In 2008, Noriega appeared on the seventh season of American Idol, making it to the semi-finals. He became known for his flamboyant personality and sassy rapport with the judges, notably a comment towards judge Simon Cowell, "Some people weren't liking it", after his first live performance, which later went viral and was frequently featured on The Soup. After watching him on Idol, Rosie O'Donnell invited Noriega to perform on her R Family Vacations cruise.
Following Idol, Noriega became a YouTube personality, performing skits as himself, in drag as Adore Delano, or as her other character, Angel Baby. In June 2009, Noriega released the music video for "24/7," featuring Diamonique.
2011-Present: Drag career, RuPaul's Drag Race, and further music
After seeing RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Raven perform at the nightclub Micky's in West Hollywood, Noriega was inspired to enter a drag competition at the club, later winning it on October 3, 2011. Following the win, Noriega started performing regularly in Southern California as Adore Delano. Along with other RuPaul's Drag Race contestants, Adore walked the Marco Marco runway for Los Angeles Fashion Week in 2013.
Adore performing in June 2014
In December 2013, Logo announced that Adore Delano was among 14 drag queens who would be competing on the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Adore had previously competed for the Season 5 fan-vote, ultimately losing to Penny Tration. Despite a slow start to the competition, Delano eventually went on to win three challenges, the joint most of the season. She became a member of the final three and in the season finale, was ultimately named co-runner up along with Courtney Act, losing to Bianca Del Rio.
Immediately following the finale of Drag Race, Noriega released the single "DTF" on May 20, 2014, his first single as Adore Delano and the leading single off album "Til Death Do Us Party". The full album was released on June 3, 2014, and debuted at #3 on the Dance/Electronic Albums Chart as well as #59 on the Billboard 200, making Delano the highest selling artist of any RuPaul's Drag Race contestant.