What The Heck Happened To William Hung?

With American Idol back after seemingly being gone forever two years ago, there's one question that's on everyone's mind. What happened to William Hung? He rose to fame when he sang “She Bangs” during a failed audition in season three. But where is he now?

Over the history of the show, there have been a number of contestants to find success in their post-American Idol careers. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have been hit machines since they won season one and season three, respectively. Chris Daughtry found success with his self-named band, Katharine McPhee has an acting career, and Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar. But would you believe William Hung's career after American Idol was also a success? He's sold records, appeared in TV shows, and even starred in a movie. Not bad for a guy known for his less-than-stellar singing voice. 

  • After 'Idol,' He Quit College To Pursue His Music Career

    When he auditioned for American Idol, Hung was studying civil engineering at UC Berkeley. The audition was not well-received by the show's judges, with Simon Cowell saying, "You can't sing, you can't dance, so what do you want me to say?" But once the audition aired - and Hung shot to fame - he decided he might actually be onto something. Not discouraged by the criticism he got for his singing, Hung quit college in order to pursue music full time.

  • Due To The Buzz Surrounding His Audition, Hung Got A Record Deal

    After his appearance on Idol, Hung decided he wanted to continue pursuing music. As it turned out, music video director Jeff Richter thought Hung just might have something to offer the music world. So Richter called up Koch Entertainment, and talked them into signing Hung to a record deal. "You know, there's just something about him," Richter said. "He's the ultimate underdog and I wanted to do something to help him out."

  • His First Album Went To Number One On A Billboard Chart

    His First Album Went To Number One On A Billboard Chart
    Photo: Koch

    On April 6, 2004, William Hung released his debut album. Titled Inspiration, it featured Hung singing over karaoke tracks, performing songs like "Hotel California," "I Believe I Can Fly," and his best-known song, "She Bangs." People actually bought the album, prompting it to land at number 34 on the Billboard 200, and at number one on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. In total, the album has sold over 200,000 copies.

  • He Released A Christmas Album

    He Released A Christmas Album
    Photo: Koch

    With the success of his first album, Hung's music career was just getting started. Like many musician before him, he followed up a hit record by putting out an album of Christmas songs. Hung For The Holidays was released on October 19, 2004, and included his versions of "Deck the Halls," "Winter Wonderland" and more. However, the album didn't fare as well as his debut, selling 35,000 copies.

  • His Third Album Showed His Career Was In Decline

    His Third Album Showed His Career Was In Decline
    Photo: Koch

    In July of 2005, Hung kept his career going with the release of his third album, Miracle: Happy Summer. This time it featured him performing "I Love L.A.," "Achy Breaky Heart," "Surfin' U.S.A.," and more. Critics weren't kind, with AllMusic saying "Like the strongest and most hideous of cockroaches, Hung just simply refuses to give up and expire." Sales also dropped off significantly, with the album selling just 7,000 copies.

  • He Made A Guest Appearance On 'Arrested Development'

    He Made A Guest Appearance On 'Arrested Development'
    Video: YouTube

    Over the course of its three seasons on Fox - and one revival season on Netflix - Arrested Development was a critical and cult favorite, in large part due to their clever use of wordplay. One such example occurred in Season 3, when the Bluths appeared on a  Judge Judy-tyep show. But in this case, the show is "Mock Trial With J. Reinhold," with the court presided over by actor Judge Reinhold. And in another deviation from the typical judge show, "Mock Trial" also has a late night-style band, William Hung and the Hung Jury. Watch the video to see Hung get a chance to show off both his musical and acting skills.