The Sanjaya Malakar Phenomenon

Season 6 Contestant Sanjaya Malakar has no doubt proven to be the most controversial contestant in the top 12 of American Idol this year. Just a brief perusal of blogs and discussion boards pertaining to the show, will quickly demonstrate how much attention he is getting and how worked up people do get when his name (or one of his many nicknames) is mentioned. Sanjaya is not only criticised for his poor performances, but also for his eccentric look, particularly with respect to his ever changing hairstyle. People want to know how it is that such a character is still on the show? How did he even manage to make the top 24, muchless the top 12?

Now these are questions that have been puzzling me too. I had another theory page devoted to the poor-performing contestants who last long, and I lumped Sanjaya in there. But I think he deserves his own space. I cannot think of a worse contestant who ever made it to the top 12. No, Scott Savol, John Stevens, Josh Gracin and Kevin Covais do not belong in Sanjaya's category.

It seems most people realise he is totally a misfit in the company of the other contestants, that he is just not in their league. Yet he continues to outlast his more talented peers. This naturally gets some upset. One girl put herself on a hunger strike which was meant to last until this madness stops. It was rumoured that a petition was started to get him off the show. Simon Cowell even said that he would quit American Idol if Sanjaya won (no doubt an exaggeration).

I had a sneaky feeling that Sanjaya didn't just suddenly start to do poorly when he appeared in the top 24. So I went back and listened to his first aired audition. Take a listen yourselves.

Click here if you can't see the video above

What I find weird, is that the judges said he sounded better than his sister. I don't get that. I can at least see why they sent him to the hollywood round, but seriously, how the heck did he get past that? The judges must have let him through to the top 24 just for fun. I guess it can be compared to the days when the Romans would put Christians in the Colosseum with starving lions, just to give the crowd some enjoyment. Of course, those of us with a sense of decency and good morals, just think this is downright cruel and deplorable!

The funny thing is, the lad has managed to defy all logic, and to the judges'/producers' consternation, has been thriving. Remember that VoteForTheWorst only started backing him when he reached the top 12, so he has genuinely won the favour of millions. The scary thing is, he actually started to sound decent in the top 9 and top 8 performance shows. The effect of this is that it makes it seem that he did great, particularly in the top 8 show. You see, after doing so attrociously consistently each round, an average performance sounds fantastic. More people are being drawn to the chap. It's like he is growing on people (dare I say like a fungus?)

Just what is it about this kid that elicits such venom from viewers, while at the same time endears enough persons to keep him on the show? Well this seems to be one of the biggest unsolved mysteries these days. The solution eludes even me. The theory of Indian call centres making it happen must be dismissed. Only calls that are classified as within the US are accepted. The best thing I can come up with at this time is that there are a lot of females who like males who look almost female. Or basically, people like his look and so vote for him. I cannot imagine that the millions who keep him on each week, vote because of his voice. Those who actually vote because of his vocals are probably in the hundreds.

There is of course the Jimmy Kimmel theory.

Click here if you can't see the video above

On a more serious note, another theory was posted here which attributes evil hypnotic powers to Sanjaya's teeth.

I'll update this page if I can come up with any other theories. Until then, I surely welcome any ideas you may have. Don't hesitate to post them here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think he became the underdog, to girls who found him charming. I also suspect that possibly some weeks AI made him sound worse instead of better with the soundboard, because AI likes to have a villain (especially during a bad season when they needed a distraction). He had a microphone and still sounded incredibly quiet. He didn't deserve to be pushed around like he was.'s just a show? Once he left...let the boredom commence.