The Masked Dancer season 1 finale aired on February 17 on FOX, revealing the identities of the final 3 contestants and crowning the show’s very first winner. The two-hour episode included a recap of the season, new performances and clues from the remaining competitors, and final guesses from the panel of celebrity judges.
Read on to find out what happened during the season 1 finale The Masked Dancer, including who won in the end!
BEWARE OF SPOILERS BELOW. Scroll to the end to find out who won, and who was unmasked.
‘The Masked Dancer’ Season 1 Finale Recap
Following an hour-long look back at the “Road to the Finals,” it was time for the final 3 to perform one last time in the hopes of being crowned the 2021 victor. The season 1 Masked Dancer finalists were Cotton Candy, Sloth, and Tulip.
Tulip was the first to perform; before her dance, she reflected on her time competing, saying it “has truly been wonderful.” She referenced being “the youngest in a talented family,” adding that though she once felt “overshadowed” by the person she looks up to, “I’ve proved that I can shine on my own.”
After Tulip danced “Kings & Queens” by Ava Max, Ashley Tisdale told her the show “made her come to light.” The judges were impressed by what Ken Jeong called her “best performance ever,” which included moves only a trained dancer could execute. The panelists guessed she might be Lucy Hale or Mackenzie Ziegler.
Sloth‘s final clue package of the season was full of hints pointing toward his identity. He revealed that while “dancing isn’t really new for me… this is the first time dancing with a partner where I get to be the student.” He said that, by performing masked, “I’m no longer the bad boy.” He also referenced “baby sloth,” suggesting he’s father to a young child.
The panelists called Sloth’s final dance to “Ballroom Blitz” by The Struts “a perfect strike.” Paula Abdul said it’s obvious that he’s been professionally trained. The Sloth’s last Word-Up clue was “magical.” The panelists guessed he could be Hugh Jackman or Channing Tatum.
Cotton Candy said that before being on The Masked Dancer, “my world was full of judgment.” In spite of her enjoyable experience on the show, she revealed that “not everything has been a perfect 10.” She also teased “my training gives me the courage to soar,” even if she’s less comfortable on the dance floor than her competitors.
After Cotton Candy danced to Kesha’s rendition of “This Is Me,” Tisdale was moved to tears and Abdul called it her “redemption.” The panelists guessed she might be Michelle Kwan or Gabby Douglass.
With the season’s performances finally through, it was time for the audience to vote to determine who would win season 1 of The Masked Dancer.
Tulip Finished in Third Place, Revealing Herself As…
… Mackenzie Ziegler!
Ziegler got her start on the reality TV show Dance Moms, but has risen to fame in her own right as a dancer, singer, and actress. She also has amassed a large social media following, especially on TikTok and Instagram.
Ashley Tisdale was the only panelist to guess Ziegler correctly!
Of her time on The Masked Dancer, Ziegler said it was “so fun,” adding that “behind the mask, I could be whoever I wanted to be.” She said she gained a lot of confidence competing on the show anonymous and said it’s “the best thing I’ve ever done.”
The number 11 in Tulip’s clue package represented the year Dance Moms came out — 2011.
Sloth Finished in Second Place, Revealing Himself As…
… Maksim Chmerkovskiy!
Chmerkovskiy is famous for being a world-renowned dancer and former Dancing With the Stars pro.
Of his time competing on The Masked Dancer, he said it was “absolutely the best experience. Sloth is my alter-ego now.” He added that the support he got while competing as the Sloth was “unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced.”
The stethoscope in Chmerkovskiy’s clue package was because he had an arc on General Hospital, and the “Glee” toothpaste was included because he was partnered with Glee! star Heather Morris on Dancing With the Stars.
Cotton Candy Won ‘The Masked Dancer’ & Revealed Herself As…
… Olympic gymnast and gold-medalist Gabby Douglas!
Of her time competing on The Masked Dancer, Douglas said, “This experience has been so amazing.” When asked if it was a challenge to tumble in her costume and mask, Douglas said, “It’s my job to make it look super light, but I’ve never done anything like this before,” adding it was her first time performing without being judged.
Since Paula Abdul guessed Douglas correctly, she won bragging rights as the panelist with the most correct guesses this season.
The clue from Cotton Candy’s package in which she held a chocolate bar over her head was in reference to Douglas’s book Raising the Bar.
The season 1 finale of The Masked Dancer aired on Wednesday, February 17 at 8/7c on FOX.