It's the end of an era: FOX has announced that the next season of American Idol will be its last.
On the air since 2002, the reality singing competition has proven somewhat limited in its star-making capabilities. For example, Lee DeWyze, Candice Glover, and Kris Allen have at least two things in common: they each won a season of American Idol and you probably haven't the slightest idea who they are.
Yet the audition episodes of Idol, where self-confidence and self-awareness are mutually exclusive, have reliably served as an addictive source of schadenfreude. Most famously, William Hung won a cult following for his unconventional performance of "She Bangs" in season three. We can't all be Susan Boyle.
In honor of Idol's cancellation, here are some of the most unforgettably regrettable auditions from all 14 seasons. (We've omitted contestants' last names in the hopes their embarrassing Google search results might die along with this program.)
Derek (Season 1)
The show's first-ever terrible audition — dating all the way back to 2002! — has truly stood the test of time.
From the headband to the temporary tattoo (oh god, it has to be temporary, right?) to the original song to (of course) the choreography, everything about this is perfect.
Kimberly (Season 9)
Kimberly shares her Derek Zoolander-esque agenda for her inevitable rise to stardom: "I have a really good heart, so I'd be really into recycling and helping kids in Africa."
It seems like Kimberly may have been under the influence of something during her cover of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," and that something was not a solid foundation of vocal training.
Steven (Season 6)
Nicknamed Red, this imposing dude with a Viking mane brings the weak falsetto of a toddler to "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Steven, who would like you to know that he got all A's in high school concert choir, thank you very much, leaves the judges with some incomprehensible life advice.
Jacqueline (Season 3)
Without a hint of irony, this contestant proudly informs the judges that her nickname is "Scat Girl." Her jazz-inflected rendition of "Route 66" crescendoes in a Howard Dean scream.
Simon calls her audition "musical murder," but she nevertheless gives him a parting smooch.
Gregory and Mia (Season 7)
This teenage brother and sister duo audition together, with an Italian opera duet. It doesn't go great.
Rhonetta (Season 5)
Before her audition even begins, Rhonetta treats cameras to an impromptu chair dance.
Rhonetta answers the judges' questions by singing random passages from "Oops! …I Did It Again," then stops mid-song, saying she's hoarse. Paula offers her water, but she declines.
Despite that gracious gesture, Rhonetta quickly turns against MC Skat Kat's one-time dance partner.
Wolfie (Season 5)
This Idol hopeful wins our hearts when Paula asks him about the origin of his nickname. "Because I love wolves and all my friends know me as Wolfie because I love wolves," he says. MFW:
Darwin (Season 6)
The multi-talented Darwin has also penned a novella about a singing competition that may or may not bear a strong resemblance to a certain FOX property.
Her writing partner is her mother, who joins Darwin in the audition room for her cover of the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha."
A shot of Mom mouthing along mid-performance reveals that Darwin isn't the only one who knows all the words to this song.
Michael (Season 5)
The self-professed "next Clay Aiken" is, as far as we know, the only American Idol contestant to interrupt his own audition for a bathroom break. "I'm just nervous as hell and I've got to pee," he explains. The producers kindly set his flight, in slow-motion, to the "Chariots of Fire" theme:
Michael doesn't make it to Hollywood, but they do bring him back to duet with Clay in the season finale, which is all that really matters.
Keith (Season 2)
Keith says he grew out out his hair specifically for his Idol audition. Before, "it was really about the same, just had less hair."
If I were Madonna, I would take careful note of Keith's "Like a Virgin" dance moves while planning my next tour.
When the judges offer their less-than-glowing feedback, Keith proves that he also has a Madge-sized ego.
Nicholas (Season 6)
This software engineer slash possible young Billy Bob Thornton character has a seriously intense stare.
Spoiler: The judges send him to Hollywood. No, we're not kidding.
Isadora (Season 6)
A professional clairvoyant, Isadora reads Ryan's palm before her audition. She also finds time to do whatever this is.
Isadora's version of "Lady Marmalade" sounds like a Janis Joplin impersonator speaking in tongues while simultaneously having an orgasm. That description may sound oddly appealing, but we assure you that this isn't.
James (Season 7)
This friendly Philadephia-based tour guide sings like someone slowed down an old record to see if hear if there were any Satanic messages hidden within it. (Your guess is as as good as ours.)
Mary (Season 4)
Mary is the gold standard of bizarre American Idol contestants, and she will never be beat. I have no words, only GIFs.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.