Is Adore Delano the Next Big Pop Star?

by Anneliese Cooper

When Adore Delano lost out to Bianca Del Rio in the RuPaul's Drag Race finale, the whole giant #TeamAdore fandom made their Twitter-y despair known — but, little did they know, they needed only wait a few hours for their frontrunner to make a triumphant comeback. Following almost immediately after the final episode aired, Adore dropped the video for her first single, the down and dirty "DTF." Indeed, Adore is clearly wasting no time rolling out her album, Till Death Do Us Party, as she has already released yet another video: "I Adore U," a mournful pop ode to a cheating boyfriend (and, of course, a cheeky bit of self-promotion).

If there's one thing to be said for both of these tracks, it's that they are perhaps the most viable pop tunes to come out of Drag Race yet. Most of the other queens' musical releases — and, hoo boy, have there been a decent few — amount to the performer in question essentially talking campily over techno. Sure, Jinkx Monsoon's aptly titled The Inevitable Album is plenty and skillfully musical, but it tends to take the cabaret route (see: her Broadway-ready cover of Radiohead's "Creep"). Meanwhile, accomplished songstresses Willam and Detox, along with non-Drag Race alum Vicky Vox, have made a name for themselves by parodying pop, from "Too Late to Apologize" to "Girl Is on Fire," but that's more YouTube's fare than record labels'. And Sharon Needles, while I adore her on a plethora of levels, just didn't quite have the pipes to back up her debut, PG-13. Adore is the only one who seems intent upon working in the mainstream pop idiom, and none too shabbily at that.

It's not all that surprising, of course, seeing as how "Adore Delano" is the nom de plume of Danny Noriega, who first rose to fame on American Idol Season 7; runs, melismas, and much belting were to be expected. And yet, taking a ramble through the 11 tracks of Till Death Do Us Party, there's also plenty of campy talk-techno to be had — "I'm polish remover! I'm ratchet couture! I'm a goddamn mermaid!" she shouts in "I Look Fuckin' Cool," before the beat drops into your standard four-on-the-floor. When it comes to "crazy shit shouted to a beat," it's hard to beat Raja's "Diamond Crowned Queen" — "S-E-X, sex for dinner / I'm a thunder-breathing dragon cat" will win my heart, every time — but even so, that homage to her draggy club roots makes Adore's output so far all kinds of heartening (and more importantly, danceable).

Plus, let's be honest, even if "I Adore U" is more standard-fare, this video is really freakin' cool — with its saturated visuals, its Memento-esque backwards footage-meets-forwards timeline. Watch, below, and contemplate our favorite glitter crayon's steadily rising pop success:

Image: DannyNoriega/YouTube; teammermaidadoredelano/Tumblr