‘Vote for the worst’ American Idol

Alexandra Capotorto

Season 6 of “American Idol” has been one of the most controversial seasons in the show’s history. Ratings revealed that the first two weeks of auditions were the worst in “American Idol” history, thanks to the thousands of tone-deaf people who thought they could become the next American Idol.

“American Idol” controversy has been the topic of conversation in the media for weeks now. One, because of contestant Antonella Barba’s racy pictures that were leaked online, and two, probably the most controversial of all, contestant Sanjaya Malakar’s inability to be voted off.

Malakar, of Seattle, has gotten less than rave reviews from viewers, and even Idol judge Simon Cowell was quoted as saying: “He’s not going to win. I won’t be back if he does!” Though Malakar impressed judges during auditions, his performances since have gotten worse and worse, but still, he continues to avoid elimination.

Quinnipiac computer science professor Jill McKeon, a fan of “American Idol,” said: “Sanjaya is a perfect example of a contestant [who] should have never even made it past Hollywood. He has proven to be less of a talent than several of the contestants that have already been bounced.”

The reason Malakar seems to be sticking around may be that a Web site, votefortheworst.com, encourages viewers to vote for the worst in order to try and sabotage the show. This season, Vote for the Worst has chosen Malakar. According to the Web site, it “was started in 2004 to support voting for the entertaining contestants who the producers would hate to see win on ‘American Idol.’ Why do we do it? During the initial auditions, the producers of ‘Idol’ only let certain people through. Many good people are turned away and many bad singers are kept around to see Simon, Paula and Randy so that America will be entertained.”

The Web site believes that “American Idol” has steered away from being a singing competition to find the next big star, to becoming a cheesy reality show about bad singing. VFTW, as it’s commonly known, sees “keeping these contestants around as a golden opportunity to make a funnier show.”

“I think it’s funny, actually. I kind of understand where the site’s coming from – about how the show has turned into kind of a joke,” sophomore Christina Tafuri said.

McKeon echoes this opinion. “‘American Idol’ appears to be losing some of its luster. I think the site is a reflection of the shift away from the audience cooperating with the show and instead registering their boredom. I definitely see the humor in it, however,” she said.

A famous fan of this site is radio disk jockey Howard Stern, who’s known for his antics on the air. He recently announced that he was a fan of the Web site and tries to encourage his listeners to vote for Malakar. Stern regular Jeff the Drunk has admitted to voting for Malakar almost 300 times.

Will the worst Idol win? We’ll just have to wait and see; the Season 6 finale of “American Idol” will air May 23, 2007.