May 10, 2004 12:00 PM

William Hung

“I may not be the best singer in the world, but I sing from my heart and I sing with passion. I enjoy what I do, not for money, not for fame. I just enjoy singing.” So says William Hung in one of the inspirational spoken interludes of his freshman disc, before launching into a cringe-worthy rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” Hung, who sounds like the karaoke singer from hell, scored an unlikely record deal after his tone-deaf version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” made him the laughingstock—and the breakout star—of this season’s American Idol rejects. Even as a comedy album, though, Inspiration falls flat. What may be funny on television for a few minutes just doesn’t cut it for an entire CD. And Hung, who puts his unmusical mark on two Martin songs (“She Bangs,” “Shake Your Bon-Bon”) and three Elton John tunes (“Rocket Man,” “Circle of Life,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”), brings such earnestness to the proceedings that he doesn’t seem to be in on the joke. He’s missing the one thing he needs more than good pitch: a sense of humor.


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