I am not a fan of the reject episodes of American Idol, being that they trade on cruelty, delusion, excrementitious talent, confrontation, and more cruelty. I think the reaction William Hung has received is due to his enthusiastic guilelessness in the face of rudely dismissive criticism from the AI judges, especially Simon. When an auditioner is THAT far out of the running on every level, does it really make sense to judge that person harshly based upon the normal criteria? Clearly the public has said no.
Hung is now all over the Internet and getting all kinds of attention:
- The “American Idol” judges said William Hung bombed with his gotta-see-it-to-believe-it rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”
But rejection turned out to have a silver – maybe even platinum – lining. In the weeks since he got booted by the TV talent show, the 21-year-old Hung has become an insta-Net celebrity, sought after by talk shows, record producers and Idol dreamers everywhere.
By now, unless your TV set is permanently tuned to PBS, you’ve probably seen Hung in action – arms waving over his head, hips following the beat of an entirely different drummer as he cheerfully attacks Martin’s song.
The song fights back; the song wins. And yet the mild-mannered civil engineering student is undeniably charming, his reedy tenor bringing a boyish exuberance to the sexy lyrics.
….Hung, who was born in Hong Kong but moved to Southern California with his family as a child, has always been interested in music. But he was concentrating on a steadier line of work, studying at the University of California, Berkeley, until he won a dorm talent contest singing, of course, “She Bangs.”
Last September, he decided to try out for “American Idol” in San Francisco, appearing before judges Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
It didn’t go well. Cowell stopped him with a curt, “You can’t sing, you can’t dance, so what do you want me to say?”
Some contestants argue when they get the Cowell cutoff; others cry. Said Hung, “I already gave my best and I have no regrets at all.”
….”Everyone’s having fun with it,” says Jared Levy, a fellow UC-Berkeley student. “It’s completely different from everyone else’s auditions who didn’t make it. He said, `You know what? That’s OK.'”
Levy, a Cal volleyball player, was so impressed by Hung that he invited the 21-year-old to sing at a game this week, drawing a crowd of hundreds.
“Will! Will! Will!” they screamed as Hung launched into “She Bangs” with the backing of a sextet of nubile young dancers calling themselves The Movement. (A key move turned out to be avoiding getting walked into by Hung.)
….The music channel Fuse and New York-based record company Koch Entertainment offered him a record contract and music video production deal, but the offer, made just after Hung’s volleyball singing gig, drew a polite smile but no immediate acceptance.
He’s grateful for fan support and the thousands of people who have signed online petitions trying to get American Idol to invite Hung back. Reportedly, the show wants him for the “loser” special, “Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented.” Hung was noncommittal about that possibility.
Hung seems to suspect some people are laughing at him, not with him, but he’s not letting that get him down. He’s taking singing lessons and says every time he sings “She Bangs,” “there’s always something to work on, something to improve.” [AP]
Indeed – I think the Willy Hung explosion is the latest of periodic public uprisings where they collectively tell the “experts” to shove it.
Well done, Hung. I would not, however, quit your day job.
Check out this hilarious tribute to William, and note that he will appear on American Idol this Wednesday. I wonder if Simon will be contrite.