"I knew she could grab some hearts and bring some fun," the "Tell It to My Heart" singer tells PEOPLE of her Masked Singer character

By Dana Rose Falcone
December 03, 2020 12:10 PM
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Popcorn; Taylor Dayne
| Credit: Michael Becker/FOX; MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty

Taylor Dayne told it from her heart as Popcorn on The Masked Singer. Unfortunately, her energetic performance of Tina Turner's "Better Be Good to Me" on Wednesday's episode didn't earn the Grammy nominee a spot in the finale, but Dayne left everything she had in her on stage.

"I brought it," Dayne, 58, tells PEOPLE. "I went all the way. This was like church for me, this last one. I wasn't going to hold back"

Judge Ken Jeong called Dayne's performance a "religious experience," and by the end of Wednesday's episode, panelists Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger suspected Popcorn could be the "Tell It to My Heart" singer.

Taylor Dayne
| Credit: Taylor Dayne

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Dayne didn't mind being found out, though. "I was just like, bam, that threw it all out," she says.

The mother of two can't say enough kind words about her time on The Masked Singer. "It was extraordinary," Dayne raves about her experience on the show. "I can't tell you how supportive the whole family at Masked Singer is."

Dayne explains why she opted for the red, white and blue Popcorn getup, what it felt like dancing in the costume and how she hopes to hit the road again.

Why did you want to participate in The Masked Singer this season?

I think it's one of the greatest shows on TV right now, one of the most fun, most celebrated. The real singers that are going on there, we have a heck of a time. We really do. It's just a lot of fun.

What made you pick the Popcorn outfit?

When they revealed the costume to me and I saw how beautiful it was and I realized, we're in an election year, we've gone through pretty tough times. I really felt like we needed to draw a little bit more enthusiasm and joy to our flag, and Popcorn could do it. I knew she could grab some hearts and bring some fun. I know who I am and I know I can poke a little fun and joy with it and make it lighthearted than it needs to be.

Especially for the final performance, you brought a lot of energy and danced around quite a bit. Was it challenging moving around as Popcorn?

I was. I went down and gritty. Not for this last one, because I brought it. I don't know. I went all the way.

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How did taking the stage as Popcorn compare to your decades of performing experience?

The anonymity that you have to have for this project — and of course we were all tested all the time [for COVID-19] and safe and separated — but they just made us feel so safe. So every step we took, whether we were with our choreographers, our vocal coaches to our costume designers, to everything, I felt amazing. There was something so safe and so beautiful [about it]. They really wanted everybody to have a great shot at a performance.

Were you surprised by which judges guessed you by the end?

No. Not even a chance. You think I'm surprised Robin didn't get me? No. I'm not surprised.

Did you want to go further in the competition? 

She needed to go. But I did have a Christmas song prepared. We had two other songs prepared. There are no guarantees in these kinds of things, but we were prepared all the way through.

Taylor Dayne performing as Popcorn on The Masked Singer.
| Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Do you have any guesses for who the finalists might be?

Oy vey. You want to know what's the funniest thing? Even during rehearsal the last time, I can't even remember who was on the stage with me, because we didn't even do costumes when we did rehearsal. They had us do it in our just blacks, with our black visors. They kept us so separated, it was crazy.

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What's next for you after The Masked Singer?

I just released my Christmas single, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." Over the summer, I released my summer banger, "Please." The book's out. We're all working on our postponed tour dates — I guess we're moving into summer now, July. I'll start my "Ladies of the '80s" tour again, please God.

The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.