There has been a lot of talk on the internet about who voted for Kris Allen, this year’s winner, and why. Until now, though, no one disputed the vote itself. A New York Times article might change all that.
AT&T, one of the biggest corporate sponsors of “American Idol,” might have influenced the outcome of this year’s competition by providing phones for free text-messaging services and lessons in casting blocks of votes at parties organized by fans of Kris Allen, the Arkansas singer who was the winner of the show last week.
Representatives of AT&T helped fans of Mr. Allen at the two Arkansas events by providing instructions on how to send 10 or more text messages at the press of a single button, known as power texts. Power texts have an exponentially greater effect on voting than do single text messages or calls to the show’s toll-free phone lines. The efforts appear to run afoul of “American Idol” voting rules in two ways. The show broadcasts an on-screen statement at the end of each episode warning that blocks of votes cast using “technical enhancements” that unfairly influence the outcome of voting can be thrown out.
And the show regularly states that text voting is open only to AT&T subscribers and is subject to normal rates.
Since Alison was voted off the show, I really didn’t have a horse in this race. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t see either Kris or runnerup Adam Lambert as an “idol.” Nevertheless, I was suprised that Kris won – as he seemed to be himself last week.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks. Or whether the story simply dies.