Long Island Music Hall of Famer Taylor Dayne, unmasked as the red-white-and-blue-spangled Popcorn on Fox's "The Masked Singer" Wednesday night, called her character-costume "fantastically magical and wonderful. ... And beautiful. And she suspended animation and time and reality."
Dayne was eliminated in the semifinal round along with singer-songwriter Tori Kelly (Seahorse) and Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim (Jellyfish).
Speaking in an online featurette after the show, in which a panel of celebrities tries to guess the identities of performers in highly stylized and elaborate, full-body costumes, the 58-year-old Dayne marveled, "It's incredible to see what creativity is happening here on set. It's mind-blowing. We get to play No. 1 songs and sing them, and play with the greatest choreographers and musicians and costume designers and set designers. I mean, what the hell? It's the best."
She additionally told People magazine in a story posted Thursday that she chose the Popcorn costume because, "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."
Born Leslie Wunderman in Manhattan before moving to Long Island at age 2, Dayne belted out Tina Turner's "Better Be Good to Me" on Wednesday. The singer, who was raised in Baldwin and Freeport and has lived as an adult in Long Beach and Lloyd Harbor, told the magazine she "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." She has just released a Christmas single, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."
Dayne, whose 1980s and '90s dance hits include "Tell It to My Heart" — the title of which became that of her 2019 memoir — hopes to restart her "Ladies of the '80s" concert tour, which this past Jan. 31 played the NYCB Theatre at Westbury with herself, Lisa Lisa and Jody Watley. "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."