Pop Culture

Why is Sanjaya still singing on ‘American Idol’?

He might have belted out the words "Ain't no mountain high enough/Ain't no valley low enough," but frankly there just ain't no reason good enough to keep Sanjaya Malakar on "American Idol."

So why is this 17-year-old still standing?

"Access Hollywood" investigates the many possible causes keeping Sanjaya's "Idol" dream alive.

"I think people have seen my voice but not necessarily the potential it could be," Sanjaya told Access at the Top 12 party. "I think I have a certain charm."

Charm? Hair? Pity? Or even an anti-Idol' plot?

There are so many possibilities why "So-So" Sanjaya is still in the running. But why?

"Um, is it the hair?" host Ryan Seacrest joked with "Access."

Well, let's ask the man behind the locks — "American Idol" stylist Dean Banowetz.

"He's 17. I think he's got a lot of gumption for just doing what he wants to do," Dean noted. "He wants the Farrah flip. And then he also wants the straight sleek, sexy hair. And then he did say he wanted his hair curled."

No matter what style he chooses, it always ends up being the scene stealer, and typically the focus of the judge's comments.

"Hair 'Idol'! You got it jumping off!" Randy Jackson barked.

And while folks may not envy his vocals, his hair is another story.

"I have many, many women calling me wanting Sanjaya's curls," Dean added.

Straight, curly or puffy — the girls go wild for Sanjaya. Want proof? Just check out the many fan sites chock-full of girls who ask each other, "Do you daydream about Sanjaya?"

Is it because he's the worst?

Booted "Idol" Brandon Rogers may have had the better voice … so how could Sanjaya have gotten more votes?

"How in the world did you get booted and Sanjaya's still there?" "Access' " Billy Bush asked Brandon when he visited our stage.

"The nature of the competition is America is going to vote for who they want to vote for," Brandon said.

Could a Web site be keeping Sanjaya alive?

On VoteForTheWorst.com, they urge their 2 to 3 million visitors to vote for the contestant who should lose under normal circumstances, which irks "Idol" producers and judges.

"We're oftentimes the thing that puts somebody over the edge to stay," VoteForTheWorst founding member Patrick Wells told "Access."

Among their millions of visitors — the King of All Media.

"I've joined, and I am definitely voting for the worst tonight," Howard Stern revealed.

"Any time you can get somebody who has a big following talking about you, it makes a big difference," Wells added.

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