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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 3

Ex-'Idol' hopeful William Hung returns to school to become teacher

By Christopher Rocchio, 04/22/2008 

William Hung has apparently traded in his microphone for a math book.

The 25-year-old former American Idol third-season hopeful -- who received 15 minutes of fame and a recording contract for his rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" -- is currently working towards his bachelor's degree in math education at California State University at Northridge, the school's Daily Sundial newspaper reported Monday.

Hung had been studying civil engineering at the University of California at Berkley when he attended the Fall 2003 Idol audition in San Francisco.

"I think teaching is more exciting," Hung told the Daily Sundial as to his new career path.  "I get to learn and teach something new everyday.  I enjoy helping young children succeed. I enjoy tutoring. I just really enjoy the experience of teaching."

While he's currently resigned to teaching, the Hong Kong native said his brush with stardom almost never happened.

"Going to the audition was close to a last minute decision, actually," Hung told the Daily Sundial. "I heard on the news that there was going to be an audition. It was literally only a few days before that I found out about it."

Hung added he went into the auditions with only his love for music, a talent show victory from his youth and no expectations.

"I just made a spontaneous decision to say, 'Well you know what, hundreds of thousands of people try out every year,'" he told the Daily Sundial. "'So I'll try out and see what happens. If it doesn't work out then there is nothing wrong with that."

While he didn't make it through to Idol's third-season Hollywood Round, his almost unrecognizable version of "She Bangs" during a January 2004 Idol broadcast struck a chord with fans and Koch Records, which inked him to a recording contract.

"I've been performing everywhere around the world and I've gotten a record contract with a New York record company. We worked together and produced three records," he told the Daily Sundial. "I was thrilled to be offered something like a record contract. I really didn't expect it and I was really grateful for the opportunity.  The same night after the audition I received over a 150 emails for appearance opportunities."

Hung went onto make appearances on everything from Arrested Development to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and said he had no idea how big he had become until he saw it firsthand.

"I appreciate the fan support because that is what makes all this possible," he told the Daily Sundial. "I don't realize that I have a lot of fans until I travel around the world and meet them. Its very surprising, I could go to the most remote places like Iowa and people still know who I am."

Hung enrolled as a CSUN student last fall to complete a double major in math and education, according to the Daily Sundial, which -- not surprisingly -- added he's recognized on campus.

"They will ask me things like, 'Are you the 'She Bangs' guy?' Or, 'Are you William Hung?'" he told the publication.

Hung will undoubtedly never be able to shake his Idol persona, however he hopes that the experience will help him in teaching his eventual students.

"Whatever you believe in, and if you keep trying, you can eventually succeed," he told the Daily Sundial.

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