It's been quite a year for Hayley Orrantia. Last spring, the 28-year-old wrapped Season Nine of her hit ABC sitcom "The Goldbergs" and showed off her killer singing chops as a contestant on "The Masked Singer." Oh, and she also got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Greg Furman, over the summer.
Life is certainly imitating art for Orrantia, whose character Erica Goldberg got married last season.
With Season 10 set to premiere Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC, TODAY caught up with the actor to find out what lies ahead for Erica as she prepares to become a mother. We also got her to predict what type of grandmother she thinks Bevery Goldberg (Wendi McLendon-Covey) will be.
What to expect in Season 10 of 'The Goldbergs'
TODAY: It’s quite an accomplishment for any TV show to last 10 seasons. How does it feel to be back for yet another season after nearly a decade of working on "The Goldbergs?"
Orrantia: "It doesn’t feel like it’s been 10 years. It’s kind of a bizarre feeling, like I blinked and all of that time went by. But we’ve just been having so much fun doing it. It’s definitely a 'pinch me' kind of thing because to be on a show this long, there are only a few that have done it. And we’re very grateful to be part of that list!"
Is Season 10 going to pick up right where we left off? Are we going to see Erica throughout her pregnancy or is the show going to flash forward a little bit?
"We are going to flash forward a little bit so that we can get the best of both worlds where you’re getting elements of Erica and Geoff (Sam Lerner) during the pregnancy and then some with an actual baby. So we’re going to try to sprinkle both in this next season."
What are you most excited about for Season 10?
"In the first year or two of being a mom, your full focus is trying to accept this life change since you’re now taking care of a human being. In Season 10, and if we do a Season 11, I would love to see Erica finding a balance between work and home life.
"She went to school, she said she wanted to become a lawyer. And I think that the ‘80s was a time where we saw a lot of women stepping up and taking a different position in the household, maybe being a breadwinner. I would really like to see that happen for her."
On Erica’s pregnancy and journey to motherhood
When Erica has her baby, do you see her following in her mom Beverly Goldberg’s footsteps or taking a more subdued approach to parenting?
"Erica has always been slightly selfish, and I think that there have been elements in the last few seasons where we’ve gotten to see her challenge herself to think of others and do for others. I think (writers) are going to showcase a bit of Erica trying to find that balance between being an individual person with all the attention on her baby now. In the process of that, we’ll get to see her growing.
"I would like to think that the writers are going to incorporate Erica taking on a lot of Beverly’s motherly attributes because she is a little like Beverly in ways. And I think that once she has the baby, we’ll get to see that mama bear thing come out."
Throughout the series, Beverly Goldberg is lovingly referred to as a “smother.” What do you think she’s going to be like as a grandmother?
"Well, I’ve already been calling her grand-smother. She’s going to be overbearing, she can’t help herself. She’s gonna have to try to find a balance of when to get involved and when to back off. But isn’t that just the Goldberg way? You definitely are gonna see Beverly feeding all of her energy into this new Goldberg baby, and it’s gonna make for some really fun episodes."
What do you think Adam (Sean Giambrone) and Barry (Troy Gentile) Goldberg are going to be like as uncles?
"There will be some really funny storylines. Obviously Adam is still, in a way, a kid. So I think it’s going to be funny to see him playing this uncle role. But it’s the same with Barry because he definitely has immature tendencies.
"I’m dying to see Barry and Joanne (his on-screen girlfriend, played by Beth Triffon) babysit at some point because they just never know what they’re doing, so giving them the responsibility of babysitting would be really funny."
On Erica and Geoff’s relationship
On paper, Erica and Geoff are a little bit of an unlikely pairing, but their love story is so endearing. In your opinion, what is it about their relationship that keeps fans wanting more?
"I think it’s a classic case of opposites attract. Erica can be a little selfish and headstrong. Meanwhile, Geoff is very timid and scared about certain things, but he’s the sweetest thing ever and his love language is acts of service so he goes out of his way (to be thoughtful). So I think they balance each other in that way.
"But we’ve seen Erica get a little more sensitive about things, just trying to put herself in Geoff’s shoes. Then Geoff is taking on this more dominant role because he’s trying to take care of the family. So I think it’s cool how they’re able to learn and grow from each other, but they also are unapologetically themselves and they love each other for that."
Season Nine was particularly special for your character with one of the highlights being her wedding to Geoff. You also recently got engaged in real life. What has it been like for you to have all of these happy parallels between your life and work?
"Something I’ve felt with Erica and myself for a really long time is that there are elements of our life, both good and bad, that have sort of mirrored each other throughout the last decade. A few days after I got engaged, the whole cast got together to do a trip to Disneyland, which we try to do once a year at least. I saved the information to tell them all together!"
At the end of Season Nine, Erica decides to put her music career on hold to focus on building a family with Geoff. Will we get to hear you sing at all this coming season?
"I would really like to! Something I would like to see is Erica channeling that love of music into lullabies with the baby because not everybody can go on to become a rock star.
"As somebody who loves music myself, I think that you’re always going to find a way to incorporate it into your life. And if Erica can do that by bonding over her with her child, I think that would be great."
On her budding music career
We recently saw you on "The Masked Singer" and you made it all the way to the finale. What was that experience like?
"It was so different than anything I’ve ever done. I mean, how often do you dress up like a cat in a circus tent? It’s not every day. So for me, it was a lot of fun. It was also really terrifying because music has been my love, so to be able to do that on a platform like "The Masked Singer," it was nerve-racking.
"I wanted to make sure I did justice to songs like 'I Will Always Love You.' That was one I was shocked they even let me cover. I really challenged myself as an artist and pushed myself physically to move around in this costume.
"It was fun but also very difficult for me to keep that secret. I couldn’t tell anyone on ('The Goldbergs'), which was hard because you just want to have a big mouth, but also because I wanted to share something that I was really excited about with my TV family, but I couldn’t."
What's next for your when it comes to your music career?
"I plan on releasing more music over the next few months. My goal is to do an EP or an album at the beginning of the year that I can hopefully take out on the road. I have a lot of new music that's leaning a little more in the pop direction and I'm kind of challenging my sound a little bit and having fun with it. So I'm really looking forward to sharing that aspect of my life."
Long term, do you see yourself focusing more on music or acting?
"I would love to be able to juggle both, but I am learning that with both industries, you have to give it your full focus if you want your career to be as successful as you envision. So I think that whenever 'The Goldbergs' is done, I will try to take some dedicated time to focus on music and feel what that’s like because I just haven’t had the opportunity to do it for a full year.
"At the same time, I love acting and I’ve been able to challenge myself within 'The Goldbergs,' with recent movies that I’ve done, and very recently I did a musical at the Hollywood Bowl (Kinky Boots). That was such a new experience for me and I love it now. I would love it if I could find a way to do all of those things.