'The Masked Singer's Popcorn on Her Costume Choice: 'There Was a Joy to Her'
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 10 of The Masked Singer, "The Semi Finals — The Super Six."]
And then there were three.
The Masked Singer's semifinals saw the remaining six contestants battling it out according to their groups, and that pitted Popcorn against Sun. Popcorn was eliminated and unmasked as singer-songwriter Taylor Dayne.
"There's only a couple slots left, and it was getting a little too difficult to hide the voice," she tells TV Insider. "I had a fantastic time, all the way to where we got."
Here, Dayne opens up about her Masked experience and takes us inside her costume.
How did you doing this season come about?
Taylor Dayne: It's pretty organic. I believe last season, I was guessed as one of the other artists before, and so they reached out to my management during this season. It just seemed, what a great time during obviously this pandemic and a lot of artists were not on the road for obvious reasons, so they reached out to us and I was really one of the fortunate ones to be able to be available.
Let's talk about the costume. Did they offer it? Were there a couple of options?
To have the type of talent that they work with over there and to have some of the most talented set designers, costume designers available and not on the road and available to be able to work with the talent here — Marina [Toybina], who does a lot of their costuming primarily, [and I] discussed a couple of costumes that they suggested to me and Popcorn just popped out.
She was divine. I loved everything about her. We started this process in July, August, and we were in this election year, and there was something more human about her face and obviously more familiar to me and I just thought she was lovely. I loved her effervescence. I also loved the fact that we were going into this election and I wanted her to be more happy. I felt there was a joy to her and there was a recognition she would have with the audience. There was also a familiarity. So I loved her the most.
Singing isn't new for you, so what was the most challenging part of this?
The costume in and of itself is the most challenging part. It is quite the challenge. There is no microphone within the costume. And each costume is a one of a kind piece, whether you're a Crocodile, whether you're a Seahorse, whether you're a Sun. ... I'm in layers of different types and different compressions. Then you're wearing all sorts of suspenders and belts within it to keep each piece contained, and then when you put a mask on that could be two feet high and then strap that down to your head as an apparatus and then you're working with each song and choreographers to make the moves you want to do, and then you're holding a microphone.
Basically I had no sense of depth. Then you have in-ears inside your mask, you have two mic packs on, one for external when you're doing talk-back with Nick ... all these things are connected to a corset-type of apparatus inside, so you can't breathe, and then you're breathing in all the fire and brimstone that they're lighting up outside. This is all fantastic. It makes for a great stage and what the audience sees. But basically, when people are saying, "I can't breathe in here," they're not lying.
Did you feel more used to it as the season went on?
Yeah, there's a rhythm you fall into with it. You get used to it, certainly, but now you know what the Avengers go through.
Did you adjust your approach to your performances based on that costume as the season went on?
Absolutely. Each song, we worked with a different group of choreographers. This was no different than going on tour. This was a really, really collaborative process and each song was absolutely choreographed and this was all very much a very well-produced program, and I definitely had to tweak something.
I could not see my feet, and I only had one eye I could see out of visually really. On stage, I only could look directly, I couldn't look down because of the way the design was set on my costume, so everything was looking forward. So my choreography had to work within the realm of that and I had to trust that. The choreography was set along the lines of marks that I could see or actually visualize or actually memorize. We had to scale things down.
Did you have any songs in mind for the finals if you'd continued on or did you scrap any for an earlier performance, especially with your recognizable voice?
We were given a list of songs that licensing cleared. I worked with producers on that and we went through them. My voice is obviously more recognizable than maybe some and we also tried to find keys that would not make it so, so obvious. That was important as well. We had a really fun time with that, but also it was important for me to not hold back. It was important for me to really push the envelope, push my voice, and not hold back. And I think it served me well to go with my instincts on this with the show, really go for it. I think the choices were great, and the [semifinals] song was something that I wanted.
I think they have some really great guesses, I really do. Look, it's not so easy. You think it is, but boy, oh, boy, it is not. You think sitting up there, listening to all these voices, you think it's so cut and dried, but it's not. I give them kudos, I really do.
The Masked Singer, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox