Todrick Hall (born April 4, 1985) is an American rapper, singer, actor, dancer, director, choreographer, and YouTuber. He rose to prominence on the ninth season of American Idol, where he made it to the semi-finals. Since then, Hall has become notable as a YouTube star and judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Todrick Hall was born in Plainview, Texas , on April 4, 1985. His family consists of his mother, father, one brother, and a stepfather. Hall began studying ballet at nine-years-old, and later worked with Fantasia in The Color Purple. He also appeared in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and performed with Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
On August 24, 2009, Hall auditioned to the ninth season of American Idol in Dallas, Texas. He sang a self-composed song mentioning the judges – Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, and guest judge Joe Jonas – to plead his case for inclusion in the program. All four judges approved of his participation; he went into Hollywood week and eventually the semi-finals.
In the Top 24, he sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and in the Top 20, he performed Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. He was eliminated in the Top 16 on 11 March 2010 after his rendition of Queen’s “Somebody to Love;” he was one of four contestants eliminated in that round, and thus ranked between 13th and 16th overall.
Hall joined YouTube on 27 May 2006, and posted his first video to the site, a performance of “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye,” in 2008. In following years, his audience has grown considerably: as of September 2017, Hall currently has 2.67 million subscribers on YouTube, and as of September 2017, his videos have been viewed 483.8 million times. Hall’s videos include several of his own original songs and music videos, choreographed flash mobs for Ariana Grande and Beyoncé performed in an actual Target store, (the latter of which Beyoncé personally recognized Hall for), musical collaborations with Pentatonix, and personal updates.
In May 2011, he released a video audition for the third season of Glee titled “I Wanna Be on Glee”, for possible inclusion in the show. Though the video was popular, Hall was not cast in the program. In November 2013, Virgin America produced a pop-music safety video directed by Jon M. Chu with music by Jean-Yves Decornet. Hall wrote the song and lyrics and starred in the video.
In December 2013, Hall released a Christmas album entitled Dear Santa, with covers of “This Christmas” and “Sleigh Bells,” as well as original songs “So Cold” and “SplitsOnXmasTrees.”
Throughout 2014 and 2015, Hall produced and released a web series on his YouTube channel called Pop Star High. The project spawned several videos and his second studio album also called Pop Star High.
On October 22, 2014, MTV announced Todrick, a docuseries following Hall, would premiere in 2015. On 20 December 2014, Hall produced and appeared in a commercial for the series and featured other celebrities’ holiday wishes. Eight episodes of the docuseries were ordered and aired throughout 2015.
In October 2015, he was picked as Elvis Duran’s Artist of the Month and was featured on NBC’s Today show hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb and broadcast nationally where he performed live his single “Wind It Up”.
Hall appeared as a guest judge on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race; the episode, which featured a Wizard of Oz-inspired challenge, first aired on 11 April 2016. Hall reappeared as a full-time judge for RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 2 later in 2016 and again for the ninth season aired throughout 2017.
Along with Drag Race, Hall frequently appeared on Logo TV’s game show Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul alongside other celebrities. A second Season of Gay for Play is expected.
On 23 June 2016, Todd self-released his third album, Straight Outta Oz. Straight Outta Oz is a visual concept album that uses the imagery of The Wizard of Oz to explore Todd’s own life and rise to fame. The project’s first video was posted to YouTube on 23 June 2016 as well. Shortly thereafter, Hall announced the Straight Outta Oz Tour to promote the album. The tour originally ran between 7 July and 12 August 2016 in the United State and Canada.
The Straight Outta Oz Tour was interrupted by Hall’s casting in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots. Hall starred as Lola, a drag queen cabaret performer. Hall’s performance was well received by critics. He performed as Lola from 1 November 2016 to 1 March 2017.
The Straight Outta Oz Tour was revived in 2017 and will run again between 30 March and 5 June in various North American, European, and Australian locations.
In August 2017, he had a cameo as a back-up dancer in the music video for Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do.
From November 30, 2017 to January 14, 2018, he is playing Billy Flynn in a limited engagement role in Chicago.
Hall is a baritenor with a soulful, expressive voice, including falsetto; in addition to a singer, Hall is also a rapper. The genre of his works include R&B, pop, hip hop, neo-soul, funk, and musical theatre. Many of his lyrics include elements of social commentary, such as gun violence in and against black communities in “Water Guns (featuring Jordin Sparks),” acceptance of interracial relationships in “Color (featuring Jay Armstrong Johnson),” and queer culture; Hall writes and produces much of his own music. Hall also posts musical tributes to his favorite musical artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift. These tributes feature elaborately-produced mashups of the artists’ songs sung by Hall.
Hall’s music videos often feature extravagant production value not typically associated with artists outside major labels. Hall’s videos often include bespoke costumes and urban fashion, elaborate sets, and extensive choreography, much of which is designed or created by Hall himself. He frequently directs his own videos as well. As part of his style, many of Hall’s music videos include drag as a central component, either featuring Hall in drag himself or famous drag queens including RuPaul, Bob the Drag Queen, Willam Belli, and Alaska Thunderfuck, among others.
Hall’s fans call themselves “Toddlerz.”