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PHOTOS: Sanjaya's Hair-Raising Commercial

08/19/2008 at 03:45 PM EDT

PHOTOS: Sanjaya's Hair-Raising Commercial
Former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar goes to a guru in India to find the meaning of life.

"A haircut," the guru tells the singer in a funny new Life Comes at You Fast commercial, from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

The ad, which debuts Wednesday, follows one starring Kevin Federline and plays on Malarakar's much-discussed affinity for multiple hairdos when he was competing on Idol.

"I sing a song and I have a different hairstyle," Malakar, 18, tells PEOPLE of the ad. "It goes to the next day, and I have a different hairstyle, different clothes, and I sing a different song."

But in real life, Malakar is serious about his music – he's hard at work on an album.

"I have a couple songs that are finished and almost ready to be released and I'm continuing working on the rest of them," he says. "It's very much influenced by world music and world beats, but my vocal style is very much influenced by R & B and soul and kind of classic Motown R & B sounds."

Reporting by BRETT MALEC

PHOTOS: Sanjaya's Hair-Raising Commercial| Sanjaya Malakar

PHOTOS: Sanjaya's Hair-Raising Commercial| Sanjaya Malakar

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