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Top 10 Moments from WoT Idol 2022

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

How the Wheel of Time Fandom's Beloved Song Parody Challenge Outdid Itself This Year

Recappa Sedai dressed as Moiraine, holding a glass of white wine as she sings in front of a background showing Jack from Titanic on the boat.

Wheel Talk's "My Part Will Go On"

If you’ve been anywhere near the hype train leading up to JordanCon in just two days, you could not have missed the excitement surrounding the Second Annual Wheel of Time Song Parody Challenge.

Hosted by The Dusty Wheel, Unraveling the Pattern, and Wot Up!, aka “The Village Council,” the Challenge started last Tuesday and clocked in at about nine hours over the course of three live shows, with a pool of sixty-seven contestants to last year’s forty-two.

Jen from Talk'aran'rhiod podcast, a short woman with blonde hair, dressed in a leather jack and sunglasses, standing outside a shed singing "Breakin' her back as a tavern maid."

Talk'aran'rhiod's "Somebody Darkfriend"

In what is now sure to be an annual tradition, fans gleefully witnessed the debut of 67 parody songs all about The Wheel of Time and reluctantly voted for their favorites (spoiler alert: everything was their favorite).

Song lyrics spanned the entire book series, many with full-series spoilers, while others focused on a particular character ("Min’s Lament") or events from the books ("Welcome to Dumai's Wells"). Others went meta and explored the fandom itself, including this year’s winner, “Turning of the Wheel.”

If you missed the shows last week, you can catch all the parody songs in this handy playlist. And while nothing can replace the experience of watching live and hanging out in Chat, here are some highlights that capture the essence of the Wot Idol Challenge this year:

10. Ilyena!

It's hard to pinpoint the source of inspiration for all the Ilyenas this year. Maybe it’s last year’s winning parody, or the fandom’s endless amusement with “The Winter Dragon,” or Lanfear’s signature mockery of that poor straw-haired chit. Whatever the reason, Ilyena is an endlessly funny and meme-able character, and the contestants knew it.

an animated background of rolling hills with a silhouette of a woman standing to the right. Over her head are the lyrics "You know Ilyena just really needs to die."

Melindhra's "Never, Lews Therin"

This year's parody submissions included two songs specifically about Ilyena, and four songs that mention Ilyena at least once. That's almost ten percent of the entries!

Every time Ilyena’s name was sung or shouted, Live Chat exploded with joy. My favorite “Ilyena” moment? A parody of the Goat Remix of Taylor Swift’s “Trouble,” featuring clips of Max Ryan as Lews Therin shouting “Ilyena!” in place of the bleating goats.

a man sitting in front of a projector screen holding a pointer stick. On the screen is a scene from Winter Dragon: Lews Therin standing over Ilyena's dead body. The man holds a hand to his mouth in an "oops" gesture. The caption reads "Ilyena! Ilyena!"

Avi Silber's "I Knew You Were the Dragon"

9. WoT Hive Mind

Does a shared love for the Wheel of Time mean shared taste in music? Probably not, but the Venn Diagram circles for taste in books and taste in music never overlapped more than during this year’s WoT Idol.

Fans started to feel like they were caught in a "flicker" moment when they started hearing different versions of the same songs—often with similar themes, but unique to the style of each contestant.

By the end of the last round of Semifinals, we counted two parodies of “Trouble” (Taylor Swift), two Morgase-themed versions of “Stacy’s Mom” (Fountains of Wayne), three parodies of “American Pie” (Don McLean), three versions of “The Sound of Silence” (Simon & Garfunkel), five Lin Manuel Miranda parodies (two of “Surface Pressure” from Encanto, two from Hamilton, and one from Moana), and a five parodies about Lanfear (trying to sway the Innkeeper, no doubt).

Alyssa from One Power Ballads dressed as Lanfear, making a crazy face. The caption reads in bloody letters: Lews Therin Telamon

One Power Ballads' "I Will Follow Him"

8. Kitties!

It’s always fun when pets appear on camera during a livestream, and WoT Idol 2022 featured an abundance of furry friends. Between Jon’s giant orange tabby Zoom-bombing during the first round of Semifinals, and Taylor Hatch wrangling cats onscreen at the end of each episode, fans had plenty of opportunities to type “KITTY!” into the chat.

Taylor Hatch smiling and proudly holding two black tuxedo cats, one in each arm, as the Innkeeper smiles next to him on air, behind his laptop.

The Finals even included a poll about which of the Hatch family’s cat names, Clark, Wayne, or Grayson, fans liked the best (Grayson won, despite Clark and Wayne being the only two to appear on the show that day).

The best cute critter cameo in the parodies themselves? WotSpoilers’ “Tribute,” which featured an outdoor cat wandering into the background while Seth and Aradia rocked out on their keyboards, and Seth holding his dog like a guitar.

7. The Closers

Each of the three rounds of WoT Idol closed with a crowd-pleaser. Even though it didn’t move on to the Finals, Lloyd Baron’s “Ajah Medley” wrapped up the first night of Semifinals. As one of the most unfortunate entries to fall victim to the Innkeeper’s strict 90-second cut-off, the medley was vehemently requested by fans who were eager to see the medley in its glorious entirety—the “Baby Shark” movement in particular.

a man in a blue hoodie crossing his arms, next to the lyrics "Blue Ajah, we want to rule the world"

Lloyd Baron's "Ajah Medley"

Night Two closed with WoT Up’s “The Dragon,” an instant classic from last year’s competition (exhibition-only, since it was submitted by one of the Village Council members). On the night of the Finals, champion Joel Henley closed out the show with his heartfelt #Fanthem, “Turning of the Wheel.”

a white man with a dark beard, gray baseball cap, and large square glasses, plays an acoustic guitar and sings into a mic. The lyrics on the screen read: "cause we'll always have the wheel of time"

Joel Henley's "Turning of the Wheel"

6. Hating on the Village Council

While the competition aspect of WoT Idol adds a layer of suspense to the excitement, fans quickly spiraled into a rage that they had to vote for one beloved parody over another. With nowhere else for their anger to go, fans began to riot against the Village Council, accusing them of Darkfriendery and shouting variations of "How dare you?" into the Chat (all in good fun, of course).

a photo of some trees and gravel, overlayed with a cutout of the innkeeper with black devil horns, flames licking up around him. The lyrics read "Show me the best parody in the wheel"

Wot Spoilers' "Tribute"

As the competition progressed and choices were increasingly soul-crushing, it became customary for fans to hate on the Village Council as they viewed each match-up. Even the panelists joined in to heckle the Innkeeper, who asked them for their opinions after every round yet refused to weigh in himself.

Voters threatened to force a 50/50 split so the Council and/or Innkeeper would have to decide on a winner, but the closest it ever came was 51/49. And so the rage continued until the bitter end. (Don’t worry, a lot of praise and gratitude was expressed to the Village Council, as well).

5. The “After Party” on Three Fold Talk

As a co-host of Malkier Talks’ Three Fold Talk Show, I am 100% biased in listing the after-party we hosted as a highlight, but I’m doing it anyway. If views and comments are to be believed, the show (live streamed on YouTube) was a success, and instrumental in keeping the hype going last week. Airing the day after the second round of Semifinals, the after-party helped fill the void fans were left with during the wait for the Finals.

screenshot from Three Fold Talk show, consisting of a large image from a parody song showing Gaul and Chiad with the lyrics "!!!" On the side of the screen are 5 vertical squares showing Rob, Bain & Chiad, Wise One Shelly, Melindhra, and Roofmistress Leigh-a, all smiling and enjoying the video.

Three Fold Talk watching Mike Andersen's "Alone"

The two-hour livestream aired a selection of full-length versions of the parodies that had not made it into the finals, with heavy favoritism for Aiel-themed parodies like Wise One Edarra's “Aiel Fight Song” and Mike Andersen's “Alone.”

Those who couldn't make it to the Semifinals, including Wise One Shelly, watched and reacted to the parodies for the first time, while other fans enjoyed getting together again to watch the full versions of their favorites.

Still image of Siuan Sanche in the Wheel of Time, about to kiss Moiraine. The lyrics read "Elayne please don't see as I get down on my knees. I heard it work for Siuan and I'm in love with Elayne's mom."

Malker Talks' "Elayne's Mom"

The “Foldies” also got an exclusive first look at the full versions of Melindhra’s “Never, Lews Therin” and Wetlander Rob’s “Elayne’s Mom,” followed by an epic teaser trailer for the finals. Lauren from Unraveling the Pattern and the Innkeeper made appearances in Chat as the Aiel joked around, played videos, and helped tide fans over until the big day on Saturday. Speaking of Chat…

4. Live Chat

Previously listed as one of the best reasons to submit a parody song for WoT Idol 2022, Live Chat did not disappoint. This year’s chat was even wilder, faster, and funnier than last year’s.

Screenshot of Lezbi Nerdy (an emoji like Avatar of a black woman with dred locks, glasses, and a beanie) in front of an illustrated sunset and silhouette of a tree, opening her mouth to sing. The chat reads the following comments: lmao, (applause emojis) so good!!!, lmaaaaao, Chills, So great!, Is it weird that I'm crying?, omfg, and This is perfection.

Live Chat enjoying Lezbi Nerdy's "Wait for It"

While the mods begged for slow mode, chat flew by in an endless stream of interjections, hashtags, candle emojis, KITTY!s, proclamations of love for the fandom and/or the Village Council, and, most of all, lamentations that they were being asked to choose one uniquely creative parody over another. I must have typed the “sob” emoji 200 times over the course of the competition.

Screenshot of YouTube Live chat with the following comments: TWO KITTY, more kitty!, KITTIES, Wayne and Clark!, CATS!!!, caaaaats (beaming emoji), So cute! and the kitties are nice too, Kitty break, Oooh! Cat!, Kitty! Who do you want me to vote for, kitty man?, KITTY, and a cat emoji

3. Surprise Wildcard Round

As fans became increasingly distraught over their favorite songs being eliminated in the Semifinals, they petitioned the Village Council for a Wildcard Round. Although some would later regret it when it came to voting for the best of three entries in the Finals, most were delighted to see some parodies get a second chance.

a large leather chest with iron straps floating in the air above a red supernova. The caption reads "We'll put our feelings into boxes."

Rakhoi's "Little Box"

Last Friday afternoon at 4pm EST, after the full versions of the eliminated videos had been released, fans were asked to select their top three. But only the top two were brought back to compete in the Finals: delightfully deranged fan favorite “Little Box” by Rakhoi, and the deceptively tender “Spear Right Through Ya” by Rhuarc, with Alyssa from One Power Ballads on backing vocals.

2. Hammed and Marcus (and Juliet?)

Hours before the Finals aired on Saturday, The Innkeeper began teasing fans that something big might be happening. As the show started, Lauren from Unraveling the Pattern brought the hype into chat with vague comments like “OMG guys!” Then, the Innkeeper started a poll with only two options for predictions of who would be on the show: a cast member, or “no one.”

Finally, after what felt like years of waiting, fans learned that actor Hammed Animashaun (Loial) would be joining the show as a guest panelist. Alongside a starstruck Village Council, Hammed shared his reactions, flashed his charming smile, and commented he was having “the best time”—and this was before he even got to hear finalist Mah Alleinir’s genius parody about Loial, “He’s Got a Book.”

Split screen with 4 squares, showing, going clockwise from top left, Lauren from Unraveling the Pattern, Jon from Wot Up, Ilkin from Warriors and Generals, and in the final square, Hammed Animashaun and Marcus Rutherford. Everyone is smiling.

Later, fans were surprised again when Marcus Rutherford (Perrin) showed up on camera with Hammed for a couple songs, including Siansonea’s “Town of Violence.” And, while some perceptive Live Chatters noticed they could tag Juliet Howland (Natti Cauthon), it wasn't confirmed she was really there until Sunday, when she posted about it on Twitter.

It’s mind-blowing to think that at least three Wheel of Time cast members supported the creative efforts of the fandom. If Wot Idol continues to outdo itself like it did this year, who knows what might happen in future competitions?

1. Fandom Love

At the end of the day, WoT Idol is just another way for fans to come together and have a great time talking about the Wheel of Time. Underneath all the hype and excitement, after all 67 songs are watched, it’s enough to simply share the joy, appreciate the books (flaws and all), and revel in our mutual understanding of all the inside jokes. In a way, it’s like our own three-day music festival, except way less expensive and much more nerdy.

A white man wearing a black and red Jurassic Park t-shirt and long pink wig, standing in a living room, holding his arms in the air, with balls of lightning photoshopped into them. The lyrics read: I knew you could channel when you walked in

Aaron Morris's "I Knew You Could Channel"

But in all seriousness, it was truly uplifting to see everyone supporting one another and cheering each other on. Live Chat, Discord, and Twitter were all flooded with comments about how proud of the fandom everyone felt. The hashtag #UnreasonablyTalentedFandom began to float around.

Wot Spoilers' "Tribute"

After the Finals aired, several fans, including in the Innkeeper, mentioned WoT Idol was just what they needed to refresh their excitement about the Wheel of Time as we navigate this weird in-between place, still hungover from Season 1 and bored waiting for Season 2. For me, it was the Bayle Domon casting that brought me back to life, but WoT Idol helped keep the momentum going.

Bain & Chiad is a regular contributor to and the creator of Maidens’ List, a weekly opinion column about the Wheel of Time book series, TV show, and fandom.

Correction: the original version of this article listed four Lin Manuel Miranda parodies (two from Hamilton and two from Encanto), but Salya al'Onir reminded us her parody, "You're Welcome" is also a LMM song from Moana.

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