Winner Gabriel Cannon on how he identified Chris

From a dozen, only four remained: “Claim to Fame” contestants Chris, Gabriel, Karsyn and Monay schemed, strategized and survived long enough to make it to Monday’s two-part finale of ABC’s reality competition series.They concealed the identity of their celebrity relatives well enough to remain in the running for the $100,000 prize. But Gabriel put the brakes on Karsyn’s dreams of victory when he correctly named her relative, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.Karsyn Elledge, 22, is the niece of the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. And her exit gave the green light to Gabriel, Monay and Chris – who’d escaped elimination three times when his castmates incorrectly guessed Elvis Presley, Elton John and Billy Idol as his kin. Gabriel, a force when it came to this season’s challenges, won the final matchup in which the contenders had to search haystacks for clues about their current and former housemates.Gabriel’s victory gave him all of the power when it came to the final guess-offs. He earned the right to choose the guesser (and target) for the first ceremony and then decide if he wanted to be guesser or target in the final faceoff. Monay, convinced of Chris’ identity thanks to a lunchbox featuring the silhouette of a brother-sister duo who were “A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll,” guessed Donny Osmond, finally eliminating Chris from the game. (Donny is Chris Osmond’s dad.)’Claim to Fame’ castoff Hugotalks grandpa Jimmy Carter’s health and dating a castmateGabriel, taking his fate into his own hands, decided to guess Monay’s relative, an star who’d been on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Gabriel took his shot with J.B. Smoove and won. Twenty-five year old Monay, born Jerrica Brooks, is the comedian’s daughter. And Gabriel Cannon calls Nick Cannon his big bro.“Six months ago, I couldn’t fathom this happening,” Gabriel tells USA TODAY of the moment he clinched the victory in the series, filmed earlier this year. “It was unreal. The fireworks went in slow motion to me. I could have counted them if I wanted to.”Gabriel, 36, plans to do something philanthropic with his winnings. What makes his victory even sweeter is that on this season’s unforgettable premiere, Carly Reeves declared Gabriel to be “not even, like, smart” during her highly emotional elimination.“They say he was down for the count,” Gabriel says with an infectious positivity that he maintains throughout the interview. “But rumble, young man, rumble! I loved it.”Gabriel says Reeves reached out and apologized, and he understands her slight makes for great TV. Someone “calls the person who wins dumb on the first episode. It’s like, ‘Yo, this is perfect!’ It was just like the stars aligning, (and) God saying, ‘I ain’t forget about you, son,’ and just making everything work out for my favor.”’I can’t regret it’:Tom Hanks’ niece reflects on emotional ‘Claim to Fame’ outburstFor a long while, Gabriel fooled his contestants into thinking he was related to an athlete, which “was the perfect, perfect way to come into the house,” Chris says in an interview. “And we stuck to that until the very end and I go, ‘Why? Why did we not just consider television or movies or film or something else?’”Gabriel seemingly pulled the identity of Chris’ kin out of thin air Monday, while doing a 1970s role play of sorts with Monay, aka Jerrica.“That (clue of) teen idol in the ’70s was big for me,” Gabriel says. A Michael Jackson fan, Gabriel thought, “’If Michael was still with his brothers, with the Afro, who would he be friends with or be rivals with?’ And the only name I could think of was Donny Osmond.”Chris, 32, pinpoints the lunchbox clue as his downfall. With tears in his eyes, the aspiring musician says in the finale that he feels the reality competition has helped him step outside his father’s shadow.“There’s a lot of pressures being in an entertainment family like this, because it’s not only my dad, it’s my aunt and my uncles. And they built a giant empire,” he tells USA TODAY. “(My dad’s) a huge legend, honestly. So to fill those shoes and to try and pursue music, which I have done, it’s daunting, it’s scary.”Chris acknowledges the pressure he felt was internal. When the opportunity to be on “Claim to Fame” presented itself, “I realized, ‘Hey, this is my moment to prove to myself – not to prove to others – but to prove to myself that I can do it.”Now when he goes to the grocery store, he says he gets recognized on his own accord.“I was always Donny’s son, and now it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re Chris from ‘Claim to Fame.’ I’m like, ‘Am I? Oh, I am. Yeah, that’s right.’”Why Eddie Murphy’s daughterShayne didn’t tell the comedy icon about ‘Claim to Fame’ stint

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