Send In the Clowns. Don't Bother, Sanjaya's Here.

Sanjaya (more
Sanjaya (more "Stayin' Alive" than "I Wanna Be Around" in that suit) gave Paula Abdul a whirl during his performance. (Taken From TV)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Panic seized "American Idol" last night as judges searched desperately for things to say about Sanjaya Malakar's performance that would not mobilize little girls and older women to get out the vote to save him.

Sanjaya, if you've missed the show to date, is the Heather Mills of "American Idol." Instead of dancing without a leg, he's singing without a vocal cord. A talent amputee.

"I don't know that I can even comment on the vocals anymore," judge Randy Jackson offered after Sanjaya mumbled his way through Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" while gliding around stage like a waiter moving carefully through a crowd, stopping briefly to flirt and dance with Paula Abdul.

"You've turned into a great entertainer," Randy said, paying tribute to Sanjaya's ever-changing hair and outfits. This week, his hair brilliantined to shine brighter than his gleaming teeth, Sanjaya is dressed like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" -- which is odd, given that it's Tony Bennett week on "Idol."

"I get why people love you -- you're charming," Abdul said. "Thank you for the dance."

"Let's try a different tactic this week . . . um, incredible!" Simon Cowell contributed.

"Welcome to the Universe of Sanjaya!" Sanjaya shrieked through his Perpetual Grin back at Simon as the crowd erupted.

And then, just as they were about to pull it off, show host Ryan Seacrest had to go and say, snidely, "You do a great job of flying under the radar, Sanjaya."

And you could just see the millions of outraged little girls turning on their cellphones to text message Number Seven.


Oh yeah, eight other Idolettes performed classics from when Tony Bennett was the king of swing.

Bennett told Blake Lewis to slow down his performance of "Mack the Knife" and pay attention to the song's story, about a "pretty sharp gangster." Lewis ignored him and rushed through the song while stroking himself and spinning in circles, which the judges have come to call his "style." Randy complimented him on his "whole cool jazz vibe"; Paula called him "a hip cat" and Simon even gave him "7 out of 10." Blake confided to Ryan he didn't get the lyrics. No kidding.

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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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