Sanjaya: An American Nightmare

A Double Dose of Madness: Sanjaya Has A Twin…

That Sanjaya Must Be Stopped!!

Jon Swift is claiming that Sanjaya must be stopped for the moral good of our country.  He warns us that, “Disturbing images of out-of-tune singers on our televisions could have a devastating effect on the morale of our citizens.  And imagine if Americans embraced the philosophy of voting for the worst candidate in presidential elections!  It’s almost too horrible to think about.”  Swift continues his plea for us to come to our senses at this time of crisis, which is related to the undeserved adoration that the American public has showered upon incompetent and morally depraved celebrities:

“Last week millions of nervous Americans gathered around their televisions to see if Sanjaya Malakar, the 17-year-old Indian-American contestant with the face of an angel and the voice of…something else, would finally be kicked off of American Idol.  But once again Sanjaya defied all expectations and common sense and survived another round in the contest that defines this country as much as Nascar, the Superbowl, presidential elections and monster trucks.  It is finally time to acknowledge that the inexplicable and frightening Sanjaya juggernaut has reached crisis proportions and something must be done about it before it is too late.

Sanjaya seems like a nice kid and his singing is really no worse than many pop stars, including American Idol judge Paula Abdul herself.  But this is not a small-town talent show we are talking about, it is American Idol, the number one show in the country, and increasingly people around the world are asking themselves, What is wrong with American voters?  Have they gone completely insane to vote for someone who is clearly so incompetent and dim-witted and has gotten as far as he has on little more than charm and luck?”  Read more of Swift’s article here.

As America’s Ears Bleed

Robin Givhan reviewed Sanjaya’s “hair show” on Tuesday’s American Idol in The Washington Post:

“As America’s ears bleed, it sounds as though Malakar no longer is attempting to sing — that is, to enunciate lyrics while simultaneously carrying a tune.  How can he compete with Lakisha Jones, whose lusty voice could blow out woofers, tweeters and everything in between?

So Malakar has given himself over to style.  Substance, what little of it there is on “American Idol,” be damned.

He is fashioning himself into a male pop tart.  Not just a smiling Bratz boy looking to exploit a healthy head of hair to juice up his image, but someone using fashion as a steppingstone to fame.

Malakar doesn’t just have good hair, he is his hair.

He follows in the long-standing tradition of female pop stars with only the barest whisper of a voice, or a passable croak, who have used style to make themselves into successful entertainers.  See: Britney Spears, pre-rehab, meltdown, marriage.  See: “Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll.”  See: Diana Ross and her hair — post-Supremes.  See: Cher and assorted headdresses.

Malakar is the rare male performer who relies so utterly on styling.  Only those boy bands whipped together in the past by Dr. Frankenstein-like producers came close to being so fashion dependent.  Because those bands didn’t have gripping vocals or musicianship, they relied on sharp choreography, decent hooks, cute faces and muscular physiques to keep the fans screaming.  Styling was important, but it was only part of the mix.  Elton John, David Bowie, George Clinton are known for their style, but they don’t owe their careers to it.  Usher has great style, but he owes a greater debt to his dance moves and his abs.  Andre 3000?  A 50-50 split between impressive style and massive substance.

At 17, Malakar does not ooze testosterone.  He has a slight build that never fills out his studiously hipster clothes — such as his graffiti blazer from Lulu last week.  He typically looks as though he has been borrowing his wardrobe from a grown-up.  When he is onstage, he gives no indication that he can dance.  And when he races into the audience, one worries that at any moment he will trip over his shoelaces.  Historically, he can be compared to Shaun Cassidy or Leif Garrett — Tiger Beat regulars with bland voices but splendidly tousled hair.

Malakar plays the asexual pretty boy with the gleaming grin, who always looks like he spent more time primping his hair than rehearsing his song.  He is a compelling presence onstage not because he makes the heart go pitter-patter but because he’s putting on a hair show.  Next week, it would not be shocking if he appeared with his hair teased into a beehive, out of which flew live bees.

Women with only barely tolerable voices have built singing careers by transforming themselves into fashion personalities.  Madonna, for instance, would almost certainly not be a one-name pop icon without the help of rubber bracelets, bullet bras and copious amounts of hair bleach.

The door to fame has cracked open for Malakar.  And he is working the zeitgeist with his hirsute shenanigans.  Nothing about his tactics are unusual.  The only surprise is that, in this case, the performer so willing to be reduced to a big smile and even bigger hair is a man.

Sanjaya’s Twin??

World Premiere of The Sanjaya Ponyhawk

2 Responses to “Sanjaya: An American Nightmare”

  1. Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities Sanjaya: But Was It Bad Enough to Win Again?? « Says:

    […] Sanjaya continued tonight in his role as the worst of the bunch on American Idol this week, but then that was true last week too.  At this point, he knew that a lot of people would hate him regardless of what he did.  Giving up his flaming pony-hawk hairdo from last week, Sanjaya’s performance of “Cheek to Cheek” certainly wasn’t anything to write home about. […]

  2. Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities Sanjaya Stays: Mediocrity Marches On!! « Says:

    […] Sanjaya managed to stay on American Idol for yet another week!!!  Sanjaya continued to star in his role as the worst of the bunch on American Idol this week, but then that was true last week too. At this point, he knew that a lot of people would hate him regardless of what he did. Giving up his flaming pony-hawk hairdo from last week, Sanjaya’s performance of “Cheek to Cheek” certainly wasn’t anything to write home about. […]

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