Friday, April 27, 2007

American Idol's Sanjaya ..... Explained .....

I originally published this post at the beginning of April on the American Idol website earlier this month while Sanjaya was still in the running. I think it still applies. So, once again for your dining and dancing pleasure .....


Who remembers these individuals?

... Rudolph Valentino ... Mickey Rooney ... Rudy Vallee ... Frank Sinatra ... Marlon Brando ... Elvis Presley ... Ritchie Valens ... Frankie Avalon ...

You do? Great.

Now ... what do they have in common with the individuals below?

... Ricky Nelson ... Micky Dolenz ... Fabian ... David Cassidy ... Shaun Cassidy ... Bobby Sherman ...

Need more clues? Sure. There're plenty where those came from .....

... Leif Garrett ... Mike Lookinland ... Davey Jones ... Willie Aames ... Scott Baio ... Paula Abdul ... Johnny Depp ... Michael Jackson ... Michael J. Fox ... River Phoenix ... John Stamos ... Molly Ringwald ... Lance Bass ... Christian Slater ... Marky Mark ... Zac Efron ... Corbin Bleu ...

Recognize them? That's right ... each and every one was - or currently is - a teen idol. Ready to add another one to the list? Are you sure? I mean ... are ... you ... REALLY ... sure ... ???

Okay ... here goes:

Sanjaya Malakar

Yup. Sanjaya. The amazing, incomprehensible, cryptic, incredible, head-scratchin', voice-forlorned Idol contestant beloved by many, hated by tons.

Folks .... Sanjaya Malakar is a Teen Idol.

You can run ... you can hide ... you can deny ... you can close your eyes, cover your ears and scream 'la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la' like a little kid throwing a tantrum.

But the fact remains: Sanjaya Malakar is a Teen Idol.

You want proof? He's plastered all over town. He's spoken about at the water cooler. He's blogged about. He's vilified. He's on your big screen. He's recorded. He's made fun of. He's got websites devoted to him - good, bad and indifferent. He's on the bumper sticker on the car in front of you while you wait at the stop sign. See that lunch box over there that kid's carrying? See how he's customized it with Sanjaya's smiling face? 'Entertainment Tonight' is giving him another 15 seconds? Really ... ?!?

Come on ... tell me you haven't thought about making a ton of dough with your own version of a Sanjaya 'Faux Hawk' wig you could put up for sale on eBay.

Bottom Line: He's everywhere. Everywhere. E h v - R e e - W e a r .....

So ... now that we have that fact out in the open and out of the way (I know you're doing your best to deny, deny, deny, but that's okay. Denial is a natural reaction in cases like this .....), let's look at the people voting for Sanjaya. There are six distinctive groups .....

The True Fans ..... No matter what, this group has made a connection with their favorite and they are going to stick by that contestant through thick and thin. Vote, vote, vote ... that's what they do. They're almost rabid, but at least they have a sensibility about themselves.

The Bubble Gum Contingent / The Fanatics ..... Yup. These're the (mostly) girls that read 'Tiger Beat' ... oogle over the photos in 'People' ... swoon at the sight of their favorite radio and television personality ... 'must acquire that Sanjaya memorabilia at whatever cost'. They're rabid, unyielding and you'd better stay out of their way or you'll get trampled. Trust me.

The Underdog Factor ..... It's there. No doubt about it. There is a group of people (and they don't even realize they're in the group and don't care) who simply like to root for the underdog. Like it or not, their votes count, their voices are heard. They're similar to True Fans, but they just like to see the tortoise win rather than the hare.

The Subversive Throngs ..... This crowd is an interesting one. They nay say. They criticize. They complain. They chide. Yet ... they still vote for the contestant that they despise the most, just to 'get the better of the show' ..... or so they think. You see, the reality of the situation is, while they have a voice, they aren't that strong. They puff out their chests and walk around thinking they do, trying to convince every soul they meet that their opinion is the one that counts .... but, in fact, they're just a bunch of bonehead that don't do anything. Some of them vote, but not enough of them to make a difference. They just like you to think they're making a difference. A vocal lot to be sure, but they're really transparent. These are the folks that listen to Howard Stern ... who haunt the 'Bloat More Than Hearse' website (yes, that was a play on words) ... the people that voted for William Hung, etc.

The 'Don't Give A' Rippers ..... As the name implies, this bunch just doesn't give a rip. They say "You know ... I'm gonna vote, but I just don't give a flying squirrel's worth of thought as to who I'm going to vote for. Hmmmmmm. Might was well be Sanjaya ....." And yes, the Rippers' votes contribute in the overall scheme of things ... you bet.

The Craptastics ..... The collection of people making up this band are all of this mind: They can't believe their eyes at what they just saw. They can't believe it keeps going on week after week after week. They can't believe it period. 'So .... how long can Sanjaya go on? Hey! Let's vote for him and see!' This is a weird, faithless bunch and they're similar to the Rippers, but they have a bit more in the mental department than the Subversives who live in their own little weird world. But just barely.

All these groups make up the Idol voting population. Those that don't vote at all aren't in any of the groups above; since they don't vote, it doesn't make any difference where they stand. But those that DO vote, they're up there somewhere in one of those groups.

But wait ... there's more! The thing that started it all! American Idol itself! AI was the thing that got this whole ball rolling. It did it's best to draw you in hook, line and sinker ... and there you are: Complaining on the blogs ... making signs ... tuning in each week ... "Did you hear?"-ing to your coworkers ... sending Sanjaya jokes in those e-mails to your cousin ... making plans for Tuesday night. "Hey! Let's throw an Idol potluck party, invite the whole neighborhood and see what happens tonight!"

So ..... What does all this mean? Between the realization that Sanjaya is indeed a Teen Idol and the groups and the show and the competition and the performances and the voting and the in-your-face, wherever you go saturation?

Well ... that's what's called 'The Sanjaya Effect'. It's everywhere. It's all around us. It's relentless. It's all-encompassing. It's Sanjaya, explained. It's strange, yet it exists. He's still on, right? That's proof of The Sanjaya Effect.

As a matter of fact, it probably slapped you in the face all by its lonesome courtesy of last Tuesday evening's show. Do you remember? You witnessed it shortly after Sanjaya's performance, directly after Simon Cowell offered: "Let's try a different tact: Incredible."

Do you recall his bold comment back to Simon, proof that Sanjaya really gets it? Proof The Sanjaya Effect isn't a figment of our imagination, that it really and truly exists? He said:

"Welcome To The Universe Of Sanjaya!"

I Like Sanjaya ..... Just Because ...................... Ruprecht ( STOP )