The Feel-Good Departure of Anoop Desai

Anoop Desai got about as far as he possibly could have this season on American Idol, and there is no shame in that. The confident, smooth-voiced kid from Chapel Hill became a fan favorite early on in the season, probably thanks to his self-appointed nickname "Noop Dog." His elimination is a rare one on American Idol - it's not an upset, and it's not necessarily one the fans were clamoring for. For all I could tell, Anoop was universally liked, though it was collectively agreed upon by fans that he simply wasn't good enough to win this season of American Idol. While you could interpret the reaction to Anoop's dismissal from American Idol as indifferent, I don't believe that's what it is. I think, in a weird way, we're proud of him. He performed well this season. Anoop found his niche, executed about as well as could be reasonably expected, and gave no reason to invite the scorn of the masses, which is a rare feat for any American Idol contestant.

We probably won't be seeing much of Anoop Desai in the music industry going forward. I can't claim to know his goals and dreams, but he has no reason to toil away futilely in the demoralizing world of professional music. He can makes his money elsewhere - Anoop may be the most intelligent American Idol finalist we've ever had. Out of high school, Anoop received a four-year scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina, where he graduated with a double major in Political Science and American Studies. He is currently enrolled as a graduate student at UNC, studying American Folklore.

I hope Anoop forgoes the typical path of an middling American Idol finalist and focuses on academics. His family appears well-off, and, frankly, his potential as a commercial pop artist isn't terribly high. His intelligence was on display throughout the American Idol season. He toyed with upbeat songs early in the season, to poor results, and immediately changed up his game plan. He found himself succeeding in the realm of slow ballads, and he stuck to what worked. If a person like Lil Rounds had taken a similarly analytical path, she might still be in the competition. It's not often you can say that an American Idol finalist completely maximized their potential, but I feel confident saying it about Anoop.

The legacy of Anoop Desai will be negligible. He will be a footnote in American Idol history. Noop Dog was a pretty vanilla performer, never spectacular, never bad enough to gain the ire of the masses or the judges. Farewell, young Noop, you'll kind of be missed, at least for a week or two.

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