Danny Noriega (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Danny Noriega is a solo singer that received attention during the seventh season of American Idol. He made it through the top 16, but was controversially voted off and was unable to make it to the top 12. After he was eliminated from the competition, Danny returned to his home in Asuza and he took part in a number of interviews. He has stated that he plans to move to Hollywood, California with his family.
Not much is known about Danny's childhood, other than he grew up with his mother and brother in Azusa, California. It is said he is of Cuban heritage. In an interview with American Idol, Danny confessed that he was once part of a punk rock band during high school, and he noted that his most embarrassing moment when he was tripped on the stairs at a movie theaters. Danny names Fantasia Barrino, the American Idol Season 3 winner, as one of his musical inspirations. He also names Britney Spears, Ashlee Simpson, and M.I.A. as some of his favorite recording artists. Danny began to sing at the age of 11.
Danny originally auditioned for American Idol during the season 6 auditions and he made it to the Hollywood rounds. He cut his hair and wore baggier clothes, planning to impress the judges with an image, and he was ultimately sent home before making the top 100. Danny auditioned a year later in San Diego and promised himself that he would be himself no matter what. His rendition of Proud Mary was praised by the judges and he made it through the Hollywood rounds again. Danny continued to impress the judges and he made it the top 24 cut. During his time on American Idol, Danny became very close to Ramiele Malubay and Kady Malloy. He also became good friends with Colton Berry, who was eliminated during the top 24 elimination. Danny also acknowledged that he connected with performer Chikezie, as they both were cut from the Hollywood rounds a year earlier, and subsequently made it to the top 24 during season seven.
Despite earning praise for his vocal capability in earlier rounds, Danny was highly criticized for his song choices, and Simon Cowell noted some of his performances as "grotesque" and "horrible." While both Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul enjoyed Danny's rendition of Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock", Simon criticized it and Danny hit back at him with a sarcastic comment. Danny became notorious for talking back to Simon, and even Simon found his comments humorous. Though Simon complemented Danny on improving with "Superstar", Danny continued to joke around by sarcastically admitting that he agreed with Simon's critique of his previous performance. When Danny sang "Tainted Love", the audiences love it, but Randy felt that Danny was being vocally shy, though both him and Paula agreed that the arrangement of the song was superb. Simon criticized Danny's performance and called it horrible, which lead Danny to hit back with making a hand gesture that Simon Cowell became known for using during the coarse of the season.
Despite receiving a safe margin of votes from DialIdol, Danny was eliminated from the competition on March 6, 2008. The elimination was shock to the viewers and fellow contestants, and Chikezie hugged a sobbing Danny, while Ramiele hysterically began to break down in tears. Ryan Seacrest called Danny one of the most "courageous" performers to ever perform on the show, and Danny sang his rendition of Tainted Love one last time. In a later interview, Danny revealed that Randy and Paula came back stage to show their support for him, but Simon was nowhere to be seen.
During Danny's run on American Idol, two videos had appeared on YouTube and MySpace and fans have speculated that they could of lead to him being eliminated. In one of the videos, Danny is seen talking about Santa Clause and Christmas, using profane and vulgar language. In the other video, Danny sings Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools", and then jumps into an original rap. In the rap song, Danny admits that he is gay and critics have stated that the American Public is too homophobic to have a gay American Idol and it could of lead to Danny being eliminated. The speculation grew a week later, as David Hernandez was eliminated from the competition. Only two weeks earlier, word broke out that Hernandez once worked as a male stripper in a gay bar.
All of Danny's semi-final performances were released as singles on iTunes, along with the season's other top 24 contestants.
Due to his upbeat nature and fun personality, Danny continued to receive attention after he was eliminated from American Idol. A few days after his elimination, actress and comedian Rosie O'Donnell posted a video blog with a job offer to Danny. She invited him and a friend to one of her family cruises, and she asked for Danny to perform on the cruise. She also praised his performance of "Tainted Love" and complimented Danny by calling him beautiful. Danny also became popular on the Internet, as he was named as an entertainer on the live chat site Stickam and his friend count on social networking site MySpace began to drastically grow. On March 12, 2008, Danny made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen DeGeneres interviewed Danny and then had him sing his version of "Superstar" by The Carpenters.