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New 'American Idol' superstar: Go, Sanjaya! Go!

March 28, 2007 |  2:04 pm


"American Idol" is really, of course, America's amateur Grammys — that is, it's a showbiz competition in which participants get judged (sometimes cruelly) by their peers.

Well, I'll have no more of that cruelty when it comes to poor, misunderstood Sanjaya Malakar, who's getting an awful thrashing for doing his job ridiculously well on that stage. Tonight tune in to Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" show to watch me rally to his defense! (You know, dear trusty readers, what a caring, Christian samaritan that I am!) Meantime, "Countdown" producers asked me to contribute my fearless views to their blog. CLICK HERE! to see the piece. Or read on — text repeated below.

Back off, Sanjaya-bashers! "American Idol's" newest superstar is really a master showman.

Who cares if he can't sing? Sanjaya's got another talent and knows how to sell it. Camp is one of the great traditions of showbiz and — come on! — it takes a genius to know how to pull it off. As those sassy strippers in the classic Broadway musical "Gypsy" say, "Ya gotta bump it with a trumpet, honey!"

You can't just do it a little. You've gotta go screaming (or screeching) over the top. The next time you see a photo of Sanjaya's pony Mohawk, think of Dame Edna's purple hair, or that rat's nest on Tiny Tim's head. Both of those guys have equally ghastly singing chops. (Uh-oh. You didn't know Dame Edna was a guy? Sorry!)

But it ain't about the singing. It's about putting on a show! And that spunky, little 17-year-old Liberace wannabe knows what he's doing and is doing it with shrewd surrender and abandon.

Frankly, let's be honest — that's how Taylor Hicks WON last year. Justin Timberlake was right about him. Taylor "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket." Simon Cowell was correct, too, when he slammed Taylor for sounding like a drunk dad at a wedding while singing "Living for the City" the first time on the show.


But, then — presto, change-o — as soon as America started buying into Taylor's campy wiggle and screech, cheering him on, that unabashed hypocrite and celebrated cad started praising Taylor. Worse, Simon applauded Taylor for singing "Living for the City" the exact same, awful way during one of the finale shows.

Hey, where's the Let's-Get-Simon-Cowell-Lynch-Mob when you need it?

The real tragedy of Taylor's triumph as top winner last year was that Simon wasn't alone. Everybody cheered on that no-talent. Why? Because that's what we do to drunk dads acting silly at weddings? Yes, as long as they're macho cool.

Sanjaya is acting silly, too, but he's a sissy. So the bullies of America are beating up on him. Unfair! Rise up, oh, Sanjaya fans! Let's strike back! Keep voting for him! Dialing and dialing! And keep the faith!

Because Sanjaya is exactly what "American Idol" deserves. Early on in the TV season producers played up the worst acts as a way to pump ratings. Now it's their own fault that one deliciously, hilariously lousy act survived and is drumming up legions of fans the same way that camp rockers like Ozzy Osbourne fill football stadiums -- because they know how to ENTERTAIN.

The lesson here: it's not always about the singing. It's about putting on a show. Taylor Hicks proved that last year without the pizzazz, the humor, the wink to the audience, the gutsy camp that Sanjaya knows instinctively.

All of THAT plus the hair!

Go, Sanjaya! Gooooo!

Photos: Sanjaya (top) knew how silly he looked last night. When his poor mom saw his wild hairdo backstage before the show, she shrieked her protest, "You can't go out there looking like that!" But Sanjaya replied firmly, "It's OK, momma. I know what I'm doing!" What Sanyaha knows is what other great camp performers know, too — that they shouldn't be afraid to look ridiculous, like Dame Edna, Liberace and Tiny Tim. (Fox/ Radio City Music Hall)

The comments to this entry are closed.


Sanjaya is like the Beatles,no one knew how to take them,and then suddenly they were It ! Sanjaya has the" It" qualities, he is all a superstar can be. There are few and far between.. .stars like him.

Whoever wrote this article is an idiot.!!!!!Stop putting Sanjaya in this low life category .He is far from a campy transvestite.Sanjaya is a sincere talented innocent kid,who is uaffected .Leave your slams at home,and rise above yourself ..up here with we normal healthy minded fans of Sanjaya.

How cruel and pathetic you are. Is the only way you can be noticed is at someone else's expense? You have forgotten the time Simon admitted that he was wrong about Taylor's not being able to get to the finals. You have forgotten when Simon admitted that Taylor had a very, very good voice. Why can we not say good for Taylor and Justin-they both have their own style, are loved for that style and let's enjoy both of them without cruel and degrading remarks.

Dale Coe Schultz (the Golden Rule Lady)

So Tom's argument is Sanjaya should stay because gay men love him?

Come on Tom, leave Sanj alone. He's as cute as a button and put his picture next to Johnny Mathis and he could be Johnny's son. His voice is not THAT bad and he is entertaining. Our next teen idol.

Oh man...people who get google alerts for Taylor Hicks ain't gonna be happy about this. :-) All I'll say is that I voted for Taylor because I owned his original albums and LOVED his voice. I barely tolerated his monkey dancing and I really, really enjoy the sound of his voice. If you don't like Taylor that's fine, but this is one person who doesn't fit into your generalization of Taylor fans.

Wow...I feel sorry for you....if you think that Justin Timberlake was correct about Taylor Hicks...that is just sad. Justin Timberlake is a boy band - soul singer wannabe....many people that have attended his concerts state the his vocals are terrible live and it is a good thing he can dance. Taylor Hicks will be around for a very long time...mark my words...he is the real deal. Where would Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, etc be if eveyone who thought like you had any say in what is good music and what is not......get real...

There's a difference between great camp and whatever the heck Sanjaya is doing on a weekly basis. He sings timidly, weakly, as if he's afraid of the sounds coming out of his own mouth -- and he should be. The sounds coming out of his mouth are dreadful. For him to be a showman, there's got to be something to show, a flair for the dramatic, and right now the only interesting thing about Sanjaya is his hair.

As for Taylor Hicks, he's a talented singer and performer, and to compare him to Sanjaya is like comparing Ruben Studdard to William Hung. As with Hung, we're not laughing with Sanjaya, we're laughing at him. And to accuse Sanjaya-haters of being homophobic is doubly offensive. Hating Sanjaya's performances isn't a product of homophobia, it's the result of having eyes and ears, and being forced to cover both whenever he takes the stage.



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