But hair aside, was Sanjaya’s staying power more about his vocally challenged performances?
“Did it hurt you that you felt some people were voting for you for the wrong reasons?” Shaun asked.
“No, because anyone who was voting for me based on Howard Stern or VoteForTheWorst.com, they’re going to vote for me maybe a couple times. I honestly think I got to where I did because of my fans,” he explained.
And an amazing support system never hurts.
“When I was cut, it was the first week that my mom wasn’t there and when they found out, they got on the first plane out here,” Sanjaya said. “So to have family like that, it’s really awesome.”
Speaking of family, it turns out Sanjaya isn’t the only famous Malakar, as Shaun found out.
Meet Shyamali Malakar - Sanjaya’s sister, who joined Shaun and Sanjaya for the interview.
“Your sister’s hot!” Shaun exclaimed.
Shyamali has gotten her fair share of attention online, as well as from her own stint on “Idol” and as her little brother’s biggest cheerleader.
“I’m sure she’s gotten a lot of offers to be somebody’s date. Do they have to go through you first?” Shaun asked jokingly.
“Nah, she’s a very smart woman. I’d like to be able to approve people but I don’t think that she’d really listen to me,” he said with a smirk.
Perhaps not, but the rest of the world can’t get enough of Sanjaya. Want proof? On Monday, you’ll see him on Letterman, Regis & Kelly, Ellen and right here on Access Hollywood.
And he’s got no plans of slowing down.
“I’d love to do acting. I’d love to do modeling. I’d love to do Broadway and, of course, music still,” he explained.
But could a guest spot on a hit show already be in the works after Sanjaya had a chance encounter with Billy Ray Cyrus?
“Are you appearing on ‘Hannah Montana’?” Shaun asked Sanjaya.
“He talked to me about it,” Sanjaya revealed. “I’d love to.”
During his time on “Idol,” Sanjaya took his fair share of jabs from Simon Cowell, so now that he’s off the show, he’s free to speak his mind. And surprisingly, the mature Malakar has only glowing reviews for his harshest critic.
“What do you really think about Simon Cowell?” Shaun asked.
“I think that was him saying, ‘I’m disappointed in you. Step up,’” Sanjaya explained. “Actually, I learned more from him than I did from anyone else on the show.”
“Do you think you lived up to the expectation?” Shaun asked him.
“I think that sometimes I didn’t live up to his expectation. But I don’t regret anything I did because I learn from everything that I do,” he smiled.
Tune in to Monday’s Access Hollywood to see Sanjaya perform his “Idol” swan song on the Access stage!