I’m a big fan of online encyclopedias: they offer the information of tangible reference books without the risk of paper cuts (those things will sting). In fact, I am such a fan of online encyclopedias that I visit them on an almost daily basis. If I don’t know the meaning of a term or I want to know when the new Milli Vanilli movie is coming out, I simply turn to my friends at wikipedia or Britannica.com. I don’t want to get too mushy but, truth be told, they complete me.
However, a visit to one of these online encyclopedias the other day left me shocked by something I saw: Sanjaya has his own entry. Now, I want my own one too.
Even for those people who don’t watch American Idol, it’s nearly impossible to not know who Sanjaya is: he’s all over the news. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if President Bush – in lieu of devising a timetable to pull US troops out of Iraq – just devises a timetable to pull Sanjaya off of American Idol. We, as a culture, seem to be a little Sanjaya obsessed.
For anyone who doesn‘t surf the Internet, listen to the radio, or watch television – in other words, for the Amish – Sanjaya is an American Idol contestant who America, and particularly the judges, don’t really seem to be idolizing. The tune that many people are singing is that he just isn’t very good.
Still… He’s Not That Bad
People can say Sanjaya can’t sing; they can say he doesn’t deserve to be on the show; they can even say that he – gasp! – is having a bad hair day. But, I don’t get it. I really don’t. First of all, nobody seems more anti-Sanjaya than Simon, Randy, and Paula. But, aren’t they the ones who put him through to the top 24 to begin with? If he’s so very bad, then why did they – with no say on the voter’s part – even give him the chance to win. He can’t be that bad or he would have never even made it to Hollywood.
In another thought, I don’t really see what makes Sanjaya so much worse than past contestants. He is certainly not the first person on American Idol to overstay his welcome. If we travel back in time to last season, we remember that Chris Daughtry was a better singer than Taylor Hicks or Katharine McPhee and if we keep going back to season one, we’re reminded that many people believed Tamyra Gray should have finished ahead of both Nikki McKibbin and Justin Guarini. There, there, Mr. Guarini, you still have From Justin to Kelly under your belt. No one can ever take that away from you.
American Idol, way before Sanjaya took center stage, has always been about who can get the most votes; singing talent takes second chair.
The Howard (not K.) Stern Influence
The fact that Sanjaya was picked by the judges to compete and the fact his singing is not so horrible that it can be compared to a cat tied to the hood of a car leads me to wonder if Howard Stern is fueling the Sanjaya controversy. Howard Stern fuel a controversy? I know… C-R-A-Z-Y!
Stern is at the helm of an American Idol ship. He launched a campaign via his radio show imploring American Idol viewers to vote for Sanjaya. His reason behind this plea is simple: priding himself as a bit of a pot stirrer. Stern is urging people to vote for Sanjaya for seemingly no other reason than he’s the least talented contestant. Even if Howard Stern starts paying people to vote for Sanjaya, it doesn't really matter: a vote's a vote.
Love him, hate him, or go on a hunger strike until he gets kicked off, Sanjaya is a pure example of what celebrity in this day and age is all about: it doesn’t come down to who has talent (right, Paris Hilton), it merely comes down to who gets the most press and publicity. Celebrity is a game and Sanjaya – with his signature locks and bashful smile – is about to check mate everyone else.Powered by Sidelines