We took note of American Idol's Anoop Desai when he was one of 13 finalists. Desai slid into the bonus 13th spot in an unexpected twist in the last elimination.
He secured his place at the top with Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind," sparking the caustic Simon Cowell to quip that he went from "zero to hero."
With just a few public appearances, Desai already has fan Web sites, blogs and Facebook groups devoted to him (one of which has 15,494 members). Forums pronounce him “geeky, but hot” and “the next Indian icon.” AnoopDesai.com is subtitled "An icon is born."
Desai has crossed the ocean and garnered attention in India. From the Hindustan Times:
Abhilekh Srivastava, a medical student says that after Obama, Desai is the hot topic of discussion coming out of US. “After Sanjaya Malakar, [former American Idol winner] who couldn’t even sing, Anoop is a welcome addition to the show,” he says.”
The 22-year-old UNC Chapel Hill master’s student channeled R&B favorites Bobby Brown and Boyz to Men in front of Idol judges. According to the American Idol Web site his favorite singers are Lauryn Hill and Ne-Yo.
While Simon Cowell supported Desai’s vocal talents, he criticized his audition outfit of shorts and flip-flops. He made a remark that Desai looked “geeky”, as if he was coming from a Bill Gates interview.
Desai studies folklore at Chapel Hill. Before American Idol, Desai sang on a UNC accapella team called the Clef Hangers.