This year, ABC brought back American Idol after the once-phenomenally-popular singing competition had been off the air for really not that long. And last night was the big finale. 19-year-old Iowan Maddie Poppe won the contest. (She also revealed that she and runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson are dating, just so you know that American Idol producers remain very good at manufacturing drama.) So now Maddie Poppe will be famous forever, and she never has to worry about anything ever again. Or she’ll release one single that will do moderately well, and they she’ll spend years singing at street fairs or, if she’s lucky, starring in a touring Broadway musical. Either way!
Even when it was at its world-dominating peak, American Idol was not a reliable springboard to fame and fortune. It did launch a couple of stars, which means it’s got a better hit rate than its successor, NBC’s The Voice. But it produced a whole lot more weird viral curios who did what they could with an extremely brief window of galactic fame. And last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a bunch of them appeared in an honestly pretty funny “We Are The World” parody called “Where Are They Now?”
Many of the singers who appeared on Kimmel weren’t actual Idol contestants; they were the rejects who famously appeared on audition shows and did memorably terrible things, including the famously tuneless William Hung and the “Pants On The Ground” guy General Larry Platt. Others were actual Idol contestants who got famous for reasons other than singing, including ponyhawk innovator Sanjaya Malakar and Scott McIntyre, the blind guy who Ryan Seacrest once tried to high-five. A couple of winners show up, too. And yes, they do all sing about what they’re doing now. Which is pretty interesting! Watch it all happen below.
If they do another one of these in 10 years, they should sign up the kid who got mad that Katy Perry kissed him. (Actually, he would’ve fit in just fine with this one.)