News

Sanjaya’s ‘Idol’ luck runs dry

By MARGO HORNER

The Mirror

After months of delighting and horrifying millions of viewers, Sanjaya Malakar of Federal Way was voted off “American Idol” last week.

He wiped away tears after hearing the news.

“We won’t soon forget you,” host Ryan Seacrest told the 17-year-old singer.

Sanjaya made fame as the most hated contestant on the popular TV talent competition. Some “Idol” fans vowed starvation strikes until Sanjaya was voted off.

Simon Cowell, a judge on the show, had said he would quit the show if Sanjaya won.

Despite being unpopular with the judges and many viewers, Sanjaya developed a strong following, mostly teens and preteens. In one episode, a young girl was highlighted in the crowd crying tears of joy during Sanjaya’s performance.

Sanjaya also received support from popular disc jockey Howard Stern and the Web site votefortheworst.com.

During an interview with KCPQ, the network that airs “American Idol,” Sanjaya said he looked forward to coming home to the Seattle area — and he missed the rain. He is expected to arrive home on Tuesday.

During his “Idol” run, Sanjaya said he grew emotionally and in his singing. He was aware that he had made a media sensation, but was not aware of the extent.

“There were some very creative people making stuff up about me,” he said.

When asked if he thought he had outlasted better singers in the competition, Sanjaya was dumbstruck.

“That’s a really good question,” he said, fumbling with his words.

After being voted off the show, Sanjaya said he is not discouraged.

He plans to pursue a career in either singing, acting or modeling.

“Maybe go on Broadway or something,” he said. “I don’t know.”

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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