Sanjaya Malakar voted out of American Idol

That which seemed increasingly unlikely yet completely probable has finally happened: Sanjaya Malakar has left American Idol 6. Ryan Seacrest said this was “the biggest top seven vote in Idol history, [with] over 38 million votes” cast, and those votes allowed editors everywhere to finally use their witty “Sayonara Sanjaya” headlines.

Somewhere, that little girl is bawling, and so was Sanjaya. Wearing a “Life is Beautiful” t-shirt, he said, “This was an amazing experience for me.” Ryan said, “Well, I can promise you, we won’t soon forget you. We’re glad you’re here this season.” Then he sang his song again, and it was ridiculously bad again.

Conveniently, his departure comes just days after the show’s executive producer promised he wouldn’t win. And of course Sanjaya would finally go home one day after I argued how he could actually win, the bastard.

Before that, a particularly bronzed-looking Ryan Seacrest first split the seven into two groups, and then pulled the same dick move he did last year with Taylor. He told Melinda, the one person he identified as safe, “I want you to look at these two groups, and I want you to pick the one that you think is also safe this week and will be back again next week,” he said, and the audience booed.

Melinda simply sat down in the middle of the stage, my new hero. As it turned out, Blake, LaKisha, and Sanjaya were the bottom three, with LaKisha receiving the second fewest number of votes.

Beyond that dramatic conclusion, the hour was a complete waste of time, including a shameless segment where the finalists visited DreamWorks to help the company whore Shrek 3. The top seven looked bored until Antonio Banderas showed up; he also was in the studio audience along with Jeffrey Katzenberg. Shortly thereafter, Ryan said “we’re short on time.” You wouldn’t be if you’d stop with all of this crap.

(Update: Several alert readers say that BJ from The Amazing Race was one of the people interviewed on the street by Seacrest during that time-wasting segment. I’ll admit I fast forwarded through that entire segment, and thought BJ was a homeless man, so I can’t confirm that.)

At the start of the show, Ryan gave Simon a chance to comment on his seemingly insensitive facial expression during last night’s show. Simon said, “And I just want to absolutely set the record straight. I didn’t hear what Chris was saying. I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I would never, ever, ever disrespect those families or those victims, and I felt that it was important to set the record straight,” he said. The producers then let us see the unedited shot of Simon talking to Paula instead of listening to Chris, and it was clear that his eye-roll had nothing to do with Chris’ poorly-timed statement because he was not paying attention to Chris or Ryan.

Apparently the judges have regular conversations among themselves because they’re as bored as we are. Now that Sanjaya is gone, what will we do?

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.