Showing his stripes: 'Masked Dancer' Zebra revealed as world boxing champion

Lyndsey Parker
·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music
·5 min read

Eleven-time boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya is obviously no stranger to competition, or to fancy footwork. But one might assume he’d still be out of his element doing a jazz-handsy partner dance to “Mack the Knife”… in a bipedal zebra costume. But De La Hoya — a.k.a. the Zebra, as revealed on Wednesday’s top four semifinals episode of The Masked Dancer — was clearly up for the challenge.

Although De La Hoya was eliminated this week, thus narrowly missing his chance to go for the gold on next week's season finale, told host Craig Robinson that hoofing it up as the Zebra on The Masked Dancer was “probably the best experience I've ever had.” And at least he got to do one last dance for his mother (a massive Bobby Darin fan), who died of breast cancer right before De La Hoya won the gold at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The Zebra truly showed his stripes tonight.

While De La Hoya has been TKO'd out of the competition, one of the other three remaining finalists, the Cotton Candy, is most likely also a famous Olympian gold-medalist. Will she have to settle for silver or bronze on The Masked Dancer, or can she beat the Tulip and Sloth? Let’s guess and assess.

The Cotton Candy

This jock-jam cheer dance, to a medley of Toni Basil’s pom-pom-pushing “Mickey” and 2 Unlimited's stadium staple “Get Ready,” was like a mini-Super Bowl halftime show. (OK, it wasn’t as dazzling as the Weeknd’s performance at Super Bowl LV or last year’s J.Lo/Shakira spectacle, but it certainly was more entertaining than the recent half-assed halftimes by Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5.) The candy-girl served high-kicks, yard-stomps, standing somersaults, and drop-split. Oh, it’s already been broughten.

The clues: She “started on this path at age 6,” but constant traveling once caused her relationships to “flame out.” Verbal clues included the words “super-girl,” “cover-girl,” and “boss,” and she has some connection to this week’s guest judge, Blades of Glory star Will Arnett, who once “showed her love on The Masked Singer.” Past clue packages have mentioned lips, ice, gold, sports, and “prayer.”

Judges’ guesses: Tara Lipinski, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas.

My guess: This is absolutely all-American skating gold-medalist, multi-tasking wife, Super Bowl commentator, and devout Catholic Tara Lipinski.

The Sloth

The Sloth did his usual sexy-jokey shtick during a samba to Sam Smith’s “Dancing With a Stranger,” and it was ever stranger than usual. He even twerked! But as usual, it was great goofy fun, with judge Ashley Tisdale praising a certain “magic” that made the routine “come alive.”

The clues: He described himself as “slightly overweight” and a former “ladies’ man” who co-starred with “incredible leading ladies” before finding the love of his life through dancing. He also mentioned that “competing runs in his family.” Other clues referenced Miami, cruise ships, doctors, amber, and rose.

Judges’ guesses: Hugh Jackman, Ashton Kutcher, Patrick Dempsey, Matthew Morrison, Maks Chmerkovskiy, Val Chmerkovskiy.

My guess: This one took me a while to narrow down, but I’m finally certain that the Sloth is Dancing With the Stars pro Maks Chmerkovskiy. The judging panel’s resident expert vibeologist, Paula Abdul, straight-up said so, and Paula’s track record on this show has been impressive, so that’s almost enough to go on. But the clues (like the fact that Maks’s brother Val is also a dancer, that Maks is married to fellow DWTS regular Peta Murgatroyd, or that Maks was partnered with Amber Rose on DWTS) add up.

The Tulip

This blossom’s perky polka (yes, polka) once again showcased her versatility and ability to pick up any sort of choreography. It was a risky choice that really only the Tulip could pull off; judge Ken Jeong called her the “most technically proficient” in the competition, while Arnett praised her “natural ability.” I just wish that this routine had been set to a Weird Al medley, since the Tulip showcased some comedy chops tonight as well. (Side note: Tulips are Dutch, so might I suggest a clog-dance for the finale next week?)

The clues: She’s the youngest left on the show, but she’s used to that. She has competed her whole life, but her “best friend has taken home more trophies.” She’s a huge fan of K-pop, High School Musical, iced coffee, and a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Other clues this season have included butterflies, the letter Z, “lifetime achievements,” TikTok, Instagram, a “Second Annual Mother-Daughter Dance,” the acronym “ALDC,” and the words “frozen” and “princess.”

Judges’ guesses: Mackenzie Ziegler, Noah Cyrus, Dove Cameron, Liza Koshy.

My guesses: OK, this is totally social media maven Mackenzie Ziegler — star of the Lifetime series Dance Moms (Abby Lee Dance Company = “ALDC”) and the movie Ice Princess Lily, younger sister and BFF of Maddie Ziegler, and known iced coffee and PB&J enthusiast. The Cotton Candy will give Mackenzie some sugary-but-stiff competition in the grand finale, but the Tulip may have what it takes to win this season’s Diamond Mask and add to that trophy collection.

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