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'American Idol 6' finalist Sanjaya Malakar to attend White House dinner

By Christopher Rocchio, 04/20/2007 

After being dragged through the mud by both viewers and critics during his participation in the Fox reality competition, it looks like newly ousted sixth season American Idol finalist Sanjaya Malakar is finally receiving the presidential treatment.

The 17-year-old Federal Way, WA native will attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on Saturday, April 21 at the Washington Hilton as a guest of People, the magazine reported Thursday on its website.  Malakar -- who will attend the dinner with his mom -- was asked to join People's delegation to the dinner "within hours of his boot" from Idol on Wednesday night, The Washington Post reported Friday.

It's fitting that Malakar would be invited to the dinner.  During his Idol run, current New York senator and 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was asked "what the United States can do about Sanjaya Malakar" while appearing on a New Hampshire radio station last week.

"That's the best question I've been asked in a long time," Clinton answered, according to The Associated Press. "Well, you know, people can vote for whomever they want. That's true in my election, and its true on American Idol."

Upon being eliminated, Malakar was asked what it was like to have his name bantered about by presidential candidates.

"It's really interesting because... I had no idea really how much impact this show had," Malakar told reporters during a Thursday conference call.  "I think it's really interesting that someone like me, a 17-year-old Seattle boy, could have so much impact as to get into the presidential debate."

At the dinner Malakar will join People's other guests -- including Project Runway fashion guru Tim Gunn, whom Malakar's critics no doubt hope will offer the young crooner some style advice.

(Photo credit Fox)

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