American Idol: The Sanjaya Situation, Redux
Defying any sort of rational anlaysis, Sanjay Malakar lives to sing another week on American Idol.  Talent-wise, you can make a great case that Sanjaya should have been booted weeks ago, during the Top 24 episodes.  Heck, I'd be willing to say that Sanjaya should not have even made it into the Top 24.  But that is neither here nor there; Sanjaya is still around, to the bemusement of any relatively sane objective observer.  His voice is weak, his performances have ranged from flat-out terrible to bizarre to yesterday's somehwat-passable-but-still-bizarre.  What more do the voters need to oust him from what has been dubbed a singing competition?

Of course, American Idol is not, by any means, a singing competition, no matter how many times Simon Cowell says otherwise.  It is a popularity contest that masquerades as a singing competition.  People have to make an impact to get their votes, they have to fill a niche, they have to appeal to a broad audience in ways the other contestants don't.  That's one thing you can say about Sanjaya: he certainly isn't like any of the other contestants.

So, what can we attribute Sanjaya's lingering and, after tonight, continuing presence on the world's most popular television show?  How can anyone reasonably claim that Sanjaya is a better singer than Stephanie Edwards, who was sent home tonight?  Well, there are a couple of things.

The little girls like him.  This should have been obvious to me (though it wasn't) from the beginning.  It finally took the sight of that little girl crying like it was 1964 and The Beatles were performing in front of her eyes to finally hammer the truth into my brain: Sanjaya has the little girl vote.  He's a Tiger Beat kind of guy, a safe, lovable performer who ignites some combination of adoration and, I don't know, sympathy from a significant portion of our adolescent population.  This depresses me, because you'd think actual talent would be more desirable to these people but, as is the way of the world, its impossibly to account for taste.

Another issue that has been brought up recently is the effect of sites like  Every week, that site chooses who they deem the worst contestant remaining and runs a campaign for their legions of site users to hit the phones and vote for that person.  Their reasons for this are a bit silly (they take issue with the audition process, mainly the fact that bad singers are allowed through to the judges solely to be made fun of while some good singers don't even make it to the judges), but the effect cannot be understated.  The site gets millions of page views per week, numbers that can significantly alter the fate of the “worst” contestant. 

But, regardless, the situation is still the same: Sanjaya remains on American Idol, while other, far more talented singers are now watching from their couch.  It's upsetting and it undermines a show that is supposedly about awarding the best singer. 

What do you think?  Should Sanjaya still be on the show?  Why is he still on the show?  How far do you think he'll make it?

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

(Image Courtesy of BoDog)