Gay American Idol reject returns to show as a drag queen, calls out homophobic internet trolls
An American Idol contestant who was rejected five years ago has made a comeback to the show as a drag queen.
Adam Sanders had competed in the 12th cycle of the reality singing contest in 2013 as a man, but despite nailing his first audition and making it to the top 50, he failed to make it through to the live shows.
However, five years on Sanders has made a triumphant return to the show – as drag singer Ada Vox.
The contestant appeared on Sunday night’s episode of Idol, winning over the judges with a performance of House of the Rising Sun.
He said: “I auditioned when I was just 19… I made it through to the top 50. Being told ‘no’ was heartbreaking, but the truth of the matter is I wasn’t ready.
“After Idol I started getting messages on social media every day, people attacking my weight and my sexuality. Telling me that I was horrible, that I sucked, that I didn’t deserve to be here.
“I let it get to me in the wrong way… it killed me inside, almost as much as people telling me I should have killed myself.”
He added: “I disappeared from the world for a while, and in doing that I hurt myself even more. That’s when I really was at my worst, thinking maybe I shouldn’t be here.
“Through all of the negativity I have managed to build myself up as a new person, as a stronger person. I have recreated myself in ways I could not have imagined.”
Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie were taken aback as Sanders entered as his drag alter ego.
Channelling her inner drag queen, Katy Perry said: “Own the room, you better work it out, you better leave it all on the floor, you better wig it!”
Ada Vox explained: “I was on it in season 12 as a little old boy named Adam. I didn’t have myself together, I was just a chubby little Latino boy.
“[This time] I’m not hear to play with anybody. I’m here to chase my dreams and make them come true.”
All three of the judges put through the act.
Check out their first appearance:
All of the judges on this year’s Idol are new to the show, after the entire line-up was cleared out.
Former Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres previously said signing up to the show was the ‘worst decision’ she ever made.
In a radio interview with Howard Stern, DeGeneres was asked : “Did you hate judging American Idol?”
Rather than trying to avoid the question, DeGeneres answered honestly, saying: “Yes… that’s one of the worst decisions I’ve made.”
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She then went on to explain why she took the job – and her almost immediate regret in doing so.
“As a fan of the shows, it doesn’t matter that I sing or I know anything about pitch or anything, I’m like everybody else at home.
“So I thought, I’m going to represent those people at home that have opinions…but then I just thought, I can’t break this person’s heart.
“Let somebody else do that.”
Unsurprisingly Ellen only appeared as a judge for one season, quitting after just a year in 2010.