Sanjaya was a finalist on the sixth season of American Idol. He gained national attention on the series, controversially advancing to 7th place with public votes, despite being poorly received by the show's judges (particularly Simon Cowell).
After Idol, Sanjaya made many television guest appearances and has been commonly parodied in popular culture. In recent years, he has found success at writing, first for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and then writing a memoir. He got to 5th place season two in the reality television show I'm a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!".