Secrets are never easy to keep, and on Monday night, Maria and Juan Torres were happy to finally let loose a holly-bedazzled, bright and shiny doozy that they’ve been keeping for an entire year.
The newly free news: They’re the winners of the “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” a television reality game show on ABC that pits amateur home decorators across the country against one another to create the most festive holiday light displays.
The Henderson couple received a trophy and a $50,000 prize, and their work can be seen at the front of their home at 2718 Lochleven Way in Anthem.
You can’t miss it. Just look for the more than 32-foot-tall pirate ship and the 20-foot castle.
Monday’s show, during which the Torres’ victory was announced, actually was filmed late last year. According to Maria Torres, producers filmed for about three days in November 2018, then returned in early December for a bit more. It was then that they learned that they had won the competition, but they were bound by contract not to tell anybody until the show ran a year later.
“ABC brought us the trophy, and we put it away in a closet to make sure,” Maria Torres said Tuesday.
But on Monday, the secrecy dissolved, social media channels were alerted and America finally got to share in the couple’s triumph. Maria and Juan Torres watched the broadcast with a handful of family members and friends, who still were in the dark about what they would see.
“We did want to keep it secret,” she said. “It’s no fun if you know who won. It was wonderful to see the reaction.”
The couple have been seriously into holiday home decorating for several years, and their previous awards include fourth-place in an Anthem homeowner association competition in 2012. Three years ago, Maria Torres first entered their home in “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” now in its seventh season.
The display is no small undertaking. The front yard is packed to overflowing inside its picket-fenced borders by lights, candy canes, “Peanuts” characters and other holiday favorites both traditional and less traditional. For example, one display seems to come out of “The Little Mermaid,” and there’s even a Fred Flintstone.
“I love Christmas lights. I don’t care how big a display is or how small a display is,” Maria Torres said.
It even turns out that the $50,000 prize will pretty much cover what they’ve spent on their displays over the years.
“Actually, my husband said he added up what (has been) spent over the last few years, and he believes it was around $40,000 or $60,000,” Maria Torres said. “We’re finally getting our money back.”
Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.