The votes are in... and these songs are hits!
American Idol fans remember David Hernandez's top 12 placement on the seventh season of the hit show. While some may recall his performances, others may remember the scrutiny he faced regarding rumors of his sexuality and previous experience as a stripper.
"When I was on American Idol, I was shamed for being a stripper and shamed for being gay. Now I'm doing the same thing and I'm out publicly, but I'm getting paid now. Look at me now," Hernandez said.
Earlier this year, Hernandez dropped his latest EP Don't @ Me, which gave the singer an opportunity to own his sexuality on his own terms.
"This wasn't a bitter EP. I'm in a place now where if you don't agree with what I'm doing or if you don't like what you see, Don't @ Me. Keep it moving. Unfollow. Mute me... whatever you have to do. It doesn't affect me. I don't think you can really explore your true potential if you're not honoring your authenticity and who you really are," Hernandez said.
After experiencing the media backlash early on in his career, the singer is now encouraging everyone to live their lives loudly, proudly, and authentically.
"It's really really hard hiding who you are. That's like a double life. I know how exhausting that is. I think being yourself is the most important thing. All I know is when you suppress yourself and you're not being who you are, it just makes you unhappy. The whole point in life is to be happy. So just be you boo," Hernandez said.
Another Idol alum is season four's Mikalah Gordon. After coming out as a lesbian following her time on the show, the star is finally dropping her debut album.
"This whole album is very important to me. There's a song about being raised Catholic and being gay and how that affected me. I really talk about my queerness in this album. I wrote this album for my people," Gordon said.
Her debut album Vivian is named after her late grandmother, with Gordon's family being a big inspiration behind the music.
"I love Vivian. I feel like her death was a rebirth for me, truly. [It] revealed all of the trauma that I had yet to deal with. I want people to leave feeling like [they] can do anything, [they] can say anything, [they] can be anything, [they] can feel anything. I hope that's how they feel when the album comes out," Gordon said.
Gordon tapped into many of her personal traumas growing up as writing material for her debut piece. The singer hopes her vulnerability will help younger generations feel empowered and less alone.
"I want this generation of little girls to not feel afraid. I think that has been the motivating factor for me when I felt like I wasn't strong enough to do it for myself. I thought of my niece and the love that I have for her," Gordon said.
Vivian drops September 9th on all platforms. Check out the lead single "Hands Off" below.