American Idol is going out with a bang. Or, maybe, “She Bangs.” Thursday’s star-studded American Idol series finale will feature the return of some of the most memorable cast members in the show’s 15-year run, and that includes appearances by both Brian Dunkleman and William Hung, according to TMZ.
Dunkleman, who co-hosted the first season of Idol with Ryan Seacrest before quitting the show to pursue an acting career, will reportedly open American Idol’s final show. It will be a return appearance long in the making that comes after years of speculation over his decision to quit a show that became a television phenomenon.
Earlier this year, Dunkleman told CNN it took him a long time to come to terms with how his decision panned out, given American Idol’s eventual smash success.
“I was very upset about it for a long, long time. You got to make up your mind that either you are going to be that angry guy for the rest of your life, or you gotta move on. It’s taken me a long time to get there.”
While he may have some regrets about leaving Idol so early on, Dunkelman says he’s still proud that he was part of the show’s inaugural season, as well as its final episode.
“It’s a celebration of a show that had a huge cultural impact, and I was a part of that. I’m proud of the fact that I got the job in the first place. It’s an accomplishment that can never be taken away from me, regardless of my outcome.”
The American Idol finale is reportedly set to feature every Idol winner and almost all of the Top 3 from all 15 seasons of the TV talent competition for a mega performance, as well as the original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson.
On Fox’s American Idol retrospective special that aired this week, Cowell revealed that, like Dunkleman, he had some doubts about whether the show would be a hit, but he took it even further than the ill-fated co-host. Cowell actually quit Idol one week before filming for the first season was set to begin, but Fox producers talked him into coming back. Ditto for Paula Abdul, who says she “quit eight times the first day.”
But fans can also expect cameos from some of the biggest American Idol “losers” of all time, including William Hung, who made headlines for his off-key performance of the Ricky Martin song “She Bangs” during the Season 3 Idol auditions. You can see Hung’s audition in the video below.
In addition to all of these blasts from the past, current American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez will debut her new single “Ain’t Your Mama” on the finale episode. The single will be available on iTunes following the live performance.
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest spoke to E! News about the series finale and said he is he is getting emotional about it, especially after working with original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson again. (Clarkson, who is due to give birth to her second child any day now, taped her farewell performance).
“I started thinking about the fact that many years ago I was scared to death standing next to her announcing the first winner, so it’s starting to sink in that this is really a farewell…I think that we will end with what we need, which is a marquee, great bookend final winner for the show.”
Before American Idol’s lights get dimmed for good, Trent Harmon, La’Porsha Renae and Dalton Rapattoni will battle it out for the honor of being the show’s final winner.
The two-hour American Idol series finale airs Thursday, April 7 at 8/7c on Fox.
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