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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 6

Ex-'Idol 6' finalist Sanjaya Malakar gets cold shoulder from hometown

By Christopher Rocchio, 05/02/2007 

Sanjaya Malakar was the talk of Tinsletown, the Big Apple and everywhere in-between during his run as a finalist on American Idol's sixth season.  But his hometown of Federal Way, WA won't be erecting a statue of the 17-year-old anytime soon.

"Federal Way has more important things to deal with, and unless a council member tried to push through a proclamation, then that Idol wannabe should not expect a similar honor," Town Manager Neal Beets told a local television station prior to Malakar's Idol elimination, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

A "city hall source" from Federal Way told the Post that suggestions for a day honoring Malakar "came from people on the East Coast" and added the city is hesitant to do anything that would cost its taxpayers. 

"Maybe if [the fans] had gone to the chamber of commerce it would be a different story," the source told the Post.

Even if locals did want to honor Malakar for his creative coifs and less-than-sparkling singing abilities it would be a first, as Federal Way Mayor Mike Park said the city has never honored anyone with their own "special day" in its 17-year history.  Park's not even sure how close of a connection Malakar and his kin have to Federal Way to begin with.

"It's not as if they have deep roots in the community," Park told the Post.

The roots may not have been deep, but they existed -- most notably growing from the 300-plus marijuana plants Malakar's mom Jillian Blith and his stepfather Charles Quist were both busted for growing in the family's Federal Way garage in February 2005.  While Malakar attended area schools before he dropped-out during his sophomore year of high school after passing the GED exam, he's reportedly also called California and Hawaii home throughout his young life.  Still, some Federal Way residents aren't as quick as Park and Beets to dismiss festivities centered on the former Idol 6 finalist.

"I would love to do something," Tiffany Archibald, the director of marketing of a mall near Malakar's home, told a local paper according to the Post.  "I just can't find him."

After doing the regular press tour following his elimination -- and then some -- Malakar has apparently retreated out of the spotlight for the time being. When he'll emerge is still anyone's guess, but "fanjayas" need not worry, as he'll at least be a member of this summer's Idol 6 tour.

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