Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | sanjaya
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I don't watch "American Idol" ("Dancing with the Stars" is enough reality TV for me), but I've been mildly curious about this 17-year-old kid, Sanjaya Malakar, who managed to squeak through week after week of elimination on "AI" with his breathy singing voice, toothy grin and bizarre variety of hairstyles. Well, he finally got voted off the show last week, but over the weekend he got a consolation prize as a guest at the annual White House Press Correspondents' Dinner, a big deal in DC. Malakar interested me because he's Asian American; his parents immigrated from India, and he identifies himself as an Indian American, hoping to be the "next" Indian pop star in the U.S. (was there a previous Indian pop star in the U.S.?). Unfortunately, Indians don't seem to share his enthusiasm for Sanjaya. The Indian media seemed relieved when he lost last week. One South Asian I know pointed out that the name "Sanjaya" went against Indian convention because ending a name with "a" is a female signifier, and though his name should be "Sanjay."