Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic Sanjaya Malakar
Old one american idol Finalist Sanjaya Malakar is opening up about his sexuality and viewers’ perception of him during his time in Season 6.
In a new interview in Adam’s show sank podcast, Malakar shared life updates, reflected on his experience competing in american idol and spoke about the pressure surrounding her sexual identity.
The 32-year-old Seattle native artist auditioned for american idol in 2006 alongside her sister Shyamali, who was eliminated during Hollywood Week – while Malakar advanced to the top 40 contestants of the season. Despite fans voting him in the top 10, Malakar’s vocal performances, then 17, were notably criticized as “utterly horrendous” by judge Simon Cowell.
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Between his vocal skills, the harsh criticism, and the unique hybrid ponytail and mohawk hairstyle he wore on the show, Malakar became the butt of jokes from many viewers and comedians at the time. Additionally, the contestant’s sexuality became a topic of debate among viewers, many of whom assumed Malakar was gay and hiding his identity.
Speaking with host Adam Sank, Malakar clarified everything. “I identify as bisexual,” said the former musician, who now works as a pastry chef and bartender. “At the time [that I was on American Idol]I didn’t know, that’s why it was so weird for me.”
He explained that growing up, he was “raised by women” and participated in theater. “I had a hard time figuring out how to interact with boys because my dad is from India and grew up in a temple, so there was never any kind of ‘This is what you look like as a boy,'” Malakar said on the DNR Studios podcast. . “And so my mom is a Type A personality, Italian-American woman, and [so are] your sisters and my sisters and all that, so growing up I was already the awkward theater kid.”
“I’ve always gotten along with theater kids. I’ve always gotten along with gay boys and girls, so I was like, ‘OK, these are my people,'” he added. “But I don’t know. Everyone keeps telling me I’m gay, and I’m like, 7. I’m not even attracted to anyone, so why are you telling me that?”
Steve Granitz/WireImage Sanjaya Malakar
When competing in american idolMalakar said he was in a serious relationship with a longtime girlfriend: “I was exploring my life as a kid, 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 right now they’re forcing me to make a decision and define myself’.”
He recalled, “Back then, that was also a big thing, because I grew up in a time when being called a f—–t in school was the worst thing that could happen to you. You had to be the most hyper-masculine as possible to fit in, and coming into 2007, it was like, ‘Being gay is OK, but you have to define yourself, and there’s this or that.'”
The team around Malakar during his american idol period did not help in the process of discovering his sexuality. “All my publicists were like, ‘Oh, tell everyone you’re single. Be ambiguous. Nobody 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 about myself to figure out what kind of fans I’m going to get because I’m still trying to figure out who I am?'”
Malakar feels comfortable and confident in his sexuality today, although he hasn’t come out to his parents. “For me, at this point I don’t really care what people know about my sexuality, and if I had a serious long-term relationship with a guy, I would bring him into my family, and they’d be like, ‘Oh cool. .'”
“My family is not the type of person I really need to formally come out to,” he continued, noting that it can be difficult to bring a woman home after expressing that she also likes men. “Some of my cousins are also bi and they brought gay partners home and then came and married someone else. It becomes a big deal, and it’s not.”
He continued, “Unless it’s something serious, it’s really none of their business. I’m not trying to f— any of them. I’ll go out to people if it’s a situation like this, but if I’m not trying—you don’t It doesn’t matter. You’ll know if I do this.
On the subject of his current relationship status, Malakar recalled telling Sank during the pre-interview that he was seeing someone — but on the show, he rescinded the statement.
“So actually, on the day of our pre-interview, I had just returned from my best friend’s wedding the night before and reconnected with someone I’d known for a long time who seemed interesting – and then I flipped my car twice. and a half,” said Malakar, who was not injured in the accident. “So I’m not sure if this is a sign to slow down. I don’t know. Yes, I’m single, but it’s complicated all the time.”
Malakar also said that his highly publicized time in american idol didn’t exactly help his success in the bedroom.
“It’s a detriment because I like the thrill of a chase and I don’t like feeling like someone is fucking me because [of American Idol]. I’m also a bartender, so I don’t like to fuck someone who wants to fuck me because I’m a bartender.”