So my 11 year old son downloaded William Hung’s version of “She Bangs” on iTunes and it got me thinking about American Idol. Of course tonight was the first night of the new season so it has been getting it’s fair share of press lately but I digress. So I can’t help but think about poor (or is he) William Hung. As one of the cast outs on an early season of Idol he came out and sang (or tried to sing) She Bangs by Ricky Martin. It was of course an absolute horror show and he became a star BECAUSE it was so bad. The first of the accidental internet superstars or was this all by design?
Idol has some pretty good marketing minds at work and let’s face it, they have tons of people audition for this show and many filters to weed out the crap. BUT they do let some through that they think will be good television like hearing Simon totally berate them to their face or the judges trying to hide their laughter. I know many people who just watch AI for the audition rounds just to see these train wrecks. That’s their shtick, they rope you in to watch the hopeless tone deaf wanna-be’s and hope you get attached to the contestant’s story’s that they show ad nauseum and continue to watch the show after the auditions are over.
Then I think again about Mr. Hung and the conspiracy theorist in me asks: Was he in on it? Was it set up? Surely no one that awful would attempt to get on the show – would they? He was made out to be a clueless, ignorant kid who really thought he could sing. Would they really exploit someone so dumb? Of course they would but I’m thinking not. I’m thinking that they found this kid in a karaoke bar seriously sucking and put him up to it and paid him for it. I don’t think that they predicted how big it would actually become though. The kid got a freakin record deal and made like three albums! And they sold (a little). He also has his own website where he sells autographed 8X10’s, he made a couple of movies and is a paid guest star ever where he goes. Sure he didn’t get filthy rich but here I am 8 years later telling you this because my 11 year old son paid 99 cents for his song on iTunes and I’m quite sure he’s living more comfortably than most reading this.
Now Mr. Hung is working for the Sheriff’s Department in LA. I think I am going to go to LA and speed around just so I can get pulled over by him. Maybe I can get him to pull out a rendition of She Bangs roadside next to his CHiPs motorcycle. I’ll be sure to secretly tape it so I can “go viral” and offer up my own 8X10’s signed by yours truly – the guy who got pulled over by William Hung.