Idol exec insists Sanjaya is “not going to win”; Simon says finalists are “not a great cast”

Sanjaya Malakar will not win American Idol, executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz says in this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story. Apparently trying to bait those who think the show is rigged, she said, “It’s not gonna happen. Trust me. Eventually America gets it right. We’re not worried. We love Sanjaya, but he’s not going to win.”

In the same story, Simon Cowell admits that this group of contestants pretty much suck–and so, unbelievably, does Paula Abdul. “We’re doing as well as we are doing with not a great cast at the moment, to be honest with you,” Simon says. As for Paula, she says, “I just can’t say that they’re really good if they’re not. I just can’t anymore.”

EW’s look at the remaining eight contestants (Haley’s included, since she was eliminated after press time) reveals that Blake Lewis defied the show’s curfew of 10 p.m., and no one cared. “I went out until 1:30 a.m. I got reprimanded by singing last, which is probably the best thing that can happen.” As to the curfew, Frot-Coutaz says, “The show is not a prison. We just want to make sure they don’t get mugged or get in trouble.”

Sanjaya tells the magazine that he considers the show an apprenticeship, of sorts. “I’m turning 18 in September. So basically I see it as, this is my training to be an adult. And when I’m 18, I’ll have the training in what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

In other Sanjaya news, Hillary Clinton was asked about him, and her answer is kind of frightening: “That’s the best question I’ve been asked in a long time. Well, you know, people can vote for whomever they want. That’s true in my election, and its true on ‘American Idol.'” If you’re a presidential candidate and the best question someone asks you us about Sanjaya Malakar, that’s not a bad sign, although I’m not quite sure of what.

Elsewhere, Sanjaya’s sister Shyamali tells TV Guide that her brother is perhaps too self-assured. “He does not care what people say. He says, ‘I am confident.’ I believed Simon more [when he was criticizing me] than Sanjaya believes him [now],” she says.

Smooth Operators [Entertainment Weekly]
Clinton Weighs In On ‘American Idol’ [AP]
Sanjaya’s Sis Takes on the Hair, the Heckling and Her Brother’s American Idol Fate [TV Guide]