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'I showed America we could do it'

Anoop Desai aka Noop Dogg shook up American Idol before his recent exit, and he thinks his Indian origin set him apart during the auditions. He chats with Rahul Sabharwal.

entertainment Updated: May 13, 2009 21:34 IST
Rahul Sabharwal

Anoop Desai aka Noop Dogg shook up American Idol before his recent exit, and he thinks his Indian origin set him apart during the auditions. “When I first sang, the judges didn’t expect my voice to come out of an Indian kid,” says Anoop. His participation in the Star World show was more than just a shot at fame. “It’s about showing the American audience what we can do. During the Final 10 [round], it wasn’t about breaking the stereotype, but more about what I was doing as an individual.”

The singer says that “being a child of the 80s and 90s”, he grew up listening to pop radio, and a Michael Jackson CD was among his first buys. However, he confesses, the performance where he sung Jackson’s Beat It was “the lowest point in my Idol journey”. Besides that, it was smooth sailing. “I got to sing a bit with Stevie Wonder backstage… that was really cool. It was an honour to meet [filmmaker] Quentin Tarantino,”
he says.

With the East and the West coming together like never before after the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Anoop would now love to visit India, “the place my parents called home for such a long time”, and perform here. But playback for Bollywood is a different question. “I don’t know if Bollywood fits my voice. I don’t know if I can do it,” he says. Asked how clued he is into Indian films, he admits, “Not very… in comparison to people in India! Compared to people in America, I’d say I’m very clued in.”

Is Hollywood on the horizon? Anoop replies, “That’s an opportunity I’m looking forward to. Even Idol participant Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award before she won a Grammy, so…”