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Ever since Season 15 was declared to be the final season of American Idol, fans have been wondering what would be in store for the show. Would former competitors come back? Is the show going to have the former winners back on stage for one last hurrah? Well, now we know, for sure, that some interesting old friends will be joining the festivities as American Idol says goodbye on Thursday.

According to TMZ, what’s being known as American idol: The Farewell Season, is pulling out all the stops for Thursday’s series finale, and the singing competition is even bringing back some people you’ll be surprised to see again. Former first season co-host Brian Dunkleman will be opening the show, and Season 3 crowd favorite contestant William Hung will be singing on the broadcast.

I doubt fans of American Idol, even the ones who have watched the show since 2002 when it first appeared on FOX, were expecting to see either Brian Dunkleman or William Hung during any part of the final season. Since Dunkleman only worked as co-host with Ryan Seacrest for Season 1 of the show, many people have forgotten that there were ever two hosts in the first place. Dunkleman has said that he quit the show after the first season because he didn’t like the way the contestants were treated, or the fact that the fights between judges were staged. By now, everyone knows that Ryan Seacrest has gone on to produce several other shows and become a successful figure in the entertainment industry, all based on his work on American Idol. In 2008, Dunkleman admitted, during an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show,” that he regretted leaving and resented Seacrest for his success. Considering his feelings, it’s completely surprising that Dunkleman agreed to pop up on the final show. But, he’s probably very grateful that he was even asked.

In case you’ve forgotten, William Hung auditioned for Season 3 of American Idol. He sang Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” for original judges Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. His audition was terrible, but his positive attitude got the attention of the show’s fans, and he went on to enjoy some limited fame and, surprisingly, even a recording career. During his cult following Hung made appearances on Arrested Development and George Lopez and several talk shows and news programs, including Dateline NBC and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He released three albums in 2004 and 2005, and his first album actually sold around 200,000 copies and got to Number One on Billboard’s Independent Album Chart.

Just so you don’t have to wonder and hope until Thursday night’s episode, TMZ also reports that American Idol is planning to bring back the three original hosts for the finale, as well as every winner and many of the Top 3 contestants from each season for a major performance. You can catch the live two-part grand finale of American Idol on Wednesday and Thursday, at 8 p.m. EST both nights.

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