Warning! The following contains spoilers for The Masked Dancer's Final Five elimination. Read at your own risk!
The Masked Dancer had a super-strong Final Five headed into the night that, by the episode's end, I really couldn't pin down who was going to be eliminated. Of course, someone had to be, and in what was a decision that was tough for the panel to hear, the Exotic Bird was released back out into the wild. Now that American Idol veteran Jordin Sparks has been outed as the feathery dancer, it seems obvious to me who will ultimately win the competition.
I'm now convinced the Sloth is a shoo-in to take home, and part of that conviction comes in the Exotic Bird's exit. One reason I thought tonight's elimination was so difficult to figure out is that we've now reached a point where the dancing is more or less the same for 3 of the 4 remaining competitors. This is to say, Tulip, Zebra, and Cotton Candy have a very similar serious attitude while dancing, with more of their personality being shown in the post-dance interview.
There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but as I've touched on before, Sloth is someone who injects personality into every bit of the character. We see Sloth acting goofy during a dance routine just as much as they act goofy in the post-interview phase. Sloth has gotten props from Ken Jeong and other panelists for committing to the bit. While the in-studio audience ultimately decides, I think the panel's words influence some voters in making a decision.
As someone who has watched every season of The Masked Singer, I can say that it definitely plays to a contestant's advantage to sticking out if they can make it to the late-game on that show. Specifically, I think of Season 3's Frog, who managed to survive down the stretch with his covers of popular rap songs. It wasn't technically singing on the same level of what other contestants were doing, but it was skilled, and he ended the series in third place, outlasting 15 other competitors.
Sloth is at an advantage in these final episodes because he's different enough from his peers that he won't be competing for votes in that regard. Two similar competitors with similar performances have a much higher risk of splitting the vote between viewers who like their performance, which diminishes votes for both. At least I think so, and this is why I'm thinking Sloth will ultimately shimmy and shake his way to victory by the end of Season 1.
The Masked Dancer airs on Fox Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Do you agree that Sloth has this competition in the bag, or is there another competitor that's going to take it home? Let me know in the comments, and for those in love with this series, check out how I think Craig Robinson is making The Masked Dancer one of the most fun shows of the winter season.