American Idol star stays despite past as stripper

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Posing topless on the Internet may have got first season favorite Frenchie booted from American Idol, but according to a statement from the executive producer, David Hernandez stripping down to his birthday suit and offering up lap dances will have no effect on his standing in the singing competition.

The popular singer, who scored rave marks from judges last week for his performance of The Temptations hit Papa Was a Rolling Stone, worked as a stripper at the Phoenix-based Dick’s Cabaret, according to the Associated Press.

But American Idol executive producer Ken Warwick told TV Guide they’ve had many erotic dancers on their show, and Hernandez’s past is his business.

“We’ve had strippers on the show before. We’re never judgmental about people who do things like that,” Warwick said.

“If it were some sort of heavy porn, then maybe we’d have to take action. But certainly not on this.”

The 24-year-old Hernandez performed in the nude and gave lap dances to the male clientele, according to club manager Gordy Bryan, who told his story to the AP on Monday.

Bryan said Hernandez had worked at the club for three years, until September 30, 2007.

That’s nearly two months after his July audition for American Idol. His reason for leaving? He didn’t renew his licensing with the state, Bryan said.

Back in the first season of the show, Frenchie, who has since gone on to create a name for herself on the Broadway stage, was booted from the show when topless pictures appeared on the Internet.

So far, Idol producers haven’t been pressed on the Frenchie factor.

Though Hernendez has never discussed his work as a stripper publicly, a photo of him bartending shirtless at the Phoenix gay club Burn were posted on last week.