SANJAYA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. Six years into the tenure of television's hottest "reality" show, the wags were calling it all but cancelled. Then an asexually cute but incompetent contestant kept enough viewers from changing the channel and so, we're told, American Idol will live to see another season.

Surely Alberto Gonzales is to the Bush administration what Sanjaya was to Idol, a useful fool who kept the Fox television fan base from straying too far. But, like Sanjaya, Gonzales was destined to be voted off the show as the viewers grew hungry for something real. No amount of thick, brown hair or teddy-bear eyes could obscure the fact that when he got in front of the hearing-room cameras, Alberto still hadn't learned to sing very well.

After Sanjaya's exit from American Idol, the contest finished with a wholly unsatisfying victor. I can't even think of her name. But the series was renewed for yet another year. Even with ratings significantly lower than what they once were, Idol remained one of television's top-rated shows. Not so for the 110th Congress, or the 43rd president.

--Adele M. Stan

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