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Sanjaya Malakar

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He may not have won the title, but Sanjaya Malakar is the most talked-about American Idol contestants in the show's history - not necessarily for his singing abilities, but his ever-changing hair styles. Sanjaya was born on September 10, 1989 in the Seattle Washington suburb of Federal Way. As a child, he spent time in California and Hawaii, where he performed with the Hawaii Children's Theater group. His family returned to Seattle when he was in junior high and while there, he spent three years with the Total Experience Gospel Choir. A bright student, he took and passed his GED exam at the end of his sophomore year of highs school and went off to pursue his singing career. He and his sister Shyamali auditioned for the sixth season of American Idol in September of 2006 in Seattle. His rendition of Stevie Wonder's 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)' wowed the judges and he and his sister moved on, with Shyamali getting cut during the Hollywood round. Sanjaya moved on to the top 12 and became an audience favorite - most famously bringing tears to the eyes of an 13-year-old fan. Although his singing was less than remarkable, his wide array of hair styles kept audiences fascinated, including a pony-tailed faux-hawk, a slicked back 'do and bandana-held curls. He polarized the judges - Simon Cowell vowed to leave the show if he were crowned the season's victor, but the audience eventually recognized Sanjaya's somewhat weak pipes - during a poorly-received performance of Bonnie Raitt's 'Something to Talk About' and voted him off in week six of the competition. After Idol wrapped, he embarked on the 50 city American Idol tour and made guest appearances on a variety of talk shows. He's been parodied on Saturday Night Live and Meet the Spartans and is pretty much guaranteed a page in pop culture history. Sanjaya aspires to be a model, actor and singer, and even though his fifteen minutes should be up, with his unexplainable appeal, we most likely haven't seen the last of Sanjaya.

Sanjaya Malakar

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