Bye-Bye-a, Sanjaya: With Most Controversial Contestant Gone, Can Idol Stay Interesting?
Sinister Simon could barely contain his glee Wednesday, as it became increasingly obvious talent-challenged singer Sanjaya Malakar was going to hit the bricks.
But his departure from the show Wednesday will prove a double-edged sword for this, the most boring Idol competition in years. He was the last x-factor - a clearly overmatched singer whose plucky charm and androgenous good looks convinced a legion of tweener fans to keep him in the game long past his sell- by date.
I was amazed Wednesday because one of my predictions about Idol actually came true (not the one about him making the top five, I know). But weeks ago, I noted that Idol often has a weird period in the middle of the contest where less talented contestants try sex appeal (Haley "Legs" Scarnato), attitude and charm to try staving off their inevitable demise.
Sanjaya's fall also proves one of two things: that all the talk about influencing voting by Howard Stern and assorted Web sites was the B.S. I always thought it was (a guy with 1-million or so listeners isn't going to influence a contest which draws 38-million votes), or Idol producers made sure that, once Sanjaya's presence really started hurting the show, he was gone.
Snarky Simon did have to drop the attitude for a moment, concluding his own brief apology tour for an unfortunate camera shot which made it look like he was sneering at Chris Richardson's condolences to families of the Virginia Tech shooting victims.
Cowell hit host Ryan Seacrest's radio show and tons of news outlets to explain he was rolling his eyes at something else Richardson said; Idol producers showed footage and audio to prove Cowell's point, and last night the camera never got close to him when Sanjaya's ejection was announced (a result which caused lots of celebration in Casa de Deggans, I can tell you).
Let's hope last night's show also proved a wake-up call for contender LaKisha Jones, who has seemed to think she can sing anything with little danger of ejection. Now that Sanjaya is gone, it is obvious the audience is voting mostly on the stregnth of each week's performances -- she can't afford another Diamonds Are Forever, or she'll be gone too.
So, we are saved from the sight of the man-child until his inevitable, computer corrected album hits the streets and Fanjayas can indulge their, um, unique tastes again.
And since the three mostly talented singers left are obvious -- LaKisha, Jordin and Melinda -- it remains to be seen how Idol is going to keep this game interesting for another seven weeks (?!).
-- Famous Fanjaya Howard Stern is calling for an investigation, saying Idol producers culled out all the power dialing votes to make sure he lost.
DEGGANS Punditry off the Charts
I've had an interesting 10 days or so, as the Don Imus controversy has turned me into both reporter and subject on the same issue. I've talked with radio jocks in Seattle and Denver, fielded questions on CNN and local TV and even hung out with Bubba the Love Sponge Wednesday on his satellite radio show.
What kicked it off was a call from a colleague, David Bauder of the Associated Press, who knew I lead the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists. His clip on my Imus musings was published everywhere from CBS News to the San Francisco Chronicle, spawning a deluge of phone calls from other media outlets.
There's been some inaccuracies -- WTVT anchor Kathy Fountain says on her blog I called for Imus to lose his job when I very clearly said on her show that I DIDN'T agree with the NABJ's position that he should be fired -- and there was a jock in Denver who didn't let me say ten words before kicking me off his show. How's that's for an open mind?
Anyways here's the appearence on Ch. 28 anchor Brendan McLaughlin's political show Flashpoint; here's a transcript of my appearance Sunday on CNN's Reliable Sources. So far nothing on Bubba's website, except yesterday's message: "On Today's Show- 3:30 PM Eric Deggans, St Petersburg Times TV/Entertainment Reporter, Penthouse Pet: Kelle Marie."
At least I got top billing.