'Masked Dancer': Exotic Bird Gets Her Wings Clipped -- See What Music Superstar Was Under the Feathery Mask
By Zach Seemayer
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The Masked Dancerreturned Wednesday, where the Final Five duked it out for a chance to stay in the competition. After some seriously impressive performances all around, Exotic Bird had to fly the coop.
Wednesday's episode pitted the remaining costumed contestants -- Exotic Bird, Cotton Candy, Sloth, Tulip, and Zebra -- against one another for a chance to make it to the semi-finals.
The performers also worked hard to impress the panel of celebrity sleuths -- including Ken Jeong, Ashley Tisdale, Paula Abdul and Brian Austin Green, as well as this week's special guest panelist, Call Me Kat star Mayim Bialik -- with fancy foot work and well-hidden clues to their secret identities.
The episode started strong with a performance from one of the most skilled dancers, Tulip, who delivered a fun, sassy and retro-themed routine set to "My Boyfriend's Back" by the Chiffons.
The number earned universal praise from the panelists, who all predicted that the dance had certainly secured Tulip's place in the finals.
The Zebra hit the stage next for a romantic routine set to "Take You Dancing" by Jason Derulo.
The fringe-covered contestant brought a lively energy to the performance -- perhaps more so than any previous week -- and the panel expressed their appreciation for the humor the Zebra incorporated into the number.
The Sloth brought his trademark comedy and humor to the stage, for a charismatic and commanding performance set to "Twist Remix" by Neeraj Shridhar.
One of the big delights of the evening came courtesy of Exotic Bird, who truly went all out with a brave choice for her performance. Exotic Bird hit the stage and slayed a fantastic routine set to Abdul's iconic hit "Opposites Attract," that brought a smile to everyone's faces.
"It's always fun watching other people dance to my music," Abdul shared.
"I really think this may be her best performance," Jeong marveled.
Cotton Candy closed out the show with a truly original and exciting performance unlike anything on the show before. Dancing to Tchaikovsky classical composition "Swan Lake Opus 20, Act 1 Finale," Cotton Candy's number began backstage and lyrically moved through the studio and out onto the stage for a magnificent conclusion.
After all of the impressive performances, it came time for the audience to vote for who should stay and who should go. Despite a fun and dynamic number, it was Exotic Bird who ended up getting the axe.
Before the big unmasking, however, the panel got a chance to make their final guesses.
Jeong was up first, and the comic suggested it could be Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Bialik guessed it could be Eve. Green guessed it could be model Ashley Graham. Meanwhile, Abdul stuck with her recurring guess that the Exotic Bird is American Idol winner and celebrated songstress Jordin Sparks, and Tisdale jumped on board with Abdul's guess.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived, Exotic Bird removed her mask and proved Abdul and Tisdale correct -- the Exotic Bird was in fact Jordin Sparks!
ET spoke with Sparks Wednesday morning, and the singer opened up about how much she enjoyed being on The Masked Dancer, and what compelled her to sign on.
"To be honest with you, it took me a couple of weeks to say yes, because I was like, 'Wait a minute, they want me to dance? What?' It's not my bread and butter, it's not what I'm know for," she shared. "But my husband was like, 'You should do it! It would be so fun.'
"So I finally said yes, because it scared me a little bit. And I was like, 'You know what? I'm gonna do this because it scares me a little bit and I'm gonna prove to myself that I can do things and challenges, even if they scare me," Sparks continued.
It is for that very reason that she credits her 2-year-old son, Dana, for inspiring her to face her fears and insecurities.
"I wanted to show him that he can do [that] as well, so he knows that he can do it," she said. "I was terrified and really excited at the same time… and I really had the best time."
As for dancing to Abdul's classic hit -- in front of the former American Idol judge herself -- Sparks admitted, "It was actually really nerve-wracking and exciting."
"I really wanted to make sure I did it justice because she was sitting there, and it's her song, and we have such a history together," Sparks continued. "[And] even though I was unmasked, I was glad it was [after] that number, because being able to dance to Paula with Paula watching is a moment I will never forget."
Abdul had suggested it could be Sparks inside the Exotic Bird costume much earlier in the season, and the songstress recalled how surprised she was that Abdul had seemingly figured it out so quickly.
"When she guessed my name [earlier in the season], I was glad that I had my mask on because my jaw dropped to the floor," Sparks shared with a laugh. "She was so sweet to me when I was on Idol, she was so, so kind, and she's been that way to me every time I've crossed paths with her… It was a cool moment and a big full-circle moment to have her sitting there and me being on the stage again."
Next week, Cotton Candy, Zebra, Tulip and Sloth will face off again with a whole new slate of impressive routines.