The Sanjaya Malakar wave sweeping the nation is puzzling indeed. There’s a lot of debate as to whether there is some kind of nefarious conspiracy to vote Sanjaya to the top and kill American Idol in the process. The debate is similar the one of whether Digg has a bury brigade.
I really don’t care for any of the American Idol contestants past, present or future. It all just seems too artificial. It’s like Digg for pop stars or something.
To me, Sanjaya’s success is a sign of the times. Just as we now accept Paris Hilton as a celebrity, it doesn’t take phenomenal talent to draw attention these days. In fact, it can even hurt you. People have always loved to drag down the successful whether through legitimate competition or dirty means. Maybe not everyone mind you but would you shed a tear if Bill Gates lost all his fortunes and became homeless tomorrow? Me neither.
Celebrities and their flaws are magnified by easily accessible digital toys to capture them in their glory and the blogs with an infinite appetite for trash. It’s so much easier to latch on to a “star” with flaws. Someone just accessible enough to make us think that we could be better.
Everyone knows that Paris Hilton has no “real” talent aside from generating publicity for nothing. Yet she has just enough of half-baked talent in everything to keep us interested.
I think Sanjaya’s fame comes from the fact that he’s not horrible enough to be revolting (he’s actually a good singer but certainly not great). His personality isn’t forceful enough to elicit a strong response against him. He has a helpless quality about him accentuated by his looks that probably draws out the maternal instinct in females. He’s also wide open for ridicule. Just look at all the parodies out there. All of this is creating a potent mix for people to continue talking about him nonstop.
I doubt he’ll win but if he does the internet will be on fire.