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Close shave for Idol's Anoop Desai

Arthur J Pais | April 02, 2009 11:15 IST

Anoop Desai (Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
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Anoop Desai, popularly known as Anoop Dawg, was in the doghouse for about 10 suspenseful minutes on Wednesday evening on the American Idol show. The 21-year-old was among the bottom three, who had received the least number of the 36 millions cast after the Tuesday evening performance.

Even Anoop confessed, before the announcement of his status on Wednesday evening, that he had expected to be in the bottom three after reviewing his performance.

The contestants were asked to choose from the most popular downloaded songs on iTunes, giving them quite a choice.

The judges had not been too impressed with Anoop's performance on Tuesday night. Simon Cowell, the toughest of the four judges had said that Anoop's take on Usher's Caught Up gave him a headache. It also gave the impression of 'a college boy trying to be a pop star and failing.' But Paula Abdul, the softest of the four judges, declared Anoop's vocals 'sounded really good on this song.'

'It's a train wreck from the start, vocals are lame, he's totally not believable,' Newsday wrote of his performance. 'It's like a little kid dressing up and throwing poses in front of a mirror.'

Kara DioGuardi said he had just tried to copy Usher, 'like a bunch of frat guys dared you to get up and sing Usher.'
Anoop took the criticism without getting worked up and declared he was keen on that song because he wants to be an R&B artist.

On the Internet there were many entries criticising as well as prasing Anoop.

'Anoop has a nerve doing an Usher song, ha ha, Anoop will never be a star,' wrote one viewer. 'He doesn't have the look or moves, he will go next'.

But the voters, who began making their choice after the performance and after the judges had let their feelings out, did not give Anoop the least number of votes. (The competition organisers do not reveal the number of votes each candidates get).

Now Anoop is among the 8 remaining contestants. All the 10 finalists -- never mind at what stage they are 'sent home' -- will go on a national tour in the summer before thousands of fans in major cities.

The second person of Indian origin to be in the top 10 in the enormously popular competition, Anoop might sail into the top five, unlike Sanjaya Malakar who was knocked off at number seven.

Meanwhile, Anoop will be undergoing yet another grilling week -- getting a haircut, a new wardrobe, rehearsing and recording the group song that is televised at the beginning of the show, and keeping his mind and soul focused on the prize.

Next week the contestants will be performing songs from the year in which they were born.     

Anoop's family members say that he is not distracted by the criticism and takes each week and each new challenge in his stride.

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