Then-college student William Hung became a viral sensation in 2004, after his American Idol audition cover of Ricky Martin‘s “She Bangs” was so awkwardly endearing, he became beloved to the show’s audience. After a foray into a “conventional job” that ultimately wasn’t a “good fit for me,” William tells In Touch exclusively that he’s making his former “side hustle” as an entertainer into a full-time gig!
“I transitioned into a professional poker player and entertainer,” William shares about what he’s doing today, adding, “I do have a lot of friends and fans, which I’m grateful for. And then, I do have my fair share of critics and people who don’t like what I do. And that’s okay at well.” But he still has goals to reach, as William explains, “I see myself as a hustler and an entrepreneur as well. There’s a lot I’m doing, but I still feel like I haven’t established myself yet.”
William also hopes to continue as a motivational speaker, in addition to entertaining audiences. “I am interested to get back into live speaking and live performing,” he shares. “I did some towards the end of last year when the pandemic got a little bit better. I definitely would like to do that. It’s something that I enjoy doing.”
He says that people “admire” him for the courage he showed when he got up in front of America and showed off his song and dance moves, despite the ridicule he endured at the time. “People see me as the inspirational icon to chase their dreams. And that’s what I want to do … that’s what I stand for because I like to try something new without being judged or ridiculed. That’s a great place to be.”
William took a detour from entertainment to pursue a career as a technical crime scene analyst in 2011. But it didn’t live up to the excitement he craved. “It wasn’t as exciting as it sounds, because initially, I thought it was to be like the TV show Criminal Minds or CSI,” he recalls.
“I was not investigating real crimes. I think for me it was way more of an analyst and mathematical role. I was analyzing numbers, but it’s more like making sure that the crimes are reported correctly and all the yearly numbers that people see online in public,” he adds.
Now that 18 years have passed since his first American Idol audition, would he like to give the show another shot now that it has moved from Fox to ABC? “I actually would have to say no, no I would not, because I already got the notoriety for the first time,” he says about his first appearance. Judge Simon Cowell told William after his rendition of “She Bangs” that “You can’t sing, you can’t dance. What do you want me to say?” The then-civil engineering student confidently responded, “I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all.”
After his American Idol appearance, William’s fame blew up, giving him a huge cult following that allowed him to leave the University of California Berkeley to pursue music … and he has absolutely no regrets about it. “Sometimes in life, you only get that one opportunity, and I wanted to make the most out of it,” he says about grabbing his moment of stardom and making it last for years to come!
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