Gabby Douglas Says The Fun Of Being On ‘Masked Dancer’ Was ‘Side By Side With The Olympics’ (Exclusive)

The Masked Dancer crowned its first champion on Wednesday, when Cotton Candy took home the Diamond Mask trophy. After all the final guesses were made, the new champion unmasked herself and revealed herself as Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas!

“I had an incredible time on the show,” Douglas told ET’s Nischelle Turner on Thursday, a day after taking the win on Fox’s hit reality competition series. “I can’t thank everyone enough because the production, The cast, the crew, everyone on set was so patient, so kind, the atmosphere was positive, it was about cheering each other on. I had a great time. “

“I mean, literally, it is shoulder to shoulder with the Olympics,” added Douglas. “It’s up there. I’m telling you, everyone was incredibly sweet and I was able to do something so outside of me, something that is not so normal for me.”

Douglas is a three-time gold medalist who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and was a member of the celebrated Fierce Five, “who captured the hearts and spirits of the world when they won the team event in Rio in 2016.

However, for Douglas, despite being used to pressure, competition, long hours of practice, and performing in front of a large audience, Masked dancer It turned out to be a unique and very different experience.

“I’m used to racing in a jersey, but this was like, I had my whole head on, so many layers at the bottom, and I really came to embody someone who was so sweet, so light and also a joy,” he shared. “It was just amazing.”

While Cotton Candy walked away with the victory, Douglas’s time as the colorful character was not without moments of doubt and danger. Specifically, at the beginning of the season, when she was rehearsing an aerialist sequence while suspended in midair on a metal hoop, she fell hard on stage.

“I’m so lucky and grateful to have a gymnastics background because I’m no stranger to falls. I fall here, I fall there, but I never fell from that high,” recalled Douglas. “I think it was two to three meters tall, and I just wanted to make it so beautiful that I wasn’t paying attention, I took gravity for granted.”

The crash ended up airing as part of her clue pack, and her determination to continue despite the terrifying incident made her love the panelists.

“I was very lucky to have on Cotton Candy’s outfit, her head and her skirt, because that really softened the landing,” she said. “I knew nothing was broken. I knew nothing was seriously injured. I just left with a bruised chin and knee … [but] I woke up all the people that morning. “

While Douglas claimed the championship, he was ex Dancing with the stars professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy who came in second as Sloth.

ET also spoke to Chmerkovskiy, and the celebrated dancer reflected on his time as the fun, furry Sloth and what it was like to perform in costume.

“It was a surreal experience,” Chmerkovskiy said of secretly acting behind a mask. “When I took off the mask, it was a bit liberating, but I was very sad that this was coming to an end, and I was absolutely in love with this experience. But at the same time, it was like, ‘It’s me!'”

While Chmerkovskiy admitted that the competitive side of his nature wished he had taken home the Diamond Mask trophy, he also said that he understood that this show was different from a traditional dance competition, and was more about bringing charisma and fun to each performance.

That said, he didn’t want to do anything less than dazzle when he hit the dance floor, and he felt this was the perfect opportunity to have fun and show a different side of himself.

“This program is called Masked dancer. Not called Someone in a mask who thinks he can dance and maybe he can dance a little. Is named Masked dancer, so I danced with the mask, and as a dancer it was probably a little better and easier for me than many others, “he shared.” But I have to say, you know, the mask and the outfit are a great equalizer. “

Meanwhile, after being a fan favorite and a favorite for most of the season, Tulip ended up taking third place and was revealed as actress, singer, and dancer Mackenzie Ziegler.

For Ziegler, the biggest challenge wasn’t the dance or the pressure to perform. Instead, it was the rigid security measures inherent in competition.

“I tell you it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he reflected. “I wanted to tell my friends so much, I wanted to tell all of my fans, but I’m so glad it finally came out … my mother and sister were the only people who knew about it. Me, because I had never done anything. So “.

While dressing as Tulip, Ziegler had a relatively simple costume when it came to her bodysuit, but her flowery, bulbous mask proved to be a real challenge to her performances.

“For me, it was very easy to dance with my body because obviously I have been dancing in dance competitions forever. So it was quite easy. But the first time I had a test, I put my head and it was actually hitting the walls.” , He said. “It was so hard to watch. I was kind of freaking out.”

“As soon as, you know, I got on stage for the first time, I thought, ‘Oh, this is not so bad,'” he continued. “But sometimes I would get really stressed out, because I was like, ‘I feel like I won’t be able to see when I get on.’

If you can’t get enough insanity in disguise, the long-awaited fifth season of The Masked Singer returns to Fox on Wednesday, March 10 at 8 pm ET / PT on Fox!

Comedian Niecy Nash signed on as a guest host this season, after Nick Cannon tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. However, the longtime host is expected to return later in the season.

To learn more about this wild and wonderful debut season of The masked dancer Look the following video!

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