From the moment he was rejected by American Idol for his, ahem, "unique" rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs," the legend of engineering student William Hung began to grow.
Fan clubs and Web sites have sprung up to support the vocally challenged, but lovable, Hung, whose enthusiastic performance bowled over the audience. There's even an online petition to get him back on American Idol, the popular singing contest broadcast on the Fox network.
Hung, a 21-year-old civil engineering student at the University of California at Berkeley, sings what has become his signature song with a breathtakingly off-key voice and a characteristic straight-armed dancing style that is in stark contrast to the snaky-hipped Martin. "She bangs, she bangs," he sings, "Crazy 'bout the way she moves, she moves.... She reminds me that a woman's got one thing on her mind."
Hung's performance was so bad in his initial audition that that the show's sharp-tongued judge Simon Cowell stopped him and said with apparent disbelief: "You can't sing, you can't dance, so what do you want me to say?"
But something in Hung's performance touched fans across the country, and Fox featured him on Monday in a special edition of American Idol dubbed "Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented."
Once again, Hung rocked the house.
Hung is currently considering an offer for a record deal, but perhaps the surest sign that he has made it is this: the slimly built performer has inspired a hunky action figure with a tight black T-shirt and taut arms, available on the Internet.