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When Stars Sing . . . Badly

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With that, Captain Kirk suddenly became Captain Kitsch, and he rode high atop the wave of stars making vanity records with some of the most jaw-dropping recordings ever. Telly Savalas had his own version of "Whiter Shade of Pale." Goldie Hawn recorded a sultry version of "Hard Days Night," and even Andy Griffith took a crack at "House of the Rising Sun."

Sebastian Cabot — better known as the mannerly British butler Mr. French on "Family Affair" — recorded "Like A Rolling Stone." And Jack Webb — Sgt. Joe Friday on "Dragnet" — had to plead guilty to assaulting the soul classic "Try a Little Tenderness."

For even more variety, try game show host Wink Martindale's "Peace in the Valley" — that'll have you longing for "Tic Tac Dough" — or Mae West's version of "Light My Fire."

And, of course, who can forget that great Vulcan folksong, "If I Had a Hammer," as performed by Leonard Nimoy? It was bested only by his foot-stomping "Proud Mary."

OK, these numbers have fantastic joke value. But shouldn't we leave the unintentional humor to the amateurs? And don't these efforts detract from movie stars who actually have musical talent?

Certainly, many movie stars can sing. Why reward those who can't? It's no surprise that William Hung's albums — "Inspiration" and "Hung for the Holidays" — both cracked the Top 40 of the Billboard 200, making "American Idol's" most famous reject also one of its most successful recording artists.

The question is: How many William Hungs does the world need? And if we're going to reward someone for being a no-talent, isn't there someone more deserving than Trump? I sing badly, and I have no shame. Hint, hint.

"Emmy Idol" also raises another troubling problem: It only encourages the likes of William Shatner to sing more. Last year, Ben Folds, Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson and Brad Paisley lent their talent to the release of "Has Been," Shatner's most ambitious (and aptly titled) album yet.

Is There No Limit to David Hasselhoff's Talent?

While the results might not have been too pretty, we must nevertheless appreciate Shatner's impact on the recording careers of so many non-singing celebrities. Would Don Johnson, Eddie Murphy, Keanu Reeves, Alyssa Milano, Maureen McCormick, Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, Corey Feldman, Kevin Bacon, Russell Crowe and Steven Seagal have had the courage to release albums over the years, despite questionable musical talent?

Thanks to Shatner, we can relax to Bruce Willis — a man who can barely talk — as he mumbles his way through "Under the Boardwalk" and "Secret Agent Man." Feeling sad? Minnie Driver's weepy version of Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" is there to comfort you.