Portland drag performer invites adoring fans to 'Idol' party – Press Herald
And Conor Tubbs, aka Cherry Lemonade, isn’t the only Mainer who might be a contestant.
Portland singer and drag performer Conor Tubbs could make his “American Idol” debut as early as Thursday, in this season’s second episode of the Fox star-making show.
And he wants everyone to know about it.
Tubbs was on three Portland radio stations Wednesday telling people he might appear on Thursday’s 8 p.m. episode and inviting them to join him at a viewing party at the Styxx nightclub in Portland. That’s one of three local clubs where Tubbs, 27, regularly sings and hosts as his drag queen alter ego, Cherry Lemonade.
If people come to the viewing party, he said, he would share “backstage” information.
“If a contestant comes on and I know them, I might say a few things about them, but not too much,” said Tubbs, sitting in the PeRx-U-Up Cafe on Marginal Way on Wednesday morning.
At least one other Mainer has posted on Facebook about being a contestant this season, though she’s not doing as big a public relations campaign as Tubbs. “Idol’s” first show of the season was Wednesday.
Kristin Korda of Saco – Miss Maine 2013 – said Wednesday she auditioned in Portland and then again before the judges in New York City. She said she did not know when the New York auditions episode would air but has heard it might be next week.
Korda, 22, posted a picture of herself with an “American Idol” logo, as well as a video that includes this season’s top 24 contestants – the singers are filmed in shadows and can’t be recognized. With the video she posted the comment “Hear anyone familiar?”
Fox publicists have not named any other Mainers who may be on “Idol” this season.
Tubbs’ media blitz Wednesday was a big change from just a week ago, when he said Fox publicists told him he couldn’t talk about his upcoming appearance on the show. But on Wednesday, Tubbs said publicists had given him “the green light” to tell people that he might show up on Thursday’s episode, which will focus on auditions in Kansas City, Missouri, where Tubbs auditioned for the show’s celebrity judges.
Tubbs also did his first audition in Portland in July at an “American Idol” bus tour stop, which drew 1,000 hopefuls. He said he was one of about 13 people there who advanced to another round of auditions.
Tubbs said he spent long stretches of time with other contestants and met new friends while waiting to perform during his “American Idol” tryouts.
He gave both his real name and his Cherry Lemonade pseudonym while auditioning and said he isn’t sure which name will be used on the show. He didn’t appear in full drag to audition but wore makeup. He didn’t want to wear his wig for the 10 or 12 hours he waited to audition because “synthetic hair is hot.” But whenever he performs, he considers himself “in drag,” he said.
“We’re all born naked and the rest is drag,” said Tubbs, who makes a living performing and tending bar.
Tubbs has posted a video of himself auditioning for the show’s celebrity judges – Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. – singing the song “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. He’s also written several posts since December on his Facebook pages about becoming a contestant on “American Idol.” He also posted the final 24 video, as Korda did.
It’s unclear how far Tubbs or Korda has made it on the show, since neither they nor Fox publicists will say. If their auditions do air, viewers will find out if they are among the lucky people who get a “golden ticket” to the “Hollywood” round of auditions. That’s where the competition really begins.
The first month of episodes will feature highlights of auditions from around the country. In February, a couple hundred people will be seen competing at auditions in Hollywood for the top 48 spots. Then, the pool will be pared to 24. The weekly performances and elimination of finalists likely won’t begin until late February or March. The season usually ends with a winner announced in May.
Tubbs said Wednesday that the highlights of his “American Idol” experience so far have included meeting interesting fellow contestants and dealing with the media. He’s mostly proud to be representing Portland’s vibrant music scene, he said.
“There are so many talented people. I know that I just happen to be on this show, and it does not mean I’m any better than anyone else,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs said people he hasn’t seen for a while have come up to him to congratulate him, often saying they are proud of him. His friends and family have helped “keep me grounded” by not making a fuss over him.
As he talked Wednesday, Tubbs pointed to his close friend and musical collaborator Susanne Gerry, who was working behind the counter at the coffee shop. Gerry called him “30 times” Wednesday morning to help wake him up in time for morning radio interviews, he said. Other than that, she hasn’t made a big deal about him being on “Idol.”
“It’s not that I’m not happy for you,” Gerry said. “But life continues.”