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For those not familiar with the Fox television show American Idol, William Hung was a talentless singer who was tone deaf, off pitch, and made the judges break down laughing in the middle of his performance. Now, of all things, he has a CD out and is on tour. People are PAYING to see someone who has no talent singing.

In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand said that the popular music of a time reflected the state of its members. What do you think it means when a society will pay to watch someone like William Hung sing when there are other musicians out there who have talent and are virtually ignored?

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I think it says a lot.

I see this as a middle finger to the American Idol contest. So many people in this country have been told that they were failures who would never amount to anything by teachers, preachers, parents, etc.

Simon's blunt honesty is probably perceived by such people as being "mean spirited" and "cruel in nature."

I think the reaction of "We will pay to see this talentless dude sing" is an offshoot of people wanting to support the underdog that they see in themselves because they know THEY would have been laughed out of the show if they would have tried out.

More importantly...a lot this situation fell on WILLIAM HUNG's head and not any of the other Idol failures is because he played the "innocent lamb."

He didn't blow up. He didn't throw water in the judges face or cuss them out.

He seemed like he was too goofy to even really know what was going on...which made the "Awww" factor that much greater when he got his ass handed to him by people with actual talent.

If you know anything about Hung's history...his singing "career" started in his dorms (he was an engineering major at UCLA I think) where he won a mock "American Idol contest."

He put everything he had in to it and didn't really take it seriously. Why did he win? Either the people he was up against in the dorms didn't have any talent either (or were too stage wary to pose competition) or cynnical college assholes were trying to be cute and vote for a loser just to metaphorically "piss on the Alamo" (An Ozzy Osbourne reference in case you didn't catch it). Hating on things that are perceived as valuable says a lot about your psychology.

Either way....I think that Hung's situation is quite indictive of a pretty screwed up mentality.

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What do you think it means when a society will pay to watch someone like William Hung sing when there are other musicians out there who have talent and are virtually ignored?

I think William Hung's primary appeal is comedic in nature. A lot of people laugh at his bad singing. I seriously doubt that the majority of people who bought his album actually believe he is a good musician. Like the American Idol judges, they probably get a good laugh out of it.

So, it isn't really fair to compare Hung's comedic success with the musical success of real musicians. Hung has not achieved musical success. He is a joke that some people enjoy laughing at.

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Why him and not any of the other god aweful failures that American Idol broadcast every year (they show the tryouts and mock how bad some of the people trying out are)?

I think this is a question people need to ask. There are a lot of crappy singers and bad dancers.

Why did the American Idol contest (A contest focussed on talent and ability) spawn the success of a crappy singer when there are tons of crappy singers trying to get signed to a record label on a daily basis?

The reason is that no one would buy any old crappy guy who sucks at singing.

They are buying an American Idol reject...a looser. That status is what is being bought in droves.

That is what I tried to address in my post.

-Evan

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Why him and not any of the other god aweful failures that American Idol broadcast every year (they show the tryouts and mock how bad some of the people trying out are)?

I agree that another reason for Hung's success is because he was on American Idol. As to why him, and not a different American Idol reject, I believe that is simply a matter of some record company with money and an idea deciding that William was marketable.

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I agree that another reason for Hung's success is because he was on American Idol. As to why him, and not a different American Idol reject, I believe that is simply a matter of some record company with money and an idea deciding that William was marketable.

I wish I could agree. Before he was ever signed, he created a web site to promote his appearance on American Idol and it quickly drew thousands of hits. He was suddenly doing interviews and being featured on divers shows.

The scariest part is that he genuinely seems to be deluded that he is a good singer and that the judges were wrong in their assesment of him. In the words of a friend of mine, he seems to be a "circus side show" that is being set up for failure. Yet people buy his album still.

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In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand said that the popular music of a time reflected the state of its members. What do you think it means when a society will pay to watch someone like William Hung sing when there are other musicians out there who have talent and are virtually ignored?

I think Rand answers it best in Atlas Shrugged when, after a concert, Richard Halley vanishes.

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