‘American Idol’ Finalist Reveals It Was ‘Really Difficult’ to Get a Job After the Competition

by Samantha Whidden

Although he was a top 10 finalist in season six of “American Idol,” Sanjaya Malakar admits he struggled to get a job following the singing competition. 

While speaking to Insider, the “Idol” finalist stated, “Getting a job after doing ‘American Idol’ was really difficult for me. Not because people wouldn’t hire me or anything like that, but because I had people telling me, ‘No, you can’t get a job. If you get a job, people won’t value you as much as an artist.’”

Malakar also said that it was implied to him that getting a working-class job would impact his standing in the public eye. This is due to the fact that no one wanted to see an “American Idol” finalist working at a pizza shop.

However, when he decided to try to live in New York City, the “American Idol” alum ignored the advice. He ended up working at a karaoke bar for nearly eight years. His “Idol” fame also had a lot of media event events and opportunities. He also was a contestant on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” In 2009. 

Meanwhile, Malakar explained that he tried to be careful about the opportunities he was given. He was also offered a reality-TV concept that would focus on him and his sister, Shyamali Malakar. She originally auditioned on “American Idol” with him. “I don’t want to do a reality television show where they’re following me and my sister around the house,” Malakar declared. “That’s not the kind of celebrity I want to be.”

Malakar did say that he is considering going for other reality competition shows. This includes “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Masked Singer.”

He even auditioned for “The Voice,” but didn’t make it through the round of auditions. 

Sanjaya Malakar Says He’s Done Being a ‘Punchline’ For ‘American Idol’ 

Although he loves to sing, Sanjaya Malakar said he would prefer to be known for making delicious pastries. Not of being the “punchline” for “American Idol.”

“I went back and it just felt like they were really excited for me to be able to be made of more,” Malakar said. He felt like the show played a game of “let’s see how many punchlines we can get out of him.”

Malakar stated that he tried to “roll with” the comments. But during the 20th anniversary of the show, he decided to set some ground rules. “I’m totally down. I just want to say one thing. Every time I’ve ever gone on to ‘American Idol,’ I’ve been the butt of the joke.”

Malakar added if he does come back, it would be really great if he was able to present himself as an artist. Not as a reality-television joke.