PORTLAND, Maine — Conor Tubbs of Portland has been a recurrent feature at Styxx Nightclub as drag singer Cherry Lemonade. This month Cherry steps out in a big way. The lusty performer with ultralong lashes appears on Fox’s “American Idol” Season 14.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” Tubbs said of his audition in front of celebrity judges J.Lo, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. last year where the singer belted out Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.”

“It’s a very eye-opening experience. Days upon days of different things you have to do, producers you have to impress,” the 27-year-old Tubbs said. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years. So when you get the opportunity, it’s go time and I was ready. I consider myself to be a professional.”

Tubbs, a South Portland native, said he does not know how far he’ll go on the talent show yet and an “Idol” spokeswoman contacted Thursday remained vague, confirming only that the singer has advanced past early auditions.

“I cannot comment on his current standing in the competition,” Idol spokeswoman Kristen Osborne said. “That does not mean we wouldn’t see him on TV this season.”

“He is a part of our Kansas City auditions, which will be shown in the episodes airing tonight and next Wednesday,” Molly O’Gara, an “Idol” spokesperson, said by email Thursday.

Not to be deterred, Tubbs was throwing a viewing party 8 p.m. Thursday at Styxx. Scenes from the show, possibly depicting Cherry Lemonade in song, were expected to flash on screen when the show airs.

Tubbs tried out for “Idol” three times before making the initial cut this summer when the Fox audition bus pulled into the Maine State Pier on a sticky July day. Amid the hundreds who waited in line to audition, Tubbs stood out. Fully made-up as his alter-ego Cherry Lemonade, he belted out Winehouse songs and Motown hits as he waited for his turn.

“Being able to incorporate drag gave me a bit of an edge,” he said.

The entertainer went on to further auditions in other cities. How many? We’ll have to wait to find out.

Since then, his trajectory has been a whirlwind.

“I got to do something really amazing that others don’t get to and I got to do it on my terms,” said Tubbs, who is working on a record of original songs and is getting out-of-state gigs propelled by his brush with fame.

His advice for would-be contestants?

“A lot of people go on the show and try to be what they think the judges want,” said Tubbs. “I decided I was going to be me.”

Purple eyeshadow and all.

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.