So much for the
Indian Call Center Theory: Undertalented singer Sanjaya
Malakar's unlikely wave of American Idol
support apparently isn't coming from his father's homeland.
usually attuned to the successes of their compatriots
abroad. But apart from a few brief newspaper articles,
at least one short TV news segment, and a few blog
mentions, the reedy 17-year-old with the unsteady
voice is a virtual unknown here.
One reason is
that the show is broadcast a day late in India and on an
English-language channel that attracts relatively few
viewers in this country of 1.1 billion.
''He's also an
object of ridicule,'' said Amit Varma, who runs the
popular India Uncut blog.
with viewers, who vote by phone or text message for
their favorite performers, has come despite withering
criticism from the three Idol judges on News
Corp.'s hit Fox network show. The irascible Simon
Cowell has even threatened to quit if the native of
Federal Way, Wash., wins the contest.
elimination Wednesday night to make it to the final
eight. If he can hold on for a few more weeks, he might see
his fame spread here, Varma said.
''Even if the
guy's really an American, it will be projected by the media
here as an Indian doing well in the world,'' he said.
''They'll make a big deal about it.''
As for the theory
that Indian call center operators are phoning in votes
for Malakar: Most workers have calls automatically dialed
for them by computers. They couldn't even call next
door if they wanted to. (AP)