Season 12 of "American Idol" kicked off Wednesday night with the usual mix of good and bad auditions, but with one twist: The tension between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey was palpable.
While the two seemed to have settled their differences since auditions began months ago, the first episode of the new season did bring out some pretty awful singers -- but nothing compared to some of the ones from seasons past.
In honor of the latest season kickoff, here's a look at some of the show's worst auditions ever, from the delusional to the downright cringe-worthy:
5) Freddie Mercury is rolling in his grave: Former "Idol" judge Simon Cowell called this auditionthe "weirdest I've ever heard in my life," and with good reason. Season 6 surfaced Steven "Red" Thoen, whose whimpering rendition of the Queen classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" nearly brought Randy Jackson to tears, he was laughing so hard, and left the other judges speechless. Let's just say that Thoen's insistence that he could also sing country music didn't help his case at all.
4) "Pants on the Ground": Season 9's General Larry Platt's "original" song, "Pants on the Ground," had guest judge Mary J. Blige cracking up so hard, she could barely breathe. The Atlanta hopeful was eventually turned away, but not before the strange song became a nationwide hit in 2010. Maybe the General was on to something?
3) Maybe not so much like a virgin: Keith Beukelaer from season 2 would go on to become one of the most famous examples of an "Idol" audition gone wrong. The 19-year-old's nasally, bizarre rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" was extremely uncomfortable to watch, but it was his suggestive gyrations that really helped promote his performance to the echelon of worst "Idol" auditions ever.
2) Please, please, let his people go: You almost felt bad for season 7's James Lewis. A polite, well-dressed guy, Lewis would go on to have one of the worst auditions ever, with his low-register version of "Go Down Moses." Presented with Lewis' utterly incomprehensible singing, judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson completely lost it, bursting out laughing during the audition. Thankfully, Simon Cowell managed to keep his composure and let Lewis down gently with an "I'm sorry, James."
1) The "Panther Guy": From the hair, the song, the dance moves, to, finally, the meowing, this audition from season 6has all the trademarks of a train-wreck audition. Simon Cowell called the audition "horrific" and "horrendous," and Randy Jackson answered "Nooo wayyy," when asked if the self-proclaimed "Panther Guy" could go through to Hollywood, and he was officially sent home. Ah well, there's always next year?