'American Idol' Castoff David Hernandez Eyed For 'Rent' Role As Musical Is Extended To September

Former stripper probably won't land lead part in the play, which had been scheduled to close June 1.

When MTV News learned that "American Idol" reject David Hernandez had come to New York to audition for the Broadway musical "Rent," we had two questions: Would he let us follow him around on the big day? (No.) And why would he audition for a play scheduled to end its 12-year run on June 1?

We got that second answer Thursday (March 27), when it was announced that "Rent" will be extending its run through September 7. According to the show's press representative, Richard Kornberg, ticket demand for the long-running musical has risen significantly since the announcement of its imminent closing, and producers wanted to take advantage of the potentially lucrative summer season before lowering the curtain for good. As Kornberg put it, they "want to go out with a bang."

The news is less than thrilling for Hernandez — who made it to the "Idol" top 12 despite the revelation of his stripping past, only to be eliminated after a weak performance of the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." Kornberg confirmed that the Arizona native did audition for the one role that was available: Roger, an HIV-positive musician and former heroin addict. But while producers were impressed with Hernandez's vocal ability, they did not think he was right for a lead role, given his lack of theater experience. They're now considering him for a smaller part and will make a decision within a few weeks.

Like other high-profile Broadway productions, "Rent" has had success with former "Idol" performers — both Frenchie Davis and Tamyra Gray have appeared in the musical. And given the amount of publicity Hernandez has already earned (as much from his scandalous past as his vocal chops), if he does manage to snag even a small part, demand for those hard-to-get tickets should rise even higher.

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