Ex-Idol Danny Noriega Lip-Synchs Paula Abdul for Paula Abdul - Rolling Stone
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Ex-Idol Danny Noriega Lip-Synchs Paula Abdul for Paula Abdul

Danny Noriega and Adore Delano


“American Idol” diehards surely recognize Danny Noriega as the hair-flipping, Simon-sass-talking Azusa teen from that show’s Season 7. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” diehards know him better as flawed-but-fabulous drag queen and self-described “punk-rock mermaid” Adore Delano. And when original “Idol” judge Paula Abdul guest-judged “Drag Raçe” this week, she recognized Danny/Adore right away, despite the fact that Adore was wearing a Hannibal Lechter-style mask, waist-length crimson wig, and enough jewerly to fill an entire new Paula Abdul QVC collection.

[Related: An Exclusive Interview With Danny Noriega]

At first I was upset that Adore was in the bottom two for the first time this season — almost as upset as I was when Danny sashayed away on “Idol” six years ago. But then I realized this was the perfect setup by those genius World of Wonder producers to get Adore to lip-synch a song by old pal Paula (the “most lip-synched artist in ‘Drag Race’ herstory”), and create some amazing TV.

As Adore herself would say, PARTY!

While the other contestant in the bottom two this week, Trinity K. Bonet, was an extremely worthy opponent, it was clear that Adore — with her charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent — would forever be Paula’s girl.

Paula was totally vibing off of Adore’s beyond-sickening performance of “Vibeology,” and this was a true full-circle moment for the artist formerly known as Danny. I actually would have gotten little choked-up watching this, if I wasn’t too busy shouting, “Can I get an amen?” and “Halleloo!” during this lip-synch.

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