American Idol unquestionably helped to shape not only talent shows, or even reality TV as a genre, but pop culture as we know it in general. Tonight, the show premieres its second season on ABC (and seventeenth overall) so we thought we’d take a look at some of the most memorable auditions to ever air on the show!
1. Kelly Clarkson
Idol‘s very first champion has gone on to have the most successful music career of any of the show’s alumni. Her first audition was never shown in full in the TV edit, but the portions aired have been spliced together on YouTube. Dressed in the most 2000’s shirt possible – made out of a pair of jeans – she sang a couple of songs to impress the judges…and then switched places with Randy Jackson, taking his spot at the judges’ table so he could “audition” for her!
2. Kellie Pickler
Four seasons after her victory, Kelly Clarkson had become so famous other Idol hopefuls were singing her songs for their own auditions. One such example was another Kellie, Kellie Pickler to be precise. After her emotional audition, Kellie went all the way to the live shows but ultimately lost the title to another country girl, Carrie Underwood. Nevertheless, she still went on to a fairly successful music career and now hosts daytime talk show Pickler & Ben.
3. Adam Lambert
Right from the start, the Season 8 runner-up went for the big guns by singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. This immediately made us take notice of him back then but it’s an especially great moment to look back on now that he actually tours with Queen themselves.
4. Noah Davis
American Idol auditions tend to fall into one of two categories: legitimately moving and/or mind-blowing, or over-the-top ridiculous. This is one of the rare examples that falls into both. Noah absolutely slayed with his piano-playing and vocals, but what really makes this one of the most memorable of all time is just a simple, three-letter word: “Wig.”
5. William Hung
William Hung’s notoriously unsuccessful audition with his song and dance to Rickey Martin’s “She Bangs” that led to him developing a cult following is perhaps the most memorable audition of all time. It all ended up resulting in a career of novelty music that spanned several years before he retired in 2011.
6. General Larry Platt
While Larry is the only one on this list not to have a major music career post-Idol (the jury is still out on Noah Davis) his audition is still remembered as one of the most odd and straight-up-silly of all time. Being 62 years old at the time, he was decades over the age limit, but that didn’t stop him from coming on to share his impassioned message about the ridiculousness of low-riding pants that became a huge viral hit after it aired.
And, of course, we can’t forget how it all culminated in a collaboration with William Hung himself at the Season 9 finale.
Which American Idol auditions from over the years stick out the most in your mind? Let us know in the comments below!