Taylor Dayne on ‘Masked Singer’ vs. ‘Secret Celebrity Drag Race’ – Billboard

Taylor Dayne on ‘Masked Singer’ vs. ‘Secret Celebrity Drag Race’ – Billboard

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One would be forgiven for thinking that the second season of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race was inspired by the runaway success of Fox’s The Masked Singer — each show features disguised celebrities putting on show-stopping performances each week, only to reveal their true identities upon their elimination.

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It certainly felt like an episode of Fox’s hit program last week, when contestant Electra Owl was sent packing in a smack-down lip sync against Thirsty Von Trap to Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive.” Asked to reveal herself, Owl was unveiled as ’80s and ’90s dance-pop superstar Taylor Dayne, known in recent years for her stint as The Masked Singer’s Popcorn.

Dayne’s journey on the show, while short-lived, provided fans with plenty of gag-worthy performances, including last week’s fun rendition of the Donna Summer classic “Last Dance.” But even on the show, Dayne (then-Electra) spoke about her difficulty with the lip-sync format, and how her proclivity for live singing made the challenge even harder than usual.

Billboard talked with Dayne after her elimination about the behind-the-scenes process of the show, her love for RuPaul, and how her experiences on The Masked Singer and Drag Race differ.

Congratulations on your Secret Celebrity Drag Race stint! How was your experience being on the show?

Oh my god, okay. I have done some things in my life, but this was just… watching everybody get prepared for this was really something special. It’s exciting, but really transformational for some people, truly. It was so wild to watch, and wild to be a part of, I have to say.

I really thought it would be easier to tell who everyone was under the drag, and I had an admittedly hard time placing almost everybody on the cast, including you!

Oh, for real? I feel like you’re getting a pretty good idea of folks! But no, it was a really extreme makeover in a lot of ways. It’s so cool, it was like a four- or five-hour process, getting into the looks. 

Were you a big Drag Race fan before getting cast on this season?

Oh, I’m a huge fan, and more importantly a huge friend of RuPaul. RuPaul Charles and I go way back, so that’s where that starts for me. Anything he’s ever been involved in, you can see … our paths have crossed, obviously musically, and we’ve gotten together and supported each other. What he has done with Drag Race and the LGBTQ community in and of itself, and taking it all to mid-America, if you will, and opening up doors, it’s just amazing. So, any time he asks me for anything, I’m there. 

But Drag Race, it’s wild. I mean, I always have to say that queens have done me better than I do myself! And I mean it! There’s just a form of passion and art that goes into it that I cannot truly explain — when you’re really letting go of your person and stepping into the persona of somebody else, it’s enormous and incredible. 

Well, you did mention on the show that you found lip-synching to be the hardest part of all of it — did that help give you some newfound insight to the work that these queens are doing when they perform?

Well, I mean, it’s an art form! You guys have only seen two episodes — just so you understand, now it’s being left to the artistic dimensions that some of these other folks are bringing to it. I can’t really get into what those upcoming performances are, but I can promise you that you are going to see things that I really didn’t think would ever be brought to drag. Not that it should be brought to drag, or it could or would be brought, but this is art. It takes on different forms and everybody has their own perception of it.

So now, you have a bunch of people who never thought they’d be in a pair of heels, and are fun as s–t to watch! Now, you’re seeing these stories and this art. It was really mind-blowing to watch the growth on this show, as well as the storytelling. Every performance became a vignette, which was cool. 

Obviously, this is not your first time doing a competition reality series — fans loved you as Popcorn on The Masked Singer. How would you compare Secret Celebrity Drag Race to that format?

Well, on one, if they voted me out on the second episode I would have dropped to my knees [laughs]. Listen, Masked Singer, to me, is a fully different form of art —  I’m pulling from a different source on there, and of course, there’s a vocal capacity and strength in that. I mean, I went all the way to the semi-finals with Masked Singer! But my feeling is, under that, you are still developing a character like with Electra Owl — people fell in love with Popcorn. You are becoming a persona, and yet at the same time, you are also artistically making choices. So, therefore, it becomes fun to watch week after week. I think it’s the same thing here, but it’s that my craft is my voice and my music, so Masked Singer wasn’t just a choreography moment for me. It was a far more involved process. 

But the limitations are everywhere! A lot of these guys have never worn boobs and buttpads, so that’s a new experience for them. 



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