The discussion of Sanjaya’s relevance has moved beyond American Idol. Whether he is voted out today or not, he is surely here to stay and is not your typical 15-minute-fame-guy. Initially I was disengaged on his fate in American Idol. I know he doesn’t sing that great or doesn’t have that overpowering stage presence of erstwhile AI contestants (remember Bo Bice?) but like Simon said yesterday, it doesn’t matter. And now Sanjaya seems to be brimming in confidence and is ‘taking light’ (saw Nishabd recently…argh!).
He strutted out in an awesome mohawk hairstyle made up of ponytails bundled up in a Troy-like headdress. One look at him and I thought he was a goner. But then he pulled it off well and I am amazed how he manages to keep the attention on his sole strong point – his hair – rather than his singing abilities. That in itself embodies the attitude of American Idol. The judges can keep shreaking that it is a singing competition but the voters decide what it really is about. After all, Taylor Hicks wouldn’t have stood out last year if it weren’t for his odd hair. Even Ryan Seacrest, the token metrosexual on TV doffs his hat to Sanjaya’s changing looks each week. Probably, people just keep voting him in to see what he might do next [image source: Gauravonomics.]
Also, you know you are a pop icon and a minor celebrity when Saturday Night Live
impersonates parodies you [video] – “As [Andy] Samberg butchered You Really Got Me, three people were shown crying with glee in the audience — among them, legendary SNL alumnus Dan Aykroyd.” Also, Comedian Eric Schwartz aka Smooth-E presents the Sanjaya Anthem [video link via Manish.] What more could an American Idol possible also-ran want?
Like I said, the conversation has moved beyond the reasons he is still on the show. I bet, American Idol producers are pulling out all stops to ensure that the buzz keeps going. Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer recently commented on the ‘controversies’ plaguing American Idol like Vote for the Worst and Sanjaya Malakar. Mind you, this is quite different from the Big Brother fracas few months back. Talking about Sanjaya, Nigel said:
“I’m old school, so any time my shows are talked about, I’m really happy. Saturday Night Live often has had pot-shots at us. And we’ve always enjoyed it. I don’t mind. Part of our humour here is making fun of ourselves, so it really doesn’t worry me if anyone else makes fun of it. I think we’re going to have this thing called the Sanjaya effect. And I feel as though, myself, last week, I was
‘Sanjaya-ed.’ I don’t know what the controversy is, to be frank. He has guts, this kid, and you have to applaud that. If half the people with more talent than him had his guts, we’d be getting better talent all-round. I don’t think he’s stupid.”
If you were in any doubt regarding American Idol’s intentions in hyping up the Malacrazy phenomenon, this statement by Nigel ought to do it:
“Even if we lost 50% of our audience, we still would be in the top three programs in the country.”
Exactly. Only if so many of the people hating Sanjaya would get this. It’s about the ratings, stupid! American Idol benefits if Sanjaya stays on. Rob Ward seems to get it and was kind enough to send me his post. Forget the racist and call center (how stupid!) angle, it is all about business, showbiz style.