15 Most Cringe-Worthy American Idol Auditions Of All Time

While some American Idol singers have been extremely talented, others have been somewhat the opposite. The singing competition series debuted almost two decades ago, and took inspiration from the popular British reality show Pop Idol. At the time, it stood out for its unique concept and immediately became a hit among viewers. Over the years, the show has garnered even more popularity and fame, which has allowed talented people from across the United States to become iconic singers.


Some of the biggest stars on the show include American Idol season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks from season 6, David Cook, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, and more. There have also been popular singers who appeared on the show, but were rejected by the judges for not being talented enough. These stars like Chris Lane, Kane Brown, and Alan Ritchson proved everyone wrong when they became big names as singers outside the show. However, not everyone who appears on American Idol is talented. In fact, there’s a huge list of people who had extremely cringe-worthy auditions.

Related: All 21 American Idol Winners Ranked From Oldest To Youngest

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15 Mary Roach

Mary Roach from American Idol

Mary Roach tried her luck on American Idol season 4. She came on the stage to impress everyone, and decided to sing “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King. Unfortunately, things went haywire when Mary began singing and dancing erratically, confusing the judges. After her terrible song with nasal sounds, Simon finally told her she had the “worst” voice. As expected, she took it as an insult and flipped everyone off in her final goodbye video.

14 Nicholas Zitzmann

Nicholas Zitzmann American Idol

Nicholas Zitzmann had another cringe-worthy audition from the show that went completely south in American Idol season 6. The young man sang Simon’s favorite song, “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers. Despite claiming himself to be the lead voice of the choir, the 27-year-old man butchered the amazing music by singing it out of tune. Not only did he torture the other judges with his high-pitched voice, but he made Simon almost hate the song he loved. The legendary judge even got angry and said, “What the bloody hell was that?”

13 Jennifer “The Hotness” Chapton

Jennifer Chapton American Idol

Jennifer “The Hotness” Chapton auditioned for American Idol season 6 and claimed to have a “large vocal range.” However, it wasn’t long after that viewers learned she was slightly overconfident in her abilities. Jennifer made all the judges cringe when she sang “Tenderoni,” while moaning and vocal frying. As expected, she didn’t go far with that voice.

12 William Hung

William Hing Cheung Hung 

William Hung from American Idol season 3 sang “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin. However, his version of the song made every judge facepalm except Paula Abdul, who danced to his fairly odd voice. The moment William began singing and moving his body around, it was clear that judges would ask him to stop. Simon could only take his voice for 40 seconds before he stopped him by saying, “Thank You.”

11 Keith Beukelaer

Keith Beukelaer American Idol

The shy guy, Keith Beukelaer, somehow auditioned for the show despite his social awkwardness. However, not many expected him to sensually dance while singing Madonna’s hit song, “Like a Virgin.” Keith’s singing was extremely awkward, as he had a nasal voice and wasn’t pronouncing the words right. As expected, Simon had to comment and acknowledge that he was the “worst singer in the world.”

10 Lamar Royal

Lamar Royal American Idol

Lamar Royal’s addition to American Idol was a plot twist for everyone. During his intro, he had a calm demeanor and sounded good, making everyone feel that he would make it. However, it wasn’t long after that Lamar went to the stage and shattered Randy’s ears by yelling the song, “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal.

9 Leroy Wells

Leroy Wells from American Idol season 4 was among the most awkward musicians to enter the show. Apart from going in front of the judges while dancing and jumping like a maniac, Leroy immediately began performing when he walked on the stage. He didn’t wait for any introduction, and already tired Simon with his hand movements and dry voice before his real performance.

8 Ian Benardo

Ian Benardo

American Idol season 6 star Ian Benardo had of the most notorious cringe-worthy auditions on the show. The man had tried his luck on multiple shows like So You Think You Can Dance, but never made it through. During his American Idol audition, Ian promised the judges he’d be the winner, and would add to his resume of superstar achievements. However, he immediately disappointed them by simply speaking the lyrics to the song “Gloria” by Laura Branigan instead of singing it.

Related: Why Ryan Seacrest Thinks The American Idol Audition Process Has Evolved

7 Martik Manoukian

Martin Manoukian

Martik Manoukian was one of the strangest auditions on American Idol. Before his performance, the young man talked about being a “panther,” and showed the viewers some interesting moves. He then went to the stage, removed his shirt, threw his shades away, and walked toward the judges like a real-life panther. While Martik did sing terribly after that, American Idol viewers know he had failed the audition the moment he did his panther-like shenanigans.

6 Steven Thoen

Steve Thoen 

Steven Thoen from American Idol season 6 showcased various red flags the moment he appeared in the intro. He had a lisp, no singing experience except karaoke, and wasn’t even a fan of the show. If that wasn’t bad enough, Steven then compared himself to Freddie Mercury and disrespected him by butchering his iconic song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

5 Kenneth Briggs

Kenneth Briggs American-Idol

Kenneth Briggs was 23 years old when he appeared in American Idol season 6 to stun the judges with his skills. With his talent, he promised to make Simon’s jaw drop by singing “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Unfortunately, the only thing Kenneth tore was Simon’s eardrums, as his voice was painfully bad and out of tune.

4 Isadora Furman

Isadora Furman admitted to being arrested for her public singing, which was a big red flag. Despite that, the judges wanted to hear her voice, which eventually turned out to be a big mistake. Isadora sang “Lady Marmalade,” and moaned the entire song on stage. It made the judges feel awkward and forced the audience to mute their TV sets.

3 Renaldo Lapuz

Renaldo Lapuz American Idol

Renaldo Lapuz’s audition was strange on American Idol season 7. The 44-year-old man instantly impressed all the judges with his funny white costume and Simon’s name on his hat. He then sang “Brothers Forever” and made Paula Abdul and other judges stand up from their seats and dance. Unfortunately, Renaldo’s accent and his tone didn’t do him favors, and the judges rejected him from the audition despite his charisma.

2 Larry Platt

Larry Platt American Idol

Larry Platt sang his original song, “Pants on the Ground” during American Idol season 9. However, the judges didn’t expect the lyrics to be so terrible. “Pants on the ground, Pants on the ground, Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground,” the American Idol contestant shouted the words on stage, as the female judges laughed while the male judges looked at him with contempt.

1 Derek Stillings

Derek Stillings began his audition on American Idol season 1 by saying he wanted to do a lot for the country. However, he then proceeded to drop the ball by creepily singing a song and dancing to it. Derek sounded like Chris Griffin from Family Guy during his audition. As expected, the American Idol judges labeled him the worst singer in America, and sent him back home.

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