Monday April 2, 2007
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images (right) Carmen Valdes / Photo Image Press (left)
Howard Stern - no, not Anna Nicole’s lawyer/lover, the other one – has earned his reputation as a “shock jock” tenfold, and now he’s taking his power and influence to the airwaves to target his newest victim - American Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar.
One would never have thought the crude gabber would have taken such a liking to reality TV, but, as his on-air commentary in recent weeks explains, Stern’s quest to crown Malakar the newest Idol is much more than a passing fad.
“We’re corrupting the entire thing,” the host told listeners during his March 29 morning broadcast. “All of us are [ruining] American Idol. It’s so great. The No. 1 show in television and it’s getting ruined.”
Any casual Idol viewer would be able to determine that the 17-year-old Washington teen – who has become known more for his coifs rather than his crooning– is not the best performer, but that is no matter to Stern and his followers.
The unlikely Idol fan hopped on the Malakar bandwagon after the Web site VoteFortheWorst.com began soliciting votes for the teen, simply because, as the site’s founder, Dave Della Terza tells the New York Times “we want to keep the guy around we think is funny and corny.
“Everyone tries to say we’re crushing dreams with what we’re doing, but we’re trying to help Sanjaya’s dreams,” Della Tarza said. “He wants to be the American Idol too.”
However, while Della Tarza and Stern’s mobilization efforts are admirable, it can be surmised that this season’s stronger performers are suffering from the jockeying of votes. In any event, Stern remains steadfast in his Sanjaya support, saying very little about the other Idol contenders.
While the weekly voting results breakdown is not revealed, Team Idol holds fast to the notion that such voting practices have little to no overall affect on the elimination outcome. “With 30 million votes every week, and hundreds of votes over the season, the power of true fans of American Idol dwarfs any attempt of people trying to gain notoriety,” Fox representatives said in a statement. “Despite the press coverage, these campaigns don’t affect who moves forward in the competition.”
America will not learn the identity of music’s newest superstar, but for those fair-weather fans like Stern, one thing is clear: Sanjaya is their American Idol – at least for now. “Let me tell you something,” Stern said during a recent broadcast. “Without Sanjaya, I don’t think I’m watching American Idol.”
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