David Hernandez won’t be stripped of his chance to compete on “American Idol.”
A person close to the show, who is not authorized to comment publicly and asked not to be identified, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that there were no plans to remove Hernandez from the Fox singing competition — despite the semifinalist’s past as a male stripper.
The 24-year-old from Glendale, Ariz., once worked as an adult entertainer at Dick’s Cabaret in Phoenix, appearing fully nude and performing lap dances for the club’s “mostly male” clientele, strip club manager Gordy Bryan told the AP on Monday.
In 2003, semifinalist Frenchie Davis was dismissed from “Idol” because of her appearance on an adult Web site, but Antonella Barba remained in the competition last year after racy photos of her surfaced on the Internet. The source who confirmed that Hernandez will remain said Davis’ situation was different because of the site’s age-themed content.
Fox and the producers declined to comment on Hernandez, who was scheduled to perform a song from the ’80s in a live telecast Tuesday with the other male singers as the semifinalists are narrowed down this week to the final 12 contestants. All the singers, including Hernandez, have been unavailable for interviews.
Dick’s Cabaret manager Bryan said he was aware that Hernandez was a vocalist, but that Hernandez never sang at the club. Bryan said he now believes Hernandez stopped working at the strip club on Sept. 30, 2007, because of his participation in “Idol.”
Hernandez, who originally auditioned for the show in San Diego on July 30, 2007, has never been referred to as a stripper or former stripper during the competition. Last week, he earned rave reviews from the judges after his performance of The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”
On a video posted on AmericanIdol.com, Hernandez said he broke the lease on his apartment and lived out of his car before auditioning for “Idol.” And, when asked in a Q&A posted on the site which talent would he would most like to have if he couldn’t sing, Hernandez responded: “Dancing! I’m horrible at that.”