Until recently, the mere mention of Sanjaya gave me bad flashbacks of him brutalizing "You Really Got Me" and his ridiculous hairdon'ts. I was dreading seeing him on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here and only mildly looking forward to torturing him by voting him into gross challenges in order to get payback for the way he abused my eardrums all those times on American Idol. So when he walked off the plane on 'I'm a Celebrity' with his hair in the stupid mohawk I sighed and braced myself for the worst. However... that hasn't been the case at all. In fact, he's the most awesome person on that show. Somehow, he morphed from annoying teen to king of the jungle in just a few short years. Here are the reasons I'm loving him now.
He's awesome in challenges
Janice keeps calling him fearless, and she's not wrong. So far he's gamely participated in any challenge thrown at him, and he's been a force to be reckoned with. During a recent challenge he was shackled in a box filled with water, crocodiles and snakes and he was able to immediately focus and unlock himself at a dizzyingly quick pace. He also seems to have an iron stomach and can swallow anything (perhaps swallowing Simon's abuse paid off). He couldn't choke down the bull testicles (not that we blame him) but honestly, if it had been a challenge that rewarded the group (instead of naming the leader of the camp), he probably would have taken one for the team.
When reprimanded for sharing food with the starving girls who can't win a food challenge to save their lives, his first instinct was still to be selfless instead of being a bastard (like pretty much everyone else), even if it means that the entire camp gets less. That's just a nice guy. He's also the first to pitch in and help in order to make everyone else's lives easier. That's very impressive considering he's only 19 years old.
He likes nature
He seems to genuinely be enjoying living in the outdoors and communing with the animals. He's tried talking with monkeys and just generally seems at ease in the wilderness and happy about it.
He's not just willing to face tough challenges, he's also brave enough to give Janice a backrub and hold her when she's upset. That's the most terrifying thing we can think of. And he even volunteered to give camp leader Lou Diamond Phillips foot rubs, which is bordering on insanity (think about how gross those feet must be in the jungle!), but I've got to give him credit for not shying away from any thing.
He seems like the camp clown, always on hand to do a goofy happy dance when his team wins a challenge and he sings on cue. While I was skeptical about this last item, after hearing Heidi sing (without the benefit Auto-Tune), Sanjaya practically sounds Grammy worthy. It's all about perspective.
He knows when to keep his mouth shut
While Frangela was fighting with Spencer, or when Daniel Baldwin went on an anti-Janice rant, or when Speidi and Stephen Baldwin got all Up with Jesus, Sanjaya just stood by and nodded politely. He stays out of the immature fracas and really seems to want to be the peacemaker in the party. In interviews we get to see that he's not buying anyone's BS (most especially Heidi and Spencer's) but he knows that the best way to deal with the crazies is just to let them go wild and burn themselves out.
Not in that manipulative kind of way, but he's clever enough to come up with brooms, bracelets and even likes to whittle in his spare time. Who else in that bunch is going to make a broom?
He doesn't complain
The kid is completely covered in bug bites, has done some of the nastiest tasks ever, and yet, he hasn't bitched at all about anything. And while Patti takes any opportunity to whine about how sucky her life is, he's never griped about how he was basically America's whipping boy and the butt of every joke and is now seeking redemption. He just does his thing, and for that we're grateful.
All of this is almost enough to make me feel bad for saying so many bad things about him for so long... but not quite. Still, he's fun to root for, and not even in that vote for the worst sort of way this time.
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