American Idol‘s William Hung: Where Is He Now?

As the show begins its 11th season this week, the Internet looks back at one of its favorite accidental stars.

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William Hung performs Queen's "We Are the Champions" for a 2004 music video

American Idol reject turned superstar William Hung pioneered the concept of “going viral” when his spirited rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” spread across the Internet like off-key wildfire in 2004. Soon, Hung’s celebrity status skyrocketed, with a flurry of fan clubs, record deals and even an exclusive DVD. But just as quickly as America fell in love, America seemed to move on, left with nothing more than another ghost of pop-culture icons past.

So where is William Hung now?

When he auditioned for American Idol eight years ago, Hung was an engineering student at Berkeley, though his overnight success prompted him to drop out to pursue a career in music. According to the New York Times, he recorded three albums, which boasted sales of 200,000, 35,000 and 7,000 units respectively.

But nowadays, Hung is pursuing a different passion: law enforcement. In 2011 he landed a gig as a statistical analyst for the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, replacing recording studios and songwriting with crime scenes and data-crunching.

He is quite content with his new job, which includes assessing the likelihood of crimes in particular neighborhoods, LA Weekly reported. Though he recognized his fame would likely not last forever, he said he enjoyed the spotlight while he had it and appreciated the opportunity to serve as a role model. “I showed that even the Average Joe could succeed,” he told LA Weekly.

For now, Hung is happy with his job at the Sheriff’s Department. But if he gets bored with that, we hear there’s still a lucrative market for one-man Ricky Martin cover bands.

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