Randy Jackson, Sanjaya Malakar, Antonella Barba, Haley Reinhart, Scott McIntyre, and Ruben Studdard were also there.
American Idol‘s judges and the sets might have changed over the years, but after 16 seasons, its dedication to showcasing the craft of a wide range of unique contestants has remained the same. And following Monday’s crowning of Maddie Poppe as the show’s newest champion, Jimmy Kimmel celebrated with a nostalgic (and hilarious) All-Star reunion on his ABC talk show.
“We’ve met so many memorable singers and personalities since American Idol premiered back in 2002, and I was wondering where some of our favorite contestants are now,” Kimmel told his studio audience before introducing the adorable clip, which begins with season 3 personality William Hung duetting with season 6’s Sanjaya Malakar in a recording studio.
“There comes a time when you get a special call / the first call for some of us in years,” they sing. Season 6’s Antonella Barba later joins, singing, “There’s a show that wants us to sing on live TV,” while Trista Giese (also known as “Chewbacca Girl” after her notably horrendous audition) finishes the verse: “Even though it’s not 2003!”
More Idol alums — some better than others (Haley Reinhart, Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, “Pants on the Ground” singer Larry Platt, flamboyant crooner Reynaldo Lapuz) — join the chorus as the show’s graduates begin to answer what they’ve been up to since appearing on the show.
Malakar’s verses claim he works in a bar, while season 8 finalist Scot MacIntyre reveals he had a kidney transplant after putting out a Christian album (and still “has trouble with high fives).” Barba “sang the national anthem at five Dodgers games,” and Lapuz now works at a warehouse in Reno, Nevada.
The clip closes as it cuts away from the recording booth as former judge Randy Jackson watches from the control room. “Wow, guys, that was incredible. You guys sounded phenomenal,” he says. But a tech reminds him that his headphones, in fact, weren’t plugged in.
Watch Jimmy Kimmel’s mini American Idol reunion above.