Nowhere has seen higher highs and lower lows when it comes to reality television than the American Idol audition stage.
It's helped spark the careers of some of music's biggest stars, such as Grammy winners Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson, but has also caused viewers across the country to cringe countless times as the judges ripped into the delusional and straight up bizarre contestants who make their way on screen.
While the reboot of the original series has promised to be more "compassionate" in tone with a whole new panel of judges — Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan — Sunday's premiere proved that whether it's the Russian embodiment of Elvis or a contestant who brings the judges some socks, there's no guessing what you'll get on Idol.
In the spirit of the series revamp, here are some of the most shocking auditions ever to air on American Idol. Keep scrolling to see the best and worst of the series, and don't forget to tune into the the new American Idol, which airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Before claiming the Idol title in season four, Carrie Underwood was just an Oklahoma farm girl who had never flown in a plane before.
But her sweet demeanor was hiding a killer voice, which she showed off to the judges with a rendition of “I Can’t Make You Love Me" as well as her impression of a chicken.
"I really wanna go to Hollywood really bad," Underwood said, not knowing she would go on to bigger and better things, including the 2007 Grammy for best new artist.
The Ricky Martin tribute heard 'round the world hit the Idol audition stage in season three of the show.
UC Berkeley civil engineering student William Hung became an instant viral hit when his off-key and clueless version of "She Bangs" won over America, but couldn't get him a golden ticket to Hollywood.
"You can't sing, you can't dance, so what do you want me to say?" Judge Simon Cowell said at the time.
Watching a young Kelly Clarkson tell Ryan Seacrest that she was planning on becoming a fashion designer if the whole singing thing didn't work out is shocking now, but no one was more shocked than judges Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul during the show's inaugural season.
Then 20 years old, Clarkson‘s performances of “Express Yourself” and “At Last” blew them away, and her spunky personality immediately endeared her to America, even persuading Jackson to let her take his place behind the table. The singer now has seven albums and three Grammy awards to her name and is currently a coach on The Voice.
American Idol hopeful Katrina Darrell immediately made her mark on season eight when she showed up to her audition wearing nothing but a bikini and a bad attitude.
Coined "Bikini Girl" right away, she and judge Kara DioGuardi got into a sing-off when it came to Mariah Carey's "Vision of Love," which led to some serious shade being thrown at the judges' table. Darrell did get her golden ticket to Hollywood, but was cut during the next round of auditions.
Who thought that out of the mild mannered-looking Clay Aiken would come a powerhouse voice that would propel him all the way to the American Idol finals?
On the second season of the show, the confident 23-year-old shocked the judges with his rendition of "Always and Forever."
After blowing the judges away with his voice, even Cowell admitted he didn't see that performance coming, telling him, “You don’t look like a pop star, but you've got a great voice. So now what."
General Larry Platt never had a chance of making it to Hollywood with his original song, "Pants on the Ground," which lamented the low-rise jeans of the day's youth, but he did become one of the most memorable parts of Idol season nine.
The 62-year-old, who was 34 years older than the show's age limit at the time, cracked up 2/3 of the judges panel with his soon-to-be-viral song, but Cowell was not impressed.
"I have a horrible feeling that could be a hit," he said, walking away.
At only 16 years old, Jordin Sparks age proved to be no indication of talent, as she immediately blew away the judges during her season six audition, in which she performed "Because You Love Me."
She went on to win season six and has since released four studio albums as well as performing on Broadway in Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical In the Heights.
Cowell's harsh criticism proved to be too much for one Idol reject during season three. After the acid-tongued judge couldn't stop laughing at 18-year-old Jonathan Rey's bizarre rendition of Shakira's "The One," saying, "I think we're going to have to cancel this competition — that was terrible," the teen walked up to the judges' table as if to shake hands, but instead picked up a cup of water to throw at Cowell.
Security soon dealt with Rey, but he went down in Idol history as one of the few to get their revenge on Cowell.
Fresh off a stint on a Disney cruise, Jennifer Hudson stunned the judges with her confident rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Share Your Love with Me," which Jackson said was the best he'd heard in the show's three seasons so far.
Hudson shockingly came in seventh place on that season, but since proved herself a true idol, with a best R&B album Grammy win and an Oscar-earning role in Dreamgirls.
American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.