It all came down to Ringmaster vs. Firefly. The Masked Singer season 7 finale unmasked all 3 finalists, and The Goldbergs star Hayley Orrantia was revealed as Ringmaster just before Teyana Taylor’s Firefly was crowned the new champion. Cheyenne Jackson’s Prince came in third place.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Hayley about showcasing herself as not just an actress but an incredible singer as well. She revealed how being on the show was incredibly “validating” for her as a singer, how walking around as Ringmaster was kind of like “parallel parking,” and more. Read our Q&A below:
Why was The Masked Singer something that you wanted to do?
Hayley Orrantia: I have been a singer-songwriter my whole life way before I got into acting. For me, The Masked Singer felt like a really fun opportunity to sort of trick people that maybe only know me from The Goldbergs and showcase myself as an artist because I do continue to release music independently outside of filming the show. It was just something fun to do. I knew nobody was going to guess me, and I just thought it would be great to dress up like a cat in a circus and sing Whitney Houston.
The Ringmaster is definitely one of the most unique costumes the show has had. What was your reaction when you first saw the costume and everything that came with it?
Hayley Orrantia: This was the first option that they presented to me and I was like, “I don’t even need to see anymore.” The drawing they had was just so beautiful. I think what I gravitated towards was, first of all, I just wanted to be able to have a costume that you could still see my shape and I could move around because I wanted to really be able to move around on stage, whether it was choreography or whatever. That’s how I like to perform, with a lot of stage presence. So that was number one, and Ringmaster allowed for that. It was more like a jacket on the top, and the skirt has an opening where you could still see my legs. But the skirt was like 7 or 8 feet wide, so there were these grand aspects to the costume. I also loved, based upon how they built it out, I could move with the skirt and it kind of bounced with me. Overall, it had this fun, playful element and I wanted to really showcase my personality as well. It just embodied everything I could have imagined for this opportunity.
I was definitely taken aback by the skirt aspect. Was it difficult to perform in at all?
Hayley Orrantia: I feel very lucky because I know there were other costumes where they had to be wheeled out on set because they couldn’t move in it very well. With the skirt being the main piece, it was attached to me through a harness that went around my shoulders. When I first put it on, I was like, I can run a marathon in this thing. It’s pretty lightweight. But after a while, it started to weigh on my shoulders a little bit. Navigating around corners was pretty interesting, but I did it fairly well. It’s kind of just like parallel parking. Thankfully, I had some crew members there that helped me move around a little bit. But for the most part, it was just such a fun costume to wear.
You had so many incredible performances over the course of the season. Is there a performance that stands out as your favorite?
Hayley Orrantia: Man, I was so terrified getting on stage, like so scared. More than I probably have ever been going on stage, and it was with each performance. So I just remember afterward being like, “Oh my god, I can breathe. I hit the notes. Did I not trip on stage?” I think the one that I definitely was proud of was the “I Will Always Love You” performance because I was terrified to cover a Whitney song. Who dares to do that? I was scared that people would be like, eh, not so much. Thankfully, people liked it. I actually felt the best coming off stage after “Waking Up in Vegas,” my last song on the show, because I did not think to do that song originally. Someone suggested it to me, and I thought that might be a fun one. Once I got it on its feet vocally it was really fun to sing and then the choreography that they gave me I was able to move around. It was just ending on such a high note and with high energy. That was probably my favorite one.
It came down to you and Firefly. What was going through your head during the final moments before your reveal?
Hayley Orrantia: Well, I was just been shocked that I had made it that far because I had no idea who I was going up against in the competition. Having now watched people be unmasked, I do not understand how Jennifer Holliday did not make it to the finals. I was on my feet through every performance she gave because she’s just phenomenal. I was just grateful to have gotten as far as I did and be on stage next to some of these people who are just iconic talents. I was just honored to be there.
What’s something you learned from The Masked Singer that you’ll take with you going forward?
Hayley Orrantia: For me, I think music being my first love and something that hasn’t necessarily panned out the way that I had envisioned… I mean, acting was something that I did purely because record labels recommended I did a show in order to get signed, and then to have the catch-22 of I’ve never been signed to a label and I’ve been on a show for 10 years. For me, it’s a self esteem, confidence issue within my music. I will always do it because I love doing it, but I think that there was this feeling of, okay, maybe I should stop trying to do it publicly and just do it at home. To be able to do this show and hear the feedback was very validating of like, Hayley, just keep doing it because you love to do it and share it with the people that are going to be resonating with it. It doesn’t matter what it’s supposed to look like in your mind. You love to do it. I think I’m meant to do it, whether people like it or not. It just gave me a little bit of self-confidence back in my music because the amount of times I’ve been like, okay, I think I’m giving up is astounding. It was just a very validating experience.