Good riddance, Sanjaya. Indians seemed relieved to see oddball star Sanjaya Malakar, whose father hails from India, exit the "American Idol" stage after a long and unlikely run.
While Malakar's goofy hairstyles and lackluster singing captivated millions of Americans, his quirky appeal never resonated among Indians. Though the end of his run Wednesday was front-page news, his exit was not mourned.
"Sanjaya is voted off American Idol -- he's the only one weeping," read a front-page headline in The Indian Express, above a photo of his famous "ponyhawk" hairdo.
"Finally, Sanjaya sings his way out of 'Idol,' read a Times of India headline.
Indians never connected with Malakar, said Poonam Saxena, television critic for The Hindustan Times.
"He'll be forgotten I'm sure, unless he does something else big. Why would anyone remember him?" she said, dismissing the 17 year-old as "a spunky kid."
Perhaps Malakar's failure to break out in India can be attributed in part to the broadcast schedule. News Corp.'s Fox network show is seen a day late here, and on Star World TV, an English-language channel that attracts relatively few viewers in this country of 1.1 billion.
"We have all our own music competitions, like 'Indian Idol' and many other shows," Saxena said. "On those, the kids sing the songs that the whole country knows by heart. The songs on Star World, no one has ever heard of 90 percent of them, so there's no connection at all."
Despite the skepticism, Malakar nominated himself as the next face, and voice, of Indian pop culture.
"It's time for an Indian musician to come to the scene and I'd like to be that person," The Times of India quoted him as saying.
"Good luck," Saxena said.