‘The Masked Dancer’ Winner Cotton Candy Says Spill ‘Motivated’ Her

Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 1 finale of The Masked Dancer, “The Finale – One Last Mask!”]

An Olympic gold medalist is now the owner of a Diamond Mask Trophy.

The Masked Dancer crowns its first winner in the February 17 finale, with Tulip (Mackenzie Ziegler) coming in third and Sloth (Maksim Chmerkovskiy) in second. Cotton Candy walks away with the victory, and under the mask is none other than Olympic gold medalist and gymnast Gabby Douglas.

“It was an extraordinary journey,” she tells TV Insider, and as a result of her time on the Fox show, she’s going to “try new things, dance more, and really go outside my comfort zone.”

Douglas opens up about her win.

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What made you say yes to The Masked Dancer?

Gabby Douglas: I’m a huge fan of The Masked Singer. I love being a little detective [trying to figure out] who’s under the mask. When I got approached to do The Masked Dancer, I said, “I have to do this because I love being mysterious and this is something I have never done before.” I love challenging myself and trying new and different things.

What about the Cotton Candy and the costume appealed to you?

I loved Cotton Candy. I still do. They do interviews on set: “Do you like carnivals?” “I love carnivals.” “What do you like to eat at the carnival?” “I love cotton candy.” And so Cotton Candy got presented to me and I was sold.

Did your fall early on affect your approach to the show?

It didn’t affect me at all. I was honestly more motivated to get right back up and to even make it more beautiful and more of this light and airy piece. I loved everything about that number, but I was so grateful to have the whole costume on when I fell because it did pad the landing. But I just got right back up and said, “Let’s run it again.”

You did something very different with each dance. What did you want to show off with each and what went into the decision for the gymnastics-filled finale one?

We wanted to make every single performance different and have a different style — edgy, fun, just a little bit sour here but still sweet — and we also wanted to throw off the panelists. Is she a ballerina? Is she a hip-hop dancer? I asked my producer, “What should we do for the finale? We should go all out. Should I tumble? Would it give it away?” He said, “We have to go out with a bang.” And I said, “Let’s do it. Let’s put everything out on the dance floor.”

Cotton Candy The Masked Dancer Finale Performance

(FOX)

The panelists were guessing ice skaters and gymnasts, and it was Paula Abdul who guessed you. Who had you expected to figure it out?

I had met Paula before and wondered if she’d know, and she did. She is such a doll. I love her so much. But when she guessed me, I had to [stay] in character — “Is it me? I don’t know.” — but secretly I was like, “I love you, Paula, you guessed right!”

How was your detective work when it came to this season?

Some of them I did get right. My family and I love to come together and put in our guesses.

You got a bit emotional talking about your journey as the Cotton Candy on the stage in the finale. Did you think that would happen?

I did because I loved the experience so much. I loved everyone who put so much effort into Cotton Candy’s journey. I was so emotional that day. I was so sad because I just didn’t want it to end.

Cotton Candy The Masked Dancer Performance Semifinals

(Michael Becker/ FOX)

You’ve won things before, but what stands out to you about this win?

I love that I got to go outside my comfort zone. It’s something I’ve never done before and try different styles of dances and not only dance but be in a full costume and stay in character and even do partner work — I’ve never done [that] before ever. I honestly loved everything about The Masked Dancer.