Thursday, April 19, 2007

ON TV: Hair through yesterday, Sanjaya went bye-bye-a last night

I am no fan of American Idol. Never could get into the show, into most of what surly Simon Cowell says, or into any big-stakes enterprises with outcomes based on bogus elections.

My disinterest in watching notwithstanding, I couldn't escape experiencing the buzz surrounding the show's voting system, judges, host, and prominent contestants even if I wanted to. The latest contender to give everyone something to talk about has been America Idol Season 6 contestant Sanjaya (pronounced San-Jye-Ya) Malakar, who was hair through yesterday, but went bye-bye-a last night.

Seventeen year old Sanjaya, like Rapunzel and Samson, has hair with special properties. It was the luxurious, versatile nature of his crowning glory (which Sanjaya styled or capped differently for almost every show), combined with charisma and cute (somewhat androgynous) looks, that some say captivated fans and gave legs to his improbably long run. Even his supportors confess, it wasn't superior vocal talent that carried him to this season's Top 7.

But his looks and locks alone didn't put Sanjaya head and shoulders above the firing line. He also had a lotta help from friendly campaigners such as Howard "King of All Media" Stern and sites like, that routinely encourage votes for the least-gifted contestants in efforts to undermine the American Idol's rating system.

All that he had going for him was not enough to beat stronger singers, however. Last night's results signed, sealed and delivered Sanjaya's fate as an American Idol also-ran.

Saying "sayonara" to Sanjaya pleased Simon, who had consistently panned the teenager's performance as "utterly horrendous" and grinned when Malakar sank into the bottom three. Simon (and online gamblers) knew the pattern: down and out.

Viewers' reactions to Sanjaya's elimination were mixed. (Read more reactions here.) Those who care will be comforted to know: as one of the most talked about Idols in history, Mr. Malakar may be gone from the show but he won't be forgotten. The cult status and post-audition deals enjoyed by the tone-deaf American Idol Season 2 non-starter, William Hung (who is less-endowed than Sanjaya, both vocally and coif-wise), have already proved that concept.

[IMAGES are courtesy of Wikipedia-William Hung and]