This rebooted season of American Idol has had no shortage of standout contestants, but a few of them have been wowing the judges and viewers on a whole other level. One of those is Ada Vox. Ada is the drag queen alter ego of Adam Sanders, who first tried out for American Idol during a previous season but was cut in the Hollywood rounds. No matter who he's performing as or what happened in the past, there's some serious talent there. And, as the below videos of Ada Vox singing before American Idol prove, there always has been.
It turns out that after his initial audition, Adam was attacked online for how he appeared on the show. "After American Idol, I started getting messages on social media every day,” Adam told the camera before his audition as Ada. “People attacked my weight, my sexuality, telling me that I was horrible, that I sucked, that I don’t deserve to be here, that I shouldn’t be who I am. And I let it get to me in a wrong way. It killed me inside. It killed me inside almost as much as people were telling me that I should kill myself … I was contemplating lots of things that I shouldn’t have."
Enter Ada. She helped Adam get back on track in the singing world. As seen in this cover of Adele's "Hello," Ada's vocals are astounding.
Long before stunning the judges with unique and thoughtful renditions of classics like Radiohead's "Creep," Ada was also putting her vocal skills to the test with even more time-tested classics like Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman" and Annie Lennox's "I Put A Spell On You," both found on YouTube. Adam's YouTube channel is listed under his birth name, and has videos dating all the way back to six years ago, including plenty in which he's performing as Adam and not Ada. Some of those include huge ballads like Sia's "Chandelier" and "Defying Gravity" from the Broadway musical, Wicked. The channel also has nearly 3,000 subscribers, showing that this contestant has plenty of supporters dating back even before the American Idol appearance.
Clearly, the haters who questioned Adam's talent during his first run on the show had no idea what they were talking about — the voice behind these performances is undeniable. And with this new arc on the show as Ada, that's being proven time and time again. Since appearing on American Idol, "Creep" isn't the only mega-hit she's taken on. Her very first audition song was "House Of The Rising Sun," and in the subsequent Hollywood round — which went much better for her this time — she took part in Jason Derulo's "Want to Want Me" with her group.
She's been met with a ton of praise from the judges, unsurprisingly, and Ada definitely started the first essential weeks of the competition off on the right foot. This isn't solely because of that chilling voice — a lot of it has to do with Ada's unashamed ability to be her authentic self up on that stage. Whether it's Adam or Ada who's performing, both on American Idol and in these old YouTube videos, the perspective as a singer is clear. "We’ve had a lot of artists come on here, talented, but a bit confused," judge Lionel Richie told Ada after her audition, according to Billboard. "What you are giving us is a clear understanding of who you are, coming in with an amazing amount of talent."
Ada is now in the top 24 performers — a feat that's infinitely more high-profile than the Hollywood weeks that weren't always so kind to her — and something tells me she's got plenty more up her sleeve. Fans of the show are rooting for her to continue into the final rounds, but regardless of the outcome of this season, her talent and star power will endure as they always have.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.