NEW YORK: The questionably gifted but clearly popular Sanjaya Malakar easily survived another elimination on the hit show “American Idol” on 11 April after a performance even irascible judge Simon Cowell conceded “wasn’t horrible.”
Fans instead chose Haley Scarnato, from San Antonio, to go home when she scored the fewest votes among viewers of the nationally televised talent contest. Host Ryan Seacrest said the more than 35 million votes cast represented the season’s highest tally.
“Haley heads home tonight on ‘American Idol,” said Seacrest, announcing the result on the live broadcast.
The 24-year-old Scarnato, who sang “Turn the Beat Around” on 10 April’s programme, had been snarkily advised by Cowell to wear as little clothing as possible, presumably to distract from her less-than stellar vocal abilities.
But Malakar, who has emerged as the show’s star, particularly since radio host Howard Stern exhorted his listeners to vote for the 17-year-old whose wacky hairdos on the show have been as inconsistent as his performances, was again not among the bottom three.
His rendition of “Besame Mucho” on the Latin-themed edition that included a guest appearance by superstar Jennifer Lopez was among his best-received in recent weeks. The judges opined his singing was “really good,” smart and smooth, with Cowell saying it pained him to concede the Washington resident’s crooning “wasn’t horrible.”
American Idol’s music director has said he thinks Malakar could well win the whole thing.
“I think he could win the show,” Ricky Minor told the New York Post this week. “People are pulling for him. ... I can tell you he can sing,” Minor said, adding “This isn’t a singing competition alone. ... He’s a handsome guy, and is really likable. People are pulling for him.”
This week’s other two bottom-scoring finalists included Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey, but both survived to become one of the final seven of the competition.