“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!
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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.