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American Idol alum Sanjaya Malakar says he identifies as bisexual … 15 years after memorable run

American Idol Sanjaya Malakar said he is bisexual, and was unaware of it when he became a national sensation during the talent show in 2007.

Malakar, 32, appears in the podcast The Adam Sank Show Monday, talks about his time on the show and the years after, as well as his sexuality.

“I identify as bisexual,” Malakar told Sank, adding that he was a contestant on the show “at the time” – when there was speculation about his sexuality – he “didn’t know, and that’s why it was so weird.” ‘

The latest: American Idol Sanjaya Malakar, 32, said he is bisexual, and was unaware of it when he became a national sensation on the talent show in 2007

The latest: American Idol Sanjaya Malakar, 32, said he is bisexual, and was unaware of it when he became a national sensation on the talent show in 2007

The Seattle native was 17 when he first tried out the show with his sister Shyamali in 2006, reaching the show’s top 10 in an unlikely rise — as judge Simon Cowell had criticized his singing as “utterly atrocious” — but was popular with viewers who continued to vote for him.

He was eventually eliminated in the top seven, after performing songs such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, No Doubt’s Bathwater and Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek.

Malakar, who currently works as a bartender and pastry chef, said he was “raised by women” and eventually got involved with theatre.

“I had a hard time figuring out how to deal with young boys because my father is from India and grew up in a temple, so there was never such a thing as, ‘That’s the way you are a boy,’ he said. “And then, my mother is an A-type personality, Italian-American woman, and… [so are] her sisters and my sisters and all that, so growing up I was already the awkward theater kid.’

The Seattle native was photographed in August 2007 after his run on the show

The Seattle native was photographed in August 2007 after his run on the show

The Seattle native was photographed in August 2007 after his run on the show

The alumnus of the TV talent contest was featured in an Instagram clip in June

The alumnus of the TV talent contest was featured in an Instagram clip in June

The alumnus of the TV talent contest was featured in an Instagram clip in June

Malakar said he “always got along with theater kids” and with “gays and girls,” and concluded, “Okay, these are my people.”

He said people told him he was gay when he was seven, adding, he then thought, ‘I’m not even attracted to anyone, so why are you telling me this?’

Malakar said he had a long-term relationship with a girlfriend during his stint on American Idol.

“I was exploring my life as a kid, and then American Idol happened, and everyone thought, ‘Oh, he’s gay,'” he said. “And I thought, ‘Okay, now I have to say no, because right now they’re forcing me to make a decision and define myself.’

Malakar added: “At the time, that was also an important thing, because I grew up in a time when being called out***** in school was the worst thing that could ever happen to you. You had to be as hyper-masculine as possible to fit in, and in 2007 it came down to, “Being gay is okay, but you have to define yourself, and there’s this or that.”

He said that during his run on the series, he was advised by publicists to keep things “ambiguous” in speaking about his sexuality.

“All my publicists said, ‘Oh, just tell everyone you’re single… nobody needs to know about anything because you don’t want to lose your fans,’ said Malakar. “And I’m like, ‘Okay, but why am I manipulating what I know about myself to figure out what kind of fans I’m going to get, because I’m still trying to figure out who I am?'”

Malakar was eventually eliminated in the top seven, after performing songs such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough, No Doubt's Bathwater and Irving Berlin's Cheek to Cheek.  He was photographed in May 2007

Malakar was eventually eliminated in the top seven, after performing songs such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough, No Doubt's Bathwater and Irving Berlin's Cheek to Cheek.  He was photographed in May 2007

Malakar was eventually eliminated in the top seven, after performing songs such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, No Doubt’s Bathwater and Irving Berlin’s Cheek to Cheek. He was photographed in May 2007

Malakar said he is currently 'single', noting that 'it's complicated all the time'

Malakar said he is currently 'single', noting that 'it's complicated all the time'

Malakar said he is currently ‘single’, noting that ‘it’s complicated all the time’

Malakar said he is comfortable with himself and his sexuality, and that he has not come out to his parents yet.

“To me, I don’t really care what people know about my sexuality right now, and if I got into a serious long-term relationship with a man, I’d take him to my family, and they’d be like, ‘Oh, cool’ Malakar said. “My family aren’t the kind of people I have to formally come out to.”

He added: “A few of my cousins ​​are also bi and have brought home gay partners and then married someone else. It’s going to be a big deal, and it isn’t.’

Malakar said he doesn’t usually talk to people about his sexuality, noting that “unless it’s something serious, it’s really none of their business.”

“I’m not trying to fuck any of them. I’ll come to people if it’s a situation like this, but if I don’t try to fuck you, it doesn’t matter. You’ll know when I know.’

Malakar said he is currently “single”, noting that “it’s always complicated”.

He said that 15 years after his run on American Idol, he considers his celebrity “a disadvantage” because he likes “the thrill of a chase,” and would not be comfortable with anyone being attracted to him because of his time on the series.

“I’m also a bartender, so I don’t like to fuck someone who wants to fuck me because I’m a bartender,” he said. “I have a lot of self-esteem issues and I really want to make sure someone is interested.”

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