sanjaya-malakar.jpgAs much as Americans like champions and winners, they also love underdogs and losers. Remember Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky incident? Remember William Hung? Those who least deserve the votes almost always evoke the public’s sympathy and support. Sanjaya Malakar is the beneficiary of this American syndrome now. He is touted to be the most undeserving and untalented American Idol contestant still to be in action while other more capable singers have been kicked out. Yet the voters seem to enjoy criticising him so much that they are keeping him in the show week after week.

Meanwhile he is reinventing himself in every show. If you can’t woo them with your voice, then distract them with your appearance. On March 27, 2007, Malakar sang No Doubt’s “Bathwater” wearing a fauxhawk made from multiple ponytails. The style was called the “ponyhawk” by host Ryan Seacrest. While singing, Malakar forgot some of the words to the song. While singing “Cheek to Cheek” on April 3, Malakar donned a white suit with a slick combed back hairstyle, and charmingly danced with judge Paula Abdul. Whatever is said about Malakar, he embodies the American spirit: live and let live.

Malakar has evoked extreme reactions from his supporters and critics alike. Some have claimed that they will go on hunger strikes until he is voted off. Others vowed to vote for him in a show of protest after their idols have been eliminated in earlier rounds. Jennifer Lopez declared: “I like this kid. I love Sanjaya!” after he sang in Spanish during rehearsal. Either Malakar has a certain charm up his sleeves or others just can’t wait to get a slice off his publicity pie. In an obvious snub to Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and potential first female American president was asked what the United States can do about Malakar who has been voted in again and again despite his lack of talent. Clinton replied that there was nothing the US can do. She said: “People can vote for whomever they want.” Perhaps that is the answer: American Idol is a reflection and a microcosm of the American political election.