Warning! The following contains spoilers for The Masked Dancer Season 1 finale. Read at your own risk!
The Masked Dancer's inaugural season has come to a close, and it certainly ended with a surprise. The past few weeks made it seem like The Sloth had a win in the bag and would skate past Tulip and Cotton Candy in the final rounds to claim his prize. That didn't happen, though, and while Cotton Candy walking away as the winner was surprising enough, the reveal that it was Gabby Douglas was super surprising considering who she beat.
Gabby Douglas' win was made all the more impressive when it was revealed that the Olympic gymnast defeated professional dancer and Dancing With The Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Chmerkovskiy has only won a season of the ABC competition but has scored other dancing titles throughout his life on a professional circuit. I truly believed the competition was his to lose, but apparently, the audience felt differently on finale night.
I should also note that Gabby Douglas edging out The Tulip in the competition was a big achievement after the flower was revealed to be Mackenzie Ziegler. While Ziegler may not have the accolades a veteran like Maksim Chmerkovskiy has, she was on Dance Moms for a chunk of her youth and was actually a finalist on Dancing With The Stars Juniors in 2018. To say Ziegler and Chmerkovskiy had an immense advantage over The Masked Dancer's other competitors is an understatement, and makes Douglas' victory a major upset and a bigger shock than anything we've seen on The Masked Singer.
The good news is that there's no major controversy here, and it's not hard to see how Gabby Douglas' Cotton Candy got the votes to win. She hadn't really had a bad performance all season long, and her final dance featured a ton of gymnast moves that, had they appeared earlier, may have made her identity far easier to peg for a vast majority of people.
It did feel a bit cheap for Douglas to pull off those moves considering they looked more like a mat routine than a dance, but I appreciate using what she knew to win. Clearly, it worked on the audience, who crowned Cotton Candy the winner over the more conventional dance routines put on by Sloth and Tulip. She's a former Olympic athlete, so it's no surprise she'd use any advantage she could to win.
Overall, The Masked Dancer had a solid Season 1, and I personally felt the challenge of guessing contestants was much more difficult compared to The Masked Singer. It definitely helps not being able to hear too much of the contestants' voices, which is more or less unavoidable on The Masked Singer. It will be interesting to see if Fox brings it back for another season, and I'll get to enjoy another season of Craig Robinson killing it on stage.