Anyone who has been watching American Idol since the show debuted in the summer of 2002 knows that the audition episodes were always the most entertaining. Not only did these episodes allow viewers to get a taste of some of the show’s most talented contestants, but they also allowed people to get some good laughs thanks to those whose musical talents were questionable at best. At one point, the bad auditions became so popular that people became famous for them. In fact, there are probably lots of people who auditioned for the show simply because they knew their singing was bad enough to get them some air time. However, when the show moved from Fox to ABC in 2018, those bad auditions were noticeably absent. Longtime fans of the show have wondered why this decision was made. Keep reading to find out why American Idol stopped showing bad auditions.
Here’s Why You Won’t See Any More Bad Auditions on American Idol
When American Idol started, singers everywhere saw the show as a legitimate opportunity to break into the entertainment industry. While that may have been true in the show’s early seasons, it was clear that people wanted to do more than just watch talented singers perform. As a result, the bad auditions became a huge part of the show’s fabric. There were actually lots of people who tuned in simply to watch the audition rounds and they couldn’t have cared less about the rest of the competition. Needless to say, those people were probably pretty disappointed when they tuned into the ABC version of American Idol and saw that there were no more bad additions. However, the reason for this is actually pretty simple.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, American Idol showrunner, Trish Kinane, said, “It doesn’t feel comfortable to put borderline unstable people up on stage and laugh at them. I think that people once thought that the judges saw everyone, and now you know there’s a line of producers who screen before them. We want the humor, but we don’t want the exploitation.” Kinane also noted that during American Idol’s last few seasons on Fox, the show had started to move away from highlighting bad auditions. Now, the show seems to be more focused on highlighting the positive aspects of every performance and there is more focus on following people’s journey toward chasing their dreams. While it’s easy to understand why the decision to skip the bad auditions was made, it has definitely changed the dynamic of the show.
Some Of The Most Memorable Bad American Idol Auditions
During American Idol’s original run, there were countless auditions that left viewers and judges LOLing. Although it’s been 20 years since some of these moments took place, many American Idol fans won’t ever forget some of the terrible performances we were subjected to. If you’re ready to take a nice little stroll down memory lane, let’s get into some of the bad American Idol auditions that we won’t ever forget. All I can say is that a lot of these people are very lucky that going viral wasn’t really a thing when some of them auditioned.
William Hung is arguably the most famous American Idol contestant to never make it past the audition round. When William walked in to audition for the show’s third season, he made it very clear that music was his passion and it was something he was hoping to make a career out of. However, when he started singing Ricky Martin’s hit song “She Bangs”, it quickly became clear that William’s musical dreams probably weren’t going to come true. Still, he got a lot of attention and he became somewhat of a fan favorite. Even the judges couldn’t help but compliment him on his confidence and positivity. If you need a good laugh, Williams audition will certainly do the trick.
Derek Stillings appeared on the show’s first season, and it was obvious that he didn’t really understand what he was getting himself into. Although he thought he was going to wow the judges with his vocals, his performance ended up having the opposite effect. Simon Cowell even referred to Derek as the “worst singer in America”. On top of that, his dance moves didn’t add anything to the performance. As you can guess, Derek didn’t make it beyond the audition episode. On the bright side, though, there were quite a few singers to audition after him who were actually worse singers.
Not only were poor vocals what made bad auditions funny, but there were lots of people who showed up in strange costumes with bizarre stories. Renaldo Lapuz was one of those people. Renaldo auditioned for the show in 2007, and his performance went left for a number of reasons. In addition to being a terrible singer, Renaldo also performed an original song which usually isn’t a good idea. Even though he didn’t get a golden ticket, Renaldo was a good sport about the whole thing. Plus, his audition became one of the most-watched and he will forever be a hilarious part of American Idol history. In 2010, Renaldo went on to release an album titled Christmas Chocolatee. Unfortunately, it looks like Renaldo has disappeared from the spotlight in recent years.
Most people probably assume that people with bad singing voices know they can’t sing. However, American Idol proved time and time again that that simply isn’t true. There are lots of people out there who think they can sing but actually sound terrible. Nicholas Zitzmann is among them. He was a contestant during season six, and he had high hopes that he would get a golden ticket. However, as soon as he opened his mouth it was clear to everyone (except him) that he definitely wouldn’t be making it to the Hollywood round. His rendition of “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers may not have helped him become an American Idol, but it did earn him a place in lots of people’s memories.
Most of the bad singers who appeared on American Idol were pretty understanding when the judges told them they weren’t going to make it to the next round. Mary Roach, however, took the news to heart. After her performance of “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King, Mary was completed shocked when the judges told her how bad of a singer she was. When she left the audition room she went on an angry rant that was equally as entertaining as her performance. After the audition, Mary mentioned that she had plans to give up on singing and go to beauty school, but we weren’t able to find any information on whether she actually did that.
When James Lewis stepped into the audition room during season seven, he was dressed to impress. Unfortunately, though, that was the only thing about him that would impress the judges. When he started singing “Go Down Moses” the judges couldn’t contain their laughter. Not only was James tone-deaf, but his pronunciation also added some comical flair to the performance. However, even after receiving a no from all of the judges, James left the room with his head held high and said that he planned to audition again next year. As far as we know, though, he never returned to the show and it doesn’t appear that he has pursued singing any further.
Having lots of personality is one of the key ingredients to becoming a star and Ian Bernardo certainly wasn’t lacking in that department. If American Idol was a contest to see who had the most personality, he might have stood a chance. Unfortunately for him, though, the show is about singing. Ian auditioned during season six and the judges were so turned off by Ian’s singing that they asked him to stop mid-song. After a back and forth with the judges, Ian had to be removed from the room by security. Although his singing career never went anywhere, Ian made another reality TV appearance in 2014 in an episode of The Millionaire Matchmaker.
Scatting is a very common technique in jazz music, and when done correctly it can sound great. However, if there’s one thing that the bad singers of American Idol history have taught us, it’s that it’s possible to mess just about anything up. When Jacqueline Roman walked in to audition during season three, she was brimming with confidence. Simon asked her if she believed she could’ve done better than Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken who placed first and second in the previous season, and she said yes. Of course, that made the judges very eager to hear what she could do. Jacqueline decided to sing the timeless song “Route 66”. While it’s perfectly fine for artists to put their own spin on a song, Jacqueline’s version of “Route 66” was almost unrecognizable – and not in a good way. She left the room with a no from all three judges and was dubbed “Scat Girl”.