortoise took on suave Giraffe, whereafter Diamond sparkled in her exquisite attire in a sing-off against brawny Mielie.

Unfortunately, the panel of detectives – J’Something, Somizi Mhlongo, Sithelo Shozi and Skhumba Hlophe – and the studio audience had to pick a favourite after each battle. So, Tortoise slowly marched to the danger zone, where Diamond later outdazzled her in the final vote.

Only supersleuth Somizi guessed correctly that superstar comedienne and actress Celeste Ntuli was the superb entertainer disguised as Tortoise.

The mysterious case of Tortoise started with a fun clue package shot in an all-pink salon, where the show’s Men and Women in Black pampered the confident turtle girl. Between the powder-puffing, toenail-buffing, and exchanging a seemingly useless hair straightening iron for a hair dryer, Tortoise shared some vague snippets about herself.

“I might still be a little slower than most, but my career isn’t,” Tortoise revealed. She also mentioned that she misplaced an essential gadget while travelling abroad, which almost ruined her entire holiday. Furthermore, she changed career paths and counted meeting her favourite entertainer of all time as a highlight among her many different life experiences.

From these obscure clues and Tortoise’s mind-blowing performance of Lebo Mathosa’s “Free”, detective Skhumba highlighted this glam queen’s love for cosmetics. But why did she put so much emphasis on her hair dryer, and what was the significance of the magic hat when she referred to meeting her entertainer idol?

Skhumba wondered if it meant she had dreadlocks and her music was her magic. Based on his findings, Skhumba guessed that Tortoise might be Thandiswa Mazwai, Thembi Seete or even Sophie Ndaba.

Somizi also commented on Tortoise’s glam squad and her favourite entertainer. However, Somizi had visions of comedian Cedric the Entertainer, indicating that Tortoise also made a living from her funny bones. In addition, Somizi noticed that Tortoise is a self-aware and overconfident lady, which resulted in her being single

and loving it. So, Somizi believed that either Relebogile Mabotja or Celeste Ntuli was hiding inside Tortoise’s shell.

Raving about Tortoise’s performance, Sithelo’s gut feeling was that Tortoise was a childhood star or someone whose career took off very fast. The names crossing her mind were Hulisani Ravele, Tumi Morake or Thuso Mbedu.

However, J’Something latched onto the supersized pencil he spotted at the end of Tortoise’s clue package and her passion for everything pink. So, the beloved muso gauged that Tortoise was an author, and because even her book was pink, it might be Bonang Matheba. Another glam girl who matched J’Something’s deduction was Ayanda Thabethe.

Once J’Something was allowed to ask Tortoise one direct question, her reply provided more clarity – or not. Upon enquiring if we had seen her on stage before, Tortoise replied, “Big screens, small screens, stage, I’ve done it all.”

That’s why J’Something decided on Bonang Matheba. Somizi named Celeste Ntuli. Sithelo picked Thuso Mbedu, and Skhumba was “absolutely positive” that the hidden celeb was Thandiswa Mazwai.

After all the evening’s sterling performances, the votes were in, and host Mpho Popps announced it was time for Tortoise to show her face, the detectives had to lock in their final guesses.

Despite his initial assertion that Tortoise was Bonang, J’Something couldn’t forget that colossal pencil and changed his mind to distinguished storyteller and songwriter Buhle Mda from The Soil.

Meanwhile, Sithelo noticed Tortoise’s mannerisms and how she held her hands while waiting to show her face. As Sithelo gauged that the to-be-unmasked celebrity was “a little bit older”,  she settled on Tumi Morake. Skhumba agreed, but Somizi went with Celeste Ntuli.

Somizi nailed it!

However, Skhumba shared that he had an inkling that it might be Celeste when Tortoise crawled to the danger zone lair but he was fooled by thinking she was currently overseas.

Celeste confessed she was disappointed not to be part of The Masked Singer South Africa’s first season and had great fun on stage. “I’m a comedian and love making people laugh. Also an actress. But this made me feel like I’m a character and a singer.”

She also came clean with some clues. She lost an iPhone and a boyfriend abroad; luckily, the phone returned. The famous entertainer she met was multiple award-winning international actor and comedian Dave Chapelle.

The Masked Singer South Africa, proudly sponsored by Andolex®, airs on S3 on Saturdays at 18:30. There are rebroadcasts on SABC 1 on Thursdays at 21:00 and on S3 on Fridays at 18:00