There's a reason we remember and still love William Hung more than half of the "American Idol" winners.
This weekend marks the triumphant return of "American Idol" to the television airwaves, but there will be some marked changes as it shifts from Fox to ABC. For one, the judging panel is all new, featuring Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. But easily one of the biggest changes is that the show will no longer spotlight those terrible auditions that became as much a signature of the show as its winners.
"It doesn't feel comfortable to put borderline unstable people up on stage and laugh at them," new showrunner Trish Kinane told reporters at the TCA winter tour, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Instead, their focus will be on finding legitimate music stars.
We say, why not both? The original "American Idol" managed to introduce the world to Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood at the same time everyone came to know William Hung and learned not to leave their "Pants on the Ground." There is room for both the good and the bad, and some would argue the bad only helps us to appreciate the good more.
In tribute to all the terrible auditions we won't get to see anymore on "American Idol," we thought we'd take a stroll down memory lane to eight of the best worst auditions we ever had the (mis)fortune of witnessing. Put in your earplugs, folks, because it's about to get messy.
Keith Beukelaer Is Like a Virgin
"I'm very entertaining and unique" expressed in a dead monotone is how Keith Beukelaer described himself to the judges before singing. He was certainly that. His meek demeanor hid a diva of epic proportions, as he cavorted uncomfortably to his own wretched vocals on Madonna's "Like a Virgin." America didn't know it was possible to sing completely through your nose until Keith showed them the way.
James Lewis Won't Let Us Go
James Lewis said his specialty was going low, and he did just that with "Go Down Moses." But, it sounded like some sort of comedic ogre performance than an attempt at singing. His delivery didn't help, bellowing from a wide open mouth. Poor James had to endure the panel erupting into laughter because it just didn't even sound like singing. Imagine if a fog horn suddenly gained the ability to sing, and was terrible.
Mary Roach Is the Original Weird
Mary Roach described her vocal style as "pop/rock meets Broadway meets jazz and r&b." It was none of those things. She tackled Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move" and nearly killed it. "Weirdness is originality, too," she told Simon when he told her hers was one of the weirdest voices he'd ever heard, and then proved it by offering to sing in different voices. After hearing the first one, it was a hard pass on any more.
Steven Theon Turns Simon Red
Steven Theon admitted he wasn't a big fan of "Idol," but he had plenty of fans when he would sing "karoke." It's easy to see how he could entertain a crowd with his stoic demeanor and crackly falsetto. And we use the term falsetto very loosely, as it's more like a a child choking on a chew toy. After destroying "Bohemian Rhapsody," he challenged Simon to step up and coach him. "Like it's my fault again," Simon marveled.
Isadora Furman Murders Marmalade
Isadora Furman is a palm reader who did not read Ryan Seacrest's palm very accurately. Nor did she see how well her audition wouldn't go. If only her tambourine had been louder to drown out whatever she did to "Lady Marmalade." The only thing more out of control than her voice was whatever those dance moves were. "I'm a good singer, thank you very much," she lied to the judges on her way out. Wrong again.
William Hung Bangs
Quite possibly the most beloved of all terrible auditioners, William Hung was a civil engineering major at UC Berkeley who took the "Idol" world by storm with his adorably tone deaf rendition of "She Bangs." Afterward, he told the judges, "I already gave my best and I have no regrets at all." His sweetness charmed a nation and he inexplicably became something of a star anyway.
Larry Platt Drops His Pants
The 62-year-old General Larry Platt was clearly over the age limit, but he had a message that he wanted to spread through song and it was that he was tired of seeing young people sagging their pants. "Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!" Larry sang triumphantly. "I have a horrible feeling that song could be a hit," Simon said before the entire panel joined him for the rousing chorus. Alas, the pesky age limit ended his "Idol" dreams right there.
Leroy Wells Loses His Damn Mind
Quality is subjective. Some would call this audition terrible. Some have called it the greatest audition in the history of the show. Certainly, Leroy Wells was one of the most joyously lunatic people to ever walk onto the "Idol" set. About the only thing we could understand was his name and catchphrase, "Can you dig it!" We don't know what was happening, but we know we could definitely dig it, and probably watch him do whatever it is that he does for hours.