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Is William Hung an American idol?
Updated: 2004-06-21 10:12

William Hung is no longer merely ubiquitous, inescapable and tone deaf. He’s also powerful.

Women cling to William Hung after his performance of 'She Bangs' at a volleyball game at the University of California at Berkeley. [file photo]
The infamous American Idol reject has joined the likes of Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz on Forbes magazine's annual list of the most "powerful" entertainers and sports stars.

Hung is a civil engineering student at UC Berkeley. On Jan. 27, 2004, he appeared on the American Idol auditions show, one of the most popular television shows in the U.S., performed terribly but still managed to win the hearts of people across America.

Since that first She Bangs performance, he has appeared in Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times, on Extra, The Today Show and on The Tonight Show. He has also released a CD, Inspiration. His album includes his celebrated rendition of She Bangs and karaoke-like versions of the Eagles' Hotel California, and Elton John's Can You Feel the Love Tonight. It also contains audio with Hung's observations on passion, perseverance and being yourself.

"In these days of over-slick pop and image-driven PR, there is something to be said for just being yourself. A war rages, gas prices soar, lots of things are off-kilter in this world right now. A little inspiration is in order,” said an Amazon customer Todd Unthank of Lexington, Ky.

Unlike most contestants on American Idol who scream, deny and are oblivious to their own inept abilities, "this guy was genuine, gave it his best, however misguided the effort, and, at the end, took it like a man," according to a petition on the website www.petitiononline.com.

Hung's sincerity appears to be the quality that has elevated him above other contestants ushered off the show in the early stages of competition. The lesson to be learned would seem to be that talent is far less critical to winning Americans’ hearts than honest effort.

"I already gave my best," Hung responded after resident Idol's Simon Cowell told him, "you can't sing, you can't dance, so what are you going to say," to which Hung replied, "I have no regrets at all."

"We need someone who is willing to put himself on the line and get rich at the same time," writes another fan, who posted comments on Amazon.com. "That's the American dream the last time I checked."

Henry David Thoreau said: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Go William Hung! Be yourself!

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