David Hernandez, the American Idol contestant with a past as a male stripper, will remain on the show, sources have confirmed.
The A.P. is reporting that an insider close to the show said Fox had no plans to remove Hernandez from AI, while an exec producer has brushed off the scandal and said they will not take any action against him. 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, said strip club manager Gordy Bryan.
Fox and the producers behind the hit show have declined to comment officially on Hernandez.
But Idol executive producer Ken Warwick has told TV Guide: "It won’t make any difference. The truth is, we’re never judgmental about what people do to earn a living. 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."
Mr Warwick told the magazine that the show hadn’t been aware of Hernandez’s career as a stripper before it appeared in the media. But he said that even if producers had known about it, they would not have stopped him from appearing on the show.
He added: "If the public doesn’t like him, then they’ll get rid of him."
Hernandez, who was scheduled to perform a song from the ’80s during a live telecast on Tuesday with the other male singers as the semi-finalists are narrowed down to the final 12 this week, was unavailable for interviews.
This isn’t the first time a contestant on American Idol has dappled in adult entertainment. In 2003, semifinalist Frenchie Davis was dismissed from the show because of her appearance on an adult Web site. Last year, Antonella Barba was allowed to stay despite racy photos of her that surfaced on the Internet. A source close to Idol said Davis’s situation was different because of the site’s age-themed content.
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 for his performances.
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 on what talent he would most like to have if he couldn’t sing, Hernandez responded: ”Dancing! I’m horrible at that.”