Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday’s episode of The Masked Singer.
Everyone’s favorite buttery treat has popped off of The Masked Singer stage.
In a crushing triple elimination, the Popcorn was revealed to be none other than three-time Grammy-nominated ’80s hitmaker Taylor Dayne. Ahead of the reveal, the singer-songwriter opened up to EW about her season-long bit of flirting with host Nick Cannon, what it was like having her friend Leah Remini on the show, why she chose the Popcorn costume, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, what about the Popcorn costume spoke to you?
TAYLOR DAYNE: Well, costume design came to me with a couple of looks, and we were looking at them and talking about them. One look in particular was kind of obvious to me, meaning, over my years working with costuming and things, and I liked her, I thought she was sexy. We’ll leave it at that. Then Popcorn was just something far more unique, and considering the year we’re in, I mean, this is about five months ago and I had to make some quick decisions. But this is an election year, we’ve been in a pandemic, and I just needed something joyful, and she was joyful. She was more humanistic. She also had that face. And knowing the way I sing, which is powerful, I also knew that it was going to be hidden behind this mask with those big beautiful eyes. I felt she had a presence to her that was joyful, as well as knowing me [and I’m] a little sassy, sexy, but also playful. And that’s why I chose her, and she was also really just glittery and glam.
Did you find it difficult to maneuver around in that costume? Yours seemed like it maybe was one of the more moveable costumes.
We had to tone her down. At first her bottom was a lot more difficult — it has a drum on the bottom. Originally it was supposed to go down a little longer and be a little tighter and tougher. But I had them put it to the knees so she was more movable. But if you see what’s going on on the top, there’s a whole bunch of kernels, and that ain’t going anywhere. It was hooked on basically — it’s like having a case of kernels on. It’s not easy. And then you can’t see. You know when a man says, “Oh, I’m so fat, I can’t see my blank?” Yeah, I basically couldn’t see my feet. You can’t see where you’re walking, so they have to plant you on your station, which is a little difficult, but can be done through all the choreography. So this last one I went for it. You kind of have to memorize where your marks are. You can see maybe two feet out in front of you, and I had vision from one eye, basically. You can’t play at home with these toys. [Laughs] No, no, everybody has their own challenges. I imagine the Crocodile was hitting people with his tail. Everybody has their challenges, trust me. But it was very ornate and beautiful and just so perfect.
And speaking of your last performance, you sang Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good to Me.” Did you have any idea that they’d be guessing you were Tina? What did you make of that?
They did that from the start of the show, from the very first song I did! No, I had no idea. Like [my performance of Pink’s] “What About Us” — how is that Tina? I just brought it down with Tina because I did write a Tina Turner song — I wrote a song for me that Tina recorded — so that’s funny.
Popcorn flirted with host Nick Cannon throughout the season. Tell me where that came from.
I’ve watched the show before in the past, and I think he’s the cutest, the funniest. I don’t know, it just was so easy to do. Where did it come from? It ain’t hard honey. [Laughs.] He’s right there bored while listening to Ken [Jeong] for 20 minutes. I just figured I’d help him out. Let’s just get some fun up there. That’s Popcorn. That was all Popcorn.
The friend that popped up in your third clue package was Leah Remini, right? Why won’t you sing at her karaoke parties?
Yeah. My lovely Leah. Bossing me around like she always does. They made her look like a Russian babushka. [mimicking Remini] “Just sing, come to my house and sing, just do it.” She was so ahead of the karaoke curve. It’s ridiculous. She has a karaoke machine in her living room. I’m like, “What is that for?” She goes, “Just sing.” Like, what does that mean? She was like, “Just pick it up and do it. If you come to my house, you got to sing.”
Well now you can just tell her to watch you on The Masked Singer!
She doesn’t take any of that kind of direction, you understand that, right? [Laughs]
This morning it was announced that The Masked Singer is coming back for a fifth season. What advice do you have for the new contestants?
Do some cardio before you do the show because you’re going to be hot under the mask. And get ready for an amazing time. It’s an amazing, amazing experience, but yeah, get your cardio down.
What’s next for you?
Right now I have my Christmas single, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” that just came out. My book is out. Everything’s online. And getting ready for the holidays here, goodness gracious. I’m working on new music right now — new music for the new year!