The Masked Dancer 2022 final: Pearly King unmasked as 'Strictly' star

Pearly King made it to the final of The Masked Dancer 2022. (ITV)
Pearly King made it to the final of The Masked Dancer 2022. (ITV)

The Masked Dancer has unmasked Pearly King as former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli.

The 66-year-old Italian professional dancer and choreographer made it the final of the ITV show but was first to be unmasked.

Tonioli exclaimed: "Why didn't I win?! Maybe because I stopped dancing in 1983!"

Read more: The Masked Dancer 2022 final: Who are Onomatopoeia and Scissors? Best guesses

He joked to host Joel Dommett: "It was a terrible mistake, I thought Masked Singer? I'll do it, but Dancer?! You're kidding me. You should always read your contract!"

The Masked Dancer costumes.
The Masked Dancer's Pearly King was Bruno Tonioli .(ITV)

The Dancing With The Stars judge began the competition by completely flummoxing the judges with his cockney accent - with initial guesses for his identity being EastEnders star Danny Dyer and Hollywood hardman Tom Hardy.

But gradually over the series his accent slipped and the judges guessed he was concealing a strong accent.

By the final - with strong clues of dance names and links to the ballroom - all the judges had guessed his true identity.

Bruno Tonioli was Pearly King. (BBC)
Bruno Tonioli was Pearly King. (BBC)

Tonioli said of his accent: "It's hard work to talk like that mate!"

Judge Peter Crouch said: "What I love is that people have gone up to Danny Dyer and asked if him if he's on the show."

Peter Crouch, Davina McCall, Dawn French, Oti Mabuse and John Bishop judge The Masked Dancer 2022.
The Masked Dancer 2022 final judges all guessed it was Bruno Tonioli. (ITV)

The final saw guest judges The Vicar of Dibley star Dawn French and comedian John Bishop join Davina McCall, Oti Mabuse and Peter Crouch standing in for Jonathan Ross.

Scissors and Onomatopoeia were the other dancers to make the final.

Read more: The Masked Dancer 2022 elimination: Which Bake Off star was Candlestick?

So far the show has unmasked Girls Aloud's Kimberley Walsh, Bake Off's Liam Charles, TV presenter Steph McGovern, Strictly champion Stacey Dooley, former England goalkeeper David Seaman and his wife Frankie Poultney, The Choir's Gareth Malone, Gavin and Stacey star Joanna Page and Desperate Housewives star Jesse Metcalfe.

Watch: Is Amanda Holden Scissors on The Masked Dancer?