OAKLAND – Ten American Idols.
Nine thousand fans.
Seen by the casual observer during Saturday’s AI Tour concert at Oracle Arena: signs for three performers – Adam Lambert, Kris Allen and Anoop Desai.
Such was Anoop’s AI journey in season 8. He was popular probably because of his singing talent, his unusual first name, his personality and a mixture of factors that left him first in, then out, then back in of the competition.
A year ago last Saturday he was in Chapel Hill, N.C. plotting a trip to an AI tryout in Kansas City in August. On Saturday afternoon he was doing interviews at Oracle while a couple of guys were standing outside wearing “Anoop dog” T-shirts.
Along the way he was involved in all kinds of AI history – instead of keeping a Top 12, at the last moment AI judge Simon Cowell announced their would be a Top 13 and guess who that No. 13 was? Yep, Anoop.
Then after he made the Top 10 and secured a spot on the AI Tour, he made it to the Top 7, but the judges tossed out their “save” card for Matt Giraud and it meant for the first two contestants would go the next week. So, for that first, guess who went? Yep, Anoop and Lil Rounds walked out the door.
But, really, Anoop, are you buying all those vote numbers? Who knows if they are accurate? Where do they come from?
“No, I have faith in the people who run the show, in their integrity,” Desai said. “Besides, the show makes way too much money for them to even risk anything like fixing the voting. I believe it’s all very legitimate.”
Music or no music in his future, Anoop is not just doing that balancing act on a keyboard for a future. He has a BS from the University of North Carolina double majoring in political science and American Studies. And before he journeyed off to Kansas City for the tryout that altered his life, he was in graduate school at UNC pursuing a Masters degree in folklore.
His mom is a biochemist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology and his dad is a software engineer.
“I don’t know,” he said, “if music doesn’t work out I’ll probably wind up going to law school.”
Anoop made it through the audition by singing “Thank You” by Boyz II Men. But his signature song came on his second solo performance in Hollywood when he first sang Bobby Brown’s “My prerogative.”
That was one of the songs he performed last Saturday that was met with approval by those “Anoop Dog” fans in attendance.
And while those fans were solely thinking music, Anoop grinned as he thought of where he would be standing when he sang Saturday night.
“Right where Brandon Wright played,” he said with a smile.
Might not mean much to anyone else, but Anoop was all smiles because Wright, now a Golden State Warrior, played for Anoop’s beloved UNC basketball team and Anoop could probably tell you everything you would want to know about the Tar Heels and then some.
“That’s one thing I miss about college – basketball and football. Tail-gating, the whole atmosphere is just something special. I kinda get into the NFL and the NBA a little bit, but I guess I’m more of a bandwagon fan of the pros. But not college sports. I just love that.”
And, yes, later Saturday night he sang “My Prerogative” just about where Wright probably took a 15-foot jump shot three short months ago.
Anoop: UNC grad believes vote totals
OAKLAND – Ten American Idols.