Wild-eyed Virginian Mary Roach performing a possessed version of "I Feel the Earth Move." The rhythmically challenged accountant Sundeep Achreja serving up his punchy version of "Eye of the Tiger." We love those American Idol performers who dare to be different. And as Idol prepares to pick its top 24 finalists, we give the last word to some of the unique talents who got cut early. Do any have what it takes to be the next William Hung? You be the judge.Derek BraxtonAge: 20 From: Silver Springs, Md, The sound: Toni Braxton trapped on a cheap hotel vibrating bed. Getting the boot: "I think I used too much vibrato in my voice, and I probably picked the wrong song ["How Could an Angel Break My Heart"]. I don't see what all the fuss is about. I really wasn't that bad." Don't judge me: "Paula said I didn't speak in English. Simon was the nicest one, and he said I had the 'weirdest voice' he'd ever heard. Randy just sat there and laughed. It seemed like they were high." Moving on: "I do want a record deal, but no one has called me. I'm in school right now, but what I really want to do is be an actor-model." The Maynard TripletsAges: 18 From: Omaha, Nebr. The sound: Sister harmony that was more pointless than Pointer Sisters. Getting the boot: Erin says, "They knew they couldn't take all three of us, so they called us fat and sent us home. It's more of a TV show than a talent contest." Don't judge me: Missy says, "Randy liked us a lot. Paula was not as nice as everyone thinks. Simon just made an overweight comment, and that was painful at the time." Moving on: "We're heading out to California," Mandy says, "and we think it would be great to star in our own reality show." Daron BeckAge: 28 From: Fort Worth, Texas The sound: Tom Jones gets a Gothic makeover. Getting the boot: "I knew going in I wouldn't make it. What I do is very dark, like Nick Cave, and I would have added a whole new flavor to American Idol." Don't judge me: "Randy called me a weird Elvis — which is a compliment. Paula said I was not for this competition. Simon told me I should be singing Rocky Horror in drag." Moving on: "I used the show to promote my own music. I just finished an album with my band, the Pointy Shoe Factory." Forever Hung: The Man Who Started It AllHe still reigns at the top of the bottom — the best of the worst and truly a leader among losers. William Hung, the 23-year-old college student whose off-key rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" became the most imitated Idol moment last year, has created a kitschy industry that includes CDs, DVDs and, yes, the highest mark of fame, his own bobblehead doll. Most recently, he released a frightening holiday album. Hung's producer, Dee Sonaram, says you haven't heard the last of the nonmusic man. "William just did a movie for the Asian market," he says, adding (or is that threatening?) that another album is in the works. "We'd love to see him do country songs, maybe 'Achy Breaky Heart.'" For more post-game commentary from your fave American Idol rejects, read the Feb. 13 issue of TV Guide magazine.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)