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"American Idol" is finally making way for Sanjaya Malakar.

Once the show's biggest cringe, this week the show suddenly began treating him like a ratings driver.

Wednesday's results show opens with two big shout outs to Sanjaya.

First, Voice of Ryan Seacrest opens the program, telling viewers that tonight there are not one but two big questions on everyone's minds: "Who is going home?" and "How will Sanjaya wear his hair?"

Then, out comes Ryan, the show's host, wearing a wig done up to look like Sanjaya's show stopping Ponyhawk of the previous night. Seven ponytails lined up to emulate a fauxhawk.

"I've been Sanjaya-ed!" Ryan says.

Cut to Sanjaya.

Sanjaya is laughing.

Sanjaya's got the juice.

Naturally, Sanjaya is not in the bottom three this week. Chris Sligh, of the unchanging lush locks, received the fewest votes from viewers and got the hook.

Sanjaya is the only Idolette taking judge Simon Cowell's advice to heart.

Simon keeps telling them to give people something memorable -- and to know who you are. Sanjaya's done all that. Meanwhile, we love LaKisha Jones, but have we seen anything water-cooler-worthy from her lately?

Sanjaya, on the other hand, with enough age and pampering, could hit Michael Jackson Crazy in no time. He already speaks softly and carries a big shtick.

Speaking of shtick, we hope Sanjaya was taking notes when guest mentor Gwen Stefani finally started teaching the Idolettes by example on the results show. We'd love to see him dressed up like one of the Lollipop Guild, hair dyed platinum, surrounded by girls dressed as gingham dolls, and a guy to share the bill or at least walk around the stage going "woo hoo!" while waving an arm.

Alas, that probably won't happen next week. It's Tony Bennett week. We hope Sanjaya sings "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

Editor's note: For more on last night's results show, read Lisa's TV column.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 29, 2007; 7:56 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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