'We're never judgmental about what people do to earn a living,' Ken Warwick says.
The good news for David Hernandez is that his spot on "American Idol" is not in jeopardy because of his now-highly publicized past as a nude male stripper. First, on Tuesday night, judge Simon Cowell said the 24-year-old Arizona singer was one of the best in the competition and that he's a shoo-in for the top 12. Then, also on Tuesday, one of the show's executive producers, Ken Warwick, spoke to TVGuide and said Hernandez can stay as long as viewers want him.
Warwick said Hernandez's past as an employee at the Phoenix male strip club Dick's Cabaret — where he reportedly gave lap dances and performed fully nude for the club's "mostly gay" clientele until at least August — would not make "any difference" on whether or not he stays on the show. "The truth is, we're never judgmental about what people do to earn a living," Warwick told the Web site. "They've got to put food in people's mouths. We've had strippers on the show before. Nikki McKibbon was one in [season] 1. ... If it were some sort of heavy porn, then maybe we'd have to take action. But certainly not on this."
Warwick said producers were not aware of Hernandez's past before the rumors of his previous gig began surfacing last week, and even if they had been, it wouldn't have mattered. "There are a lot of people I know who'd love to have the opportunity just to make a better living by taking their clothes off," he said. But Warwick said he does feel bad for the show contestants who are suddenly thrust in the spotlight only to see their past dug up and put on display for the world. "David Hernandez, whatever you say, is a nice guy. And he can sing. He's got a great voice. He deserves to be there, as far as I'm concerned," Warwick said.
And while Cowell gave Hernandez props Tuesday night for his rendition of Pandora's Box's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" — and no mention was made of the scandal, even in the "embarrassing moments" segment — close watchers, or listeners, may have caught Cowell making a snarky comment off-camera, urging the other judges to say they "liked the way you stripped it down."
Further down the scandal scale, a video surfaced this week of Danny Noriega doing a Hot Topic "Grinch" shtick and making light of the Christmas season. In the 30-second, undated clip, a typically bored looking Noriega, complete with eyeshadow, furry-collared jacket and lip ring, rolls his eyes as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" plays in the background. "It's almost Christmas," he says sarcastically, "I want to wish all of you guys a merry Christmas and a happy new year," belting out the last bit.
But it's what he says next that got the blogs talking. "Okay, f--- that sh--," he sneers. "I hope Santa Claus rapes your f---ing mother and I hope you all get coal because you guys are all piece of sh--s." A spokesperson for "Idol" had no comment on the Warwick interview or the Noriega video when asked for a response on Wednesday (March 5).
And it's not just the boys. Some photos of Ramiele Malubay have also surfaced over the past week, including one in which she's grabbing her sushi restaurant co-worker's breast, as well as another where a pair of female friends are feeling Malubay's breasts.
The photos are pretty tame by "Idol" flesh-baring standards, and are nothing like the more revealing ones of last season's semi-finalist, Antonella Barba, but prove once again the fame on "Idol" may be fleeting, but dirty pictures are forever.
(For a less-scandalous story about one of the other Davids in this year's "American Idol," David Archuleta, head here.)
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