Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Class Act

I have been hanging around YouTube a lot nowadays. There’s a lot of amazing stuff on that site that I have come across. I had read about Sanjaya Malakar and his tryst at the American Idol show and just clicked on a link which fortuitously came my way. Apparently, apart from a couple of songs, the kid’s performance (he is 17) on the show was quite below par when compared to the other contestants.

But inexplicably, he was a hit in the US and wasn’t getting voted off.

Now this seemed to puzzle a whole lot of people in that country. I don’t think this would have been a surprise to us in India. I mean aren’t our Indian Idol and such shows infamous for partisan voting from the contestant’s states? As contestant after contestant kept getting voted out of the hit show, the jokes on Malakar kept getting louder and louder in all the talk shows across America. The judges kept getting nastier and nastier, letting him know in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t good enough to continue in the competition on the strength of his talent.

Throughout the whole tamasha, he kept smiling.

He made it a habit of appearing with a different hairdo every week. One of them, called the Ponyhawk, raised quite a stir. He became the first contestant to sing in Spanish, and even managed to make a 11 year old girl cry at one of his performances.

The jeers kept getting louder.

On YouTube, one female got quite a bit of publicity when she announced a hunger strike till Sanajaya was voted off the show. At least one video response mentioned that she could do with losing some weight. Websites professing to be a meeting place of Sanjaya Haters came up asking people not to vote for the guy. People who hated the show in the first place exhorted people to vote for Sanjaya as they proclaimed that the show would thus lose all credibility of claiming to throw up genuine singing talent. One of the judges, the famously nasty Simon Cowell declared that he would leave the show if Sanjaya became the American Idol.

Sanjaya was finally voted off the show on the Top Six episode. On his last day on the show, he sang ‘Let’s give them something to talk about- other than hair’. But that’s not the point.

All of us love a few things. Unfortunately, we can never be really good at it, leave alone the best. So we either forget about them or if we are lucky, nurture them in secret. We cloak our passions in the veneer of mediocrity in everyday life and hope that we won’t be discovered for the hopeless romantics that we are. Very few of us have the guts to embrace those things, in the full knowledge that we will be berated, humiliated and eventually defeated. And only a special few can make this arduous journey keeping one’s dignity intact as people all around you are losing theirs. It requires a philosophical and fearless attitude, a hallmark of people, one of whom was referred by Jay Leno as ‘A Real Class Act’.


Kurur said...

I am not a very keen follower of the American Idol but have been forced to watch it every week thanks to my wife. Got to admit that Sanjaya Malakar is pathetic when it comes to singing and the kid has had his luck shining through the competition. Until he was chucked out. The question is whether the American Idol or its Indian cousin are meant to be talent shows where one showcases his/her singing. One thing for sure is that race/color/ethnicity/linguistic roots influence your fortune. In the end it becomes yet another heavily rigged voting campaign which lets participants like Sanjaya thrive despite the all too obvious lack of talent.

dazedandconfused said...

Hmmm....am not a keen follower of the Idol (honest!) but I was given to understand that somebody like Malakar is an exception rather than the rule.

It may well be that the best singer might not become the Idol, but i guess that's not the objective anyway. They are looking for someone who can sell. Am OK with that actually.