‘American Idol’ Reject William Hung Reacts To Joe Rogan Calling Him ‘Mentally Challenged’

Samantha Agate
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'American Idol' Reject William Hung Reacts To Joe Rogan Calling Him 'Mentally Challenged'YouTube

William Hung was just a 20-year-old civil engineering student when he auditioned for the third season of American Idol. Little did he know that his life was about to change forever and he would become an overnight sensation, so much so that he got the attention of podcast host Joe Rogan.

Talent Recap host Rachel Green actually sat down with William in an exclusive interview. He talked about everything from why he decided to audition for American Idol and how he has called out bullies for putting him and other people down.

William Hung Went Viral With ‘American Idol’ Audition

The ‘Idol’ hopeful originally from Hong Kong had an infectious personality as he discussed how music is very different than the career he was pursuing in college at the time. But still, he hoped that American Idol would give him the platform he needed to make a name for himself in the music world. He acknowledged before he began singing that he might not be the best singer in the entire world but he does sing with heart. He was right.

William boldy sang the hit song “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin and little did he know the song would be associated with him for the rest of his life. While he was singing, judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul were all laughing. “William you did put everything you had into that” Paula said through giggles.


“William, it’s actually one of the worst auditions we’ve had this year if I’m being honest,” Simon said. “I mean everything about it is grotesque. You can’t sing, you can’t dance, what do you want me to say?” The judges did not vote to send him through to the next round, but he became quite a cult phenomenon for fans of American Idol.

He Became An Overnight Sensation After Auditioning For The Show

William’s personality and the way he handled Simon’s brutish comments made him a fan-favorite of American Idol fans. He made a multitude of talk show appearances and got to travel and perform all over the world. William actually went on to be signed by Koch Entertainment which led to him releasing three albums. In 2018, William got to perform with Ricky Martin after becoming famous for singing his song “She Bangs.” He also returned to American Idol to perform during the Live Shows.

His career took a different turn when he started doing motivational speaking. He actually gave a few Tedx Talks including one in 2019 about how being on American Idol made him realize he had a mission in life. For him, spreading love and making people smile is the most important thing. The experience made him resilient. William also wrote a book called “Champion By Choice” because he wanted to be the author of his own story.

William Hung Responded To Joe Rogan Calling Him ‘Mentally Challenged’

In the interview with Talent Recap, William said that to this day, there have still be harsh critics of his American Idol audition, one being Joe Rogan. On a podcast, Joe spoke about how he met William and believed he was “mentally challenged” and there was “something wrong with him.” Jimmy O. Yang said that William had set Asians back for 10 years.

William posted a response video saying that he strongly disagrees with the statements. He said that he would never apologize for his American Idol audition because everyone has a right to try something new. For him, there are several moments of his life that he might consider to be “rock bottom” but he has continuously shown that nothing will stop him from pursuing whatever it is that he wants to do in life.


Though William had an unconventional road to stardom, he definitely gained some big fans and exposure from his viral American Idol audition.

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