urged all the single ladies out there to "put a ring
on it," it didn't take but a minute for
gay boys everywhere to upload the tune to cell phones,
bootleg the single, and make the phrase their update on
Facebook. But few people connected with the anthem quite so
passionately as Shane Mercado.
wearing nothing but a T-shirt cut right above his pecs and
leotard bottoms a la Jennifer Beals in
Flashdance, his exact recreation of the
"Single Ladies" dance quickly shot to the top
of YouTube's most viewed list -- and it landed
him a spot on Bonnie Hunt's daytime talk show
and, last week, on the arm of the pop star herself for
the premiere of her new film, Cadillac Records.
And while the classically trained dancer vowed that if he
ever met his idol, he'd ask her to sing for him, with
flashbulbs and cameras capturing their every move, he
had to settle for some well-staged photo ops -- and
some "fierce" compliments from the former
Destiny's Child front woman.
Advocate.com:This video has become huge. Did you ever have any
idea it would take off like it has?Shane Mercado: I just did it for fun -- I had
no idea what would happen, and before I knew it, I had more
than 200 messages from people on You Tube --
strangers, actually -- and the numbers just kept on
climbing [as of this interview, more than 1.5 million
people had watched the original video Mercado posted].
I would assume, dressed like that and doing that
dance, you knew everybody was going to instantly know
that you're gay. Of course.
Did you ever have any hesitation of putting it out
there like that? Not at all. I've been comfortable with
this since day one. And I expected the comments ... it
didn't bother me a bit.
So what's been the best thing that's
happened to you since this video took off? I would definitely have to say meeting
Beyonce. They invited me to walk the red carpet
and meet her at the Cadillac Records premiere.
How long did you get to hang with her? We had a couple of minutes. I didn't
actually see the movie. It was great because she knew
exactly who I was -- she must have seen that video early
on, because she said she's been wanting to meet me
and she said, "You must have learned it like the day
after the video premiered."
What's the first thing she said to you? She came up to me and she was like, "Are you the
guy with that hot outfit? You're very
So does this mean you're going to be going out
for a Beyonce video anytime soon? Absolutely, I would. I actually auditioned to
dance for Destiny's Child a few years ago, but
I'm not your typical sort of Beyonce dancer.
I want to go back really quickly to your answer
about being gay and putting yourself out there.
That's so refreshing to hear ... Well, I came out when I was 15. I'm 27
now. I'm a dancer at Splash [in New York]. The
first people I told were my parents, and they're
supportive. My whole family knows. I just don't even
think about it anymore.
It's clear from the video that you're a
kick-ass dancer -- trained, I assume? Yeah, I'm classically trained.
So what other projects are you working on? I'm doing some freelance dance and
talking to some agents at the moment. I graduated from
the La Guardia Performing Arts High School. I've been
very lucky to have the experiences that I've had in
my life. At 18, I was in Japan touring with a club
artist. I did Grease; I toured Europe for six
months. Toured China. But yeah, I'm doing some
freelance gigs right now -- before I posted this video
and everything took off, I was actually thinking that
I didn't want to do dance anymore.
Well, it's a good thing you didn't quit.
Has the video led to any gigs? It's led to a few people wanting me to
host their parties, a couple of fashion shows people
have wanted me to participate, a benefit for the gay
and lesbian center... and actually, a couple of people
who have wanted me to fly into their town and teach
them the routine. They've offered to pay for my
flight an everything. It's insane.
So is Beyonce your diva, then? You love her more
than anyone else? Anyone ... Nobody does it like her -- and
knowing she's not a trained dancer.
She's just luscious. I've loved her since day
one of Destiny's Child.
So will we be seeing you doing any other video? Well, 90% of the reason for me doing this video
was because you can see the choreography from the
first to last second. Most of the other videos out
there, they're all edit. So we'll see.