Photography by JUCO
“I don’t like to put myself in a box,” says Todrick Hall. And yet, in a sense, the 29-year-old Texas-born triple threat has done just that. In the two years since becoming a semifinalist on season 9 of American Idol, Hall has built a massive following thanks to his wildly popular YouTube videos, which incorporate pop songs and Disney favorites into saucy, intricate musical parodies, as if he were living in his very own episode of Glee. The clips — most of which Hall wrote, directed, and choreographed himself — include gems like “The Wizard of Ahhhs,” “Cinderoncé,” and “Mean Gurlz” (featuring actual Glee star Alex Newell) and have amassed more than 88 million views. They also helped Hall land a deal with Virgin America, for which he turned the humdrum, oft-ignored airline safety video into a charmingly over-the-top viral smash watched by more than 9 million users. Meanwhile, Beyonce recently tapped Hall to assist with choreography for the video for “Blow,” the bubbly, up-tempo track from her new album.
“She’s the epitome of what any celebrity wants to be,” Hall says of the artist, who served as the inspiration for several of his most popular clips. Now living in Los Angeles, Hall has signed with United Talent Agency and enlisted Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, to expand his budding empire. He’s been making videos for Marlon Wayans’s website, What the Funny, and in March he opened the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards with an elaborately choreographed medley of recent pop hits (the tribute’s highlight featured him swinging to and fro on a giant wrecking ball). “I want to take this world I’ve created online and put it on television,” Hall says. Given the spectacles he’s been creating this past year, it’s only a matter of time before he makes that dream a reality.