Any time a new season of “American Idol” premieres (as it did on Tuesday night), we get a little nostalgic for the handful of talented people who held their own on the show but came up just a bit short in the end. (We’re looking at you and your woefully underrated album, Brooke White.) But because the early episodes of any “Idol” season focus so intensely on the crazy people, it’s always more fun to think about the true disasters in “Idol” history.
While we rarely pass up a chance to mock Justin Guarini, today we celebrate William Hung, who celebrates his birthday today. For those of you who may have forgotten, Hung was a contestant on the third season of “Idol” who auditioned with a comically inept version of Ricky Martin‘s “She Bangs” (it has to be the only time in “Idol” history that anybody auditioned with that particular tune). Hung took a predictable tongue-lashing from Simon Cowell while Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul desperately attempted to contain their composure.
But rather than get upset, Hung showed an unflinchingly positive attitude during the whole fiasco, which lent him some cult fame that quickly grew into actual fame. He appeared on talk shows, performed at sporting events and eventually signed a record deal with Koch. His debut, 2004’s Inspiration, contained a series of Hung’s favorite covers (including “She Bangs”) and sold a respectable 38,000 copies in its opening week.
Hung put out two more albums (including a Christmas-themed collection called Hung for the Holidays) but has kept a relatively low profile in the past few years. Here’s hoping he has a happy birthday — and that he still likes “She Bangs.”