Ousted 'Idol' hopeful Danny Noriega goes on Rosie O'Donnell cruise
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/18/2008
Danny Noriega may not be a seventh-season finalist, but he didn't walk away fromAmerican Idol completely empty handed.
The flamboyant 18-year-old from Azuza, CA took Rosie O'Donnell up on her recent invite for a free Mexican cruise as part on her R Family Vacations line, the former The View gabber revealed Saturday in a video posted on her personal blog.
"Look who's on the cruise! Danny Noriega! Hi honey!," gushed O'Donnell in the clip, which also featured the ousted Idol seventh-season semifinalist.
"Let me just say: I love you, I love your attitude, I love your spunk, I love your sassy ways, and I love your voice," O'Donnell told Noriega.
"I love your guts," he answered.
Following Noriega's March 6 elimination from Idol's seventh season, O'Donnell offered him the free cruise via her blog.
"Come on there, and I want you to sing 'Tainted Love,'" said O'Donnell, a reference to the last song Noriega sand as a semifinalist. "I think you're fantastic. And I think you're a bold and brave and beautiful young man. And I admire you, Danny Noriega. You have an amazing voice. And your hair looks good straight."
While Noriega never officially accepted O'Donnell's invitation, he posted that she was "such an inspiration" for him in a subsequent online video of his own.
Noriega was accompanied on the cruise by his cousin, but it was also a reality-star studded event. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno personality -- and former Celebrity Fit Club participant -- Ross "The Intern" Matthews was also onboard the cruise and featured in the video clip.
"I started screaming," said Matthews when he learned Noriega was there. "I didn't even know!"
In addition, the cruise also featured Last Comic Standing finalist and fellow former Celebrity Fit Club participant Ant. Both Ant and Matthews are openly gay.
"I was so excited. I was like, is he single?" said Ant when he learned Noriega was on the cruise. "He has the voice of an angel, and I love the fact that he was so out and proud."
"I think your personal life and your job are two different things," Noriega told reporters when the subject was broached. "I think people should respect that and know the fine line between that. Privacy is really important."