William Hung

Miracle: Happy Summer from William Hung

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Thousands of years from now, when the world has changed five times over and the state of popular music in the early part of the new millennium is archived in a museum, there's a good chance that the name William Hung will emerge as its representative. The logic behind this reasoning? Like the strongest and most hideous of cockroaches, Hung just simply refuses to give up and expire. And while there's usually some merit in tenacity and persistence, there comes a time when a cultural phenomenon like Hung needs be put to rest; regardless of how desperate he is to hang on to threads of his relevancy and cash himself in. And then comes Hung's third record in almost two years, 2005's Miracle: Happy Summer from William Hung, which kicks off with an atrocious rendition of Barry Manilow's "It's a Miracle," complete with a backing-session band that could be mistaken for a MIDI file. And the trauma doesn't let up, either; songs by 98°, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Billy Ray Cyrus, Richard Marx, and Randy Newman all fall into the jaws of Hung and emerge maimed and only mildly recognizable. When Hung goes for the high notes on the Beach Boys' "Surfin USA," it is an unapologetic blasphemy against Brian Wilson that the producers of Miracles would even let Hung near a microphone as he desecrates such a timeless summer anthem with his vocal excrement. Tiny Tim was an eccentric novelty with a shroud of surreal charm about him, and Hung is no Tiny Tim. Even a mild resemblance to Tim would be a significant improvement over "Happy Summer From William Hung." Without the help of Simon, Paula and Randy, Hung would still be just another fixture at a local karaoke night; further proof that television on Fox does more harm than good. Hopefully Hung will fade into the mists of bad pop culture references and trends (anyone remember the Dell guy?) sooner than later. Otherwise, we'll have a rather serious problem on our hands.

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