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Desai is the second Indian American to advance to the final stages of the popular reality show, the first being Season 6's Sanjaya Malakar.
Desai attended Carnage Middle School and Phillips Middle School, then later went on to attend East Chapel Hill High School, graduating in 2004.
He was awarded a four year academic merit scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was the Haywood W. After being accepted and planning to attend college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Desai auditioned for and was accepted as a member of the UNC Clef Hangers, a long-standing male a capella group founded in 1977.
He finished in the Bottom Three during Top 7 week, when Matt Giraud was saved from elimination by the judges.
In the 1990s, Desai appeared on the WRAL-TV (NC Triangle) television children's show, "Central Xpress.com", and played the character "Raj".
The show won multiple awards, including seven regional Emmys, two national Iris awards, and a national Gabriel Award.
On November 27, 2009, Desai performed at San Francisco Union Square Macy's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
He performed The Christmas Song and All I Want For Christmas Is You.
But Desai won the judges over again the next week, when he sang Willie Nelson's classic country ballad "Always On My Mind" for "Grand Ol' Opry Week." Even Cowell was impressed, and retracted his remarks about Desai not deserving to be in the Top 13.