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''American Idol'': Can Sanjaya be stopped?

On ”American Idol,” curly-haired Chris Sligh goes home after failing his Police exam, but Sanjaya and his magic hair live to torture us another week

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American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

”American Idol”: Can Sanjaya be stopped?

Apparently, entry into the American Idol top 12 should come with a warning label: May cause shortness of breath, loss of rhythm, and general deterioration of charm and charisma. Because that’s certainly what seemed to have happened to Chris Sligh on his journey from pre-semifinal front-runner to eventual 10th-place finisher: a kite-without-a-breeze nosedive that ended with his ouster from the competition tonight.

Was it that Chris S. couldn’t handle the pressure of Idol‘s big stage? I mean, at no point during his last three performances — ”Endless Love,” ”She’s Not There,” and ”Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – did he exhibit the vocal oomph of his audition to Seal’s ”Kiss From a Rose” or even his Hollywood-week quartet of ”How Deep Is Your Love” (with Blake Lewis, Rudy Cardenas, and Thomas Lowe). And the curly-haired dude’s trademark humor began to fail him, too, particularly that lame remark on Tuesday about spending his free time crocheting, knitting, and playing the bongo drums in his boxer shorts.

Perhaps it was Chris’ revelation about his skivvies that cost him America’s votes. Don’t forget: Last year’s mortal lock for the final two, Chris Daughtry, disclosed his penchant for boxer briefs on Elvis night and was eliminated the next day. Conspiracy theorists, discuss!

The demise of Mr. Sligh — loved how Ryan attempted to console him by naming him ”one of the most clever contestants we’ve ever had!” Along with who? Matt Rogers? — means America will get another week to listen to the musical stylings of Haley Scarnato, or at least hit the ”mute” button and inspect her gams. Okay, that was kind of mean. Honest, but mean. And anyhow, even though I predicted Haley would be going home tonight, I did also credit her lilting ”True Colors” as a stronger performance than Sligh’s criminally negligent Police cover. So justice is served!

Alas, the same cannot be said for deftly paced television. The pre-commercial-break pairing of Chris S. and Gina Glocksen as the final two candidates for the bottom three robbed this episode of any kind of suspense. Come on! As if we’re going to believe that Gina, who’s never been in the bottom three, is going to end up there after giving the strongest performance of her entire Idol run? Worse still, before Ryan sent Phil Stacey (tonight’s other bottom-three player) back to the safety of the couch, he cruelly faked out Haley, which would’ve read as totally sadistic if he’d looked her in the eyes a few moments later and said, ”Your journey ends tonight.” So, yeah, it was clear Chris S. was doomed.

At least Paula and Randy provided some unintentional comedy after Ryan asked the judges to predict whether it would be Haley or Chris S. who would walk the plank. Shall we rewind?

Randy: ”I don’t know, man. It’s a really tough call at this point, Ry. I don’t know, dawg. It’s a hard call. I don’t know.”

Um, Paula, you wanna take a stab at that? ”Never a fun time. Never a fun time. I think you both deserve really great warmth from the crowd.” Like, with heating pads?

Simon? Can you clear this up? ”I think it’s bye-bye, Curly.”

Now tell me the Brit shouldn’t make five times as much as Randy and Paula combined. That said, just as Simon was speechless when it came time to describe Sanjaya Malakar’s No Doubt cover last night, I also need a break from coming up with new and creative ways to describe his crimes against music and good taste. (Gotta shore up my internal thesaurus for next week’s show, which I am predicting will be Sanjaya’s last.) So with that in mind, I pass the mike to you, dear readers.

The funniest and most concise review on our message board comes from Idol Hands: ”Sanjaya — toss baby out with ‘Bathwater.’ ” But Deb2125’s critique isn’t far behind: ”Sanjaya should take up all 3 of the places in the bottom 3 — his hair, his rail-thin body and his horrible frail voice.” And then there’s Missy, who shared this tidbit with other TV Watch readers: ”Let’s just say I now know what hairdo to use to pull off my Sanjaya Halloween costume later this year.”

What did you think of tonight’s results show? Were any of you as unamused as me by Ryan’s fauxhawk wig? On the flip side, doesn’t Wild West-cop drag really work for LaKisha? No, seriously! What was that weird falsetto noise Chris Richardson made when Ryan declared Melinda was safe? And if Gwen Stefani’s performance tonight had been an Idol audition, would she have made it to Hollywood? Holla back, folks, and be sure to reward relentless plugging for my webcasts by visiting the official Idolatry homepage. Jessica Shaw and I will be discussing the Sanjaya crisis on our next episode, airing Friday afternoon on EW.com!

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