With each new season of American Idol, there comes a plethora of contestants trying to take home the coveted prize while simultaneously launching their music careers. At the same time stars are born, there is a massive group of people who soon return home to often wonder about the mistakes made and what they might have done better. Once voted into the top 10, season 6 contestant Sanjaya Malakar recalled the comments he received about his sexuality while competing on the show. Not only stressed from the constant criticism from Simon Cowell, Malakar discussed the pressure surrounding fans who claimed he was secretly gay.
Speaking on The Adam Sank Show podcast about his time on American Idol, Sanjaya Malakar, who was 17 at the time of competing, said he was in a serious relationship. “I was exploring my life as a child, and then American Idol happened, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, he’s gay.’ And I was like, ‘OK, well now I have to say no, because at this point they’re forcing me to make a decision and define myself.'”
Sanjaya Malakar Discusses The Stress Of American Idol
Sadly, the constant jokes hurled toward Sanjaya Malakar happened even before American Idol. “At that time, that was a big thing as well, ’cause I grew up in a time when being called a f—-t in school was the worst thing that could ever happen to you. You had to be as hyper-masculine as possible to fit in, and coming up in 2007, it was like, ‘Being gay is OK, but you have to define yourself, and there’s this or that.'”
The process to explore his own sexuality became even harder due to the American Idol team. Sanjaya Malakar admitted, “All of my publicists were like, ‘Oh, just tell everyone you’re single. Be ambiguous. No one needs to know anything about anything because you don’t want to lose your fans,'” he said on the podcast. “And I’m like, ‘OK, but why am I manipulating what I know of myself to figure out what kind of fans I’m going to get because I’m still trying to discover who I am?'”
As for now, the 32-year-old declared, “I identify as bisexual. At the time [that I was on American Idol], I did not know, which was why it was so weird for me.” He added, “I always got along with theater kids. I always got along with gay kids and girls, so I was like, ‘OK, these are my people. But I don’t know. Everyone keeps telling me that I am gay, and I’m like, 7. I don’t even have any attraction to anyone, so why are you telling me this?”
Although comfortable with his sexuality as an adult, Sanjaya Malakar is currently single but noted, “it’s complicated”.