Technology Again Causes American Idol Controversy, Fingers Pointed At AT&T

from the newsworthy dept

Apparently the outcome of the latest season of American Idol caused some controversy when the contestant generally regarded as the underdog of the two finalists was crowned the winner, provoking an angry backlash from his rival's fans. Now, they're pointing the finger at AT&T, alleging it helped skew the vote. This isn't the first time telecommunications have caught this sort of flak, as it's been a regular occurrence during the show's run that people have faced jammed phone lines when they've tried to vote. But this time, it's a little different. Apparently AT&T reps were at a couple of viewing parties organized by fans of the winning contestant, Kris Allen, and brought along a bunch of phones with them -- since, of course, only people on AT&T's wireless network can vote for the show's winner via text message. Then, the reps supposedly showed people at the parties how to "power text", or send in several votes at once. It seems unlikely that the votes spawned from the two parties were enough to tip the balance in Allen's favor, but the appearance of impropriety on the part of one of the show's major sponsors may be a bit more damaging.


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    Greg G (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 5:14am

    vote

    I never vote on AI even though I watch it. And honestly, I prefered Kris over Adam due mainly to the fact that I doubt I could handle Adam's high-pitch screeching for more than 3 songs in a row.

    As for the texting.. I'd like to see the numbers and what the margin of victory was.

     

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    R. Miles (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 5:20am

    R. Miles

    the latest season of American Idol caused some controversy
    Simply by airing was enough for me.

    Nothing good has come from this show and this article just added another reason to the "Reasons why this show should be cancelled" list.

    But there's way too much cash flowing to do so, and even AT&T's "involvement" won't be enough to stop it.

    AT&T will simply come out with an apology, everyone forgives, and next season will spark another new "controversy".

    So where was the real damage done? From what I gather, even "runner ups" can get recording contracts.

     

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      TheStupidOne, May 28th, 2009 @ 8:21am

      Re: R. Miles

      Rumor has it that the runner up was invited to tour with Queen ... So I'm pretty sure he can get a recording contract

       

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 5:28am

    Reps

    I'd be curious to find out whether these were "AT&T reps" or just some folks who work at an AT&T phone store, or in some part of AT&T who happen to know some texting trick. The term "rep" intimates that they were official relationship representatives from AT&T to American Idol. I find that hard to believe. Anyone from AT&T with any relationship clout would have been in LA at the live event, not some viewing party organized by fans. This sounds like the losers blogging pals looking for something to hang their hat on. Fact is that the loser had been in the bottom three at least once previously. I found him ponderous, as were the attempts by the judges to pump him up. And yes, I admit to watching...guilty pleasure.

     

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    John Doe, May 28th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    The outcome of Idol should not have been a surprise

    Kris Allen is a more mainstream singer and most likely picked up many of Danny Gokey's voters so the outcome of the finale should not have been a surprise to anyone.

    Now if AT&T and Idol want to assure voters, they would release the final vote tally. They won't do that though, because Kris probably won by a large margin.

     

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      mobiGeek, May 28th, 2009 @ 10:41am

      Re: The outcome of Idol should not have been a surprise

      Or they don't have an accurate count. Or they made up the numbers. Or whatever.

      It is a closed process.

      You want the truth? Their viewing audience "CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH".

       

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        Corne, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 5:39am

        Re: Re: The outcome of Idol should not have been a surprise

        Yeah, very true man. They can't handle the truth. But, go back if anyone still has recordings of the show, and look at when the Top 3 went home for the Hometowm parade. Have a look at the crowds Kris pulled in, and compare that to Danny's and Adam's. He had by a country mile the biggest crowd. But, I know that doesn't accuratey reflect how the voting will go, but that should definitely be an indication at least. Kris won, fair and square...I sound almost like when I was in primary school.

         

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      Corne, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 5:34am

      Re: The outcome of Idol should not have been a surprise

      Finally, someone who also see what the real reason was behind Kris winning. I actually wished adam would win, because simply he deserved to...even stated by Kris right after it was announced that he won. Kris, to my mind, took about 70% of Danny's votes, and therefore, that should explain the results, so no surprise really!!!People, stop finding excuses, Kris won, I'm happy for the guy. Adam is definitely gonna be the best AI contestant in terms of worldwide sales, closely followed by Kelly C, who btw is in my country South Africa very soon, awesome stuff. Recently in AI season 9, Katey sang "Feeling good" during the Top24, but even though she has a great voice, she never came close to the performance and vocals of Adam when he sang the same song. So, well done Kris, well done Adam, both are awesome, and I wish them the best.

       

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    DMNTD, May 28th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    sidestep...

    Now if only we could get this kind of respect for votes in America that mattered.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    The story is a little misleading for a couple of reasons:

    AT&T rep could mean anyone who happens to work for AT&T and knows how the text systems works. That could be a tech, a trainer, or anyone like that. Because the story is not very precise, there is no way to know if this is an AT&T sanctioned attempt to sway the vote, or just some dumbass employees trying to impress their friends.

    It also doesn't address the fact that the size of their vote sample, no matter how agressive they would be, would still fall in the category of a rounding error if removed. With 100,000,000 votes, they would have had to generate a million votes just to have a 1% influence on the outcome. Not very likely.

    Further, the story doesn't address the actual end results. From reports I have seen, the winner beat the loser by a substantial margin. This is further supported by soundscan reports that the winner outsold the loser by about 6 to 1 on music sales.

    For the most part, the story reads like a whine from a group of people who didn't get their way.

     

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    Michaela Newey, May 28th, 2009 @ 6:13am

    Idols South Africa

    I find this story interesting, as in South Africa there was also an issue with vote counting on the latest Idols. The crux of the matter is that a big chunk of votes arrived after the closing period, despite the fact that they had been sent during the alloted window. The various companies and stake holders involved are all pointing their fingers at each other. The "late" votes changed the final result after the announcement of the "winner", to the extent that the organizers declared the "looser" to also be a winner the following day. So now we have 2 idols winners. As if 1 wasn't bad enough.

     

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    Overcast (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Taking lessons from Washington I see.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Allen is a singer...Lambert is a performer. Not entirely a surprise Allen won, but expect Lambert to play on Broadway, on tour, and in Vegas. Expect Allen to play at the next Shriner convention.

     

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    Lickity Split, May 28th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Bud ads suck ass

    Who gives a shit.

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 9:18am

    Updated statement from AT&T

    Courtesy of the folks at TMZ: "Here's the statement released by AT&T: "In Arkansas a few local AT&T employees were invited to attend two local watch parties organized by the community ... they brought a small number of demo phones with them and provided texting tutorials to those who were interested. That said, it's quite a leap to suggest that a few individuals could have impacted the final results." So, they weren't AT&T "reps" and there was no systematic effort here. Besides, ball all accounts the results weren't even close, on a basis of 100,000,000 votes cast. There is no scandal here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 10:23am

      Re: Updated statement from AT&T

      Don't make Mike sad. He thought he had caught another big corporation out screwing around. Can't wait to see how often this story gets linked to in future techdirt posts.

      Hey Mike, how about a retraction, now that there is significant contradictory evidence in play?

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

        Don't make Mike sad. He thought he had caught another big corporation out screwing around. Can't wait to see how often this story gets linked to in future techdirt posts.

        1. I didn't write the post.

        2. The post said quite clearly that it was unlikely that this issue really had an impact (try reading next time) which is the same thing AT&T said... so they agree with us. Their statement doesn't change anything.

        3. The POINT was that any appearance of impropriety looks bad, and AT&T should consider such things.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

          the POINT is that there is no impropriety, the only thing I suspect AT&T is considering is staying out of the next AI to avoid having to deal with the negative press generated by misleading articles like this.

          So, retraction?

           

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            Mike Masnick (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

            the POINT is that there is no impropriety, the only thing I suspect AT&T is considering is staying out of the next AI to avoid having to deal with the negative press generated by misleading articles like this.


            Reading comprehension time: Carlo made it clear that it was silly to think AT&T influenced the election, and that the issue is the controversy over this.

            So, retraction?

            Retract what? That Carlo got the story right? Point me to a single factually incorrect statement in the post?

             

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          Jim, May 28th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

          Yeah, but it's part and parcel of your general worldview. This is such a worthless post it's hard to believe you'd allow it to go up. You are the editor right?

          The general sense I get from TD is that it's a bunch of angry guys who aren't real good at "doing" or "creating" anything so aim their venom at those who "do".

          And that's okay... You're fun to read for a good laugh. It's always fun to read your snarkiness, but you hardly offer serious or insightful commentary or insight. You're kind of like a less funny, less creative, more angry Valleywag.

           

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            Mike Masnick (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

            Yeah, but it's part and parcel of your general worldview. This is such a worthless post it's hard to believe you'd allow it to go up. You are the editor right?


            I'm the editor and I stand by the post. It's 100% accurate. I'm confused what you think my "general worldview" is. This story is about the controversy stirred up here (which happened) and how it was because of a small thing by some AT&T employees (which happened).

            It wasn't blaming AT&T for influencing the vote, and in fact said exactly the opposite.

            The general sense I get from TD is that it's a bunch of angry guys who aren't real good at "doing" or "creating" anything so aim their venom at those who "do".

            Your general sense is amusing, but wrong. It makes me wonder what site you're reading. I'm a very happy guy, who spends my days doing an awful lot. I have no real anger at anyone, though I am amused at folks with reading comprehension problems.

            And that's okay... You're fun to read for a good laugh. It's always fun to read your snarkiness, but you hardly offer serious or insightful commentary or insight. You're kind of like a less funny, less creative, more angry Valleywag.

            You are clearly reading a different site.

             

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              Jim, May 28th, 2009 @ 7:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

              "From the newsworthy department"? What's "newsworthy" about this? Nothing...

              At least Valleywag is forthright about its salaciousness -- their post about the Real Housewives of New Jersey was a rip-snortin good read AND accurate. This... Not so much. Maybe you should read your own comments Mr. "reading comprehension" - start with Bob in Baltimore - it's fairly digest-able and the biggest word is "systematic" (relating to or consisting of a system).

              Stand by the post all you want, but it's not "100%" accurate... It's not accurate at all. Furthermore, your writer's snot-filled bias is showing with piffle like this: "...since, of course, only people on AT&T's wireless network can vote for the show's winner via text message." Harrumph, Harrumph!

              His point being what exactly? That the commercial arrangement AT&T struck with AI deprives non ATT customers from voting? Aha! That's it. It's the whole "openness" "free content", "free love" anti-corporate, web 2.0, "sell more magazines by making them round and including a frisbee" bs -- THAT'S your "general worldview"...

              But those days are over. Web 2.5 will be all about commerce and profit and real business plans.

              That's likely going to be tough for folks like you and yorn who can't "do", but feel perfectly content blowing their noses all over those who can.

              As I say... You're definitely fun to read for entertainment. Kind of like my wife's Us Weekly which I thoroughly enjoy flipping through during my morning constitution. No harm in being the snarky paparazzi of the Internet, just don't expect the rest of us to take you seriously.

               

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                Mike Masnick (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 11:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

                "From the newsworthy department"? What's "newsworthy" about this? Nothing...

                Try turning on your sarcasm filter next time...

                Stand by the post all you want, but it's not "100%" accurate... It's not accurate at all.

                Ha! I ask you to point out a single inaccurate point, and you don't. Tells me a lot.

                Furthermore, your writer's snot-filled bias is showing with piffle like this: "...since, of course, only people on AT&T's wireless network can vote for the show's winner via text message." Harrumph, Harrumph!

                His point being what exactly? That the commercial arrangement AT&T struck with AI deprives non ATT customers from voting?


                Um, someone read WAY too much into that statement. That was simply explanatory, not derogatory. The point was explaining that only AT&T customers could vote via text. It's not derogatory at all.

                You seem to read our posts with a tone that isn't at all what was written.

                That's it. It's the whole "openness" "free content", "free love" anti-corporate, web 2.0, "sell more magazines by making them round and including a frisbee" bs -- THAT'S your "general worldview".

                Huh? We're not anti-corporate at all. You do realize that we help lots of big companies make more money. Our focus is on helping them do things right and make more money. We will make fun of companies for doing something *wrong* but that's to help prevent them from doing it wrong again.

                You really seem to read stuff into what we write that's not there.

                But those days are over. Web 2.5 will be all about commerce and profit and real business plans.

                Indeed. We've always focused on helping companies put in place better business plans, and we've always mocked companies that had no real business plan or a dumb business plan. I'm not sure why you're so angry at us when we basically agree with you.


                That's likely going to be tough for folks like you and yorn who can't "do", but feel perfectly content blowing their noses all over those who can.


                Now this is really funny. After all, we've been running a PROFITABLE web business for about a decade even as many others have struggled. So we DO all the time and we have a REAL BUSINESS model that's all about COMMERCE and PROFIT. And we do quite nicely.

                So why are you so angry at us? You should try reading what we write more carefully, because you seem to think we say stuff we don't.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), May 29th, 2009 @ 7:56am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Updated statement from AT&T

                  It almost seems like everything Jim is saying could be turned around on him... factually incorrect... bitter and angry... nothing useful to do... hm...

                   

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    enough already, May 28th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    idol vote

    nothing to see here, move along...

     

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    Code Monkey from AR, May 28th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    Texting Tips

    I heard people talking around the office the week before the finale on how to "power text" their votes for Kris. This is nothing more than an attention grab...

     

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    bob, May 28th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    curse of the idol

    Doesn't the runner-up always end up doing better than the winner, career wise?

    We should be happy things turned out the way they did.

     

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    DTS, May 28th, 2009 @ 5:01pm

    This bit of news was repeated the day before in local time, through the radio and newspapers, so the event did happen. What comes under contention is if this was a major reason that Kris won -- the day the results came out, one of the articles I saw talked about an online community where the members would vote for the "most undeserving" contestant to raise uproar.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2009 @ 5:27am

    "You should try reading what we write more carefully, because you seem to think we say stuff we don't."

    I don't feel bad for being the only one you use this technique on. You truly are skilled at dismissing people.

     

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    indycraft, May 29th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    ATT Power Texting

    And now voters don't even know if the power texts were even counted.

    "Eric Green, a spokesperson for "American Idol" said Wednesday that he couldn't comment on the producers' definitions of "technical enhancements" or "significant blocks of votes," or if power texting constitutes either."

    Technical enhancement/significant block votes can be disallowed by Idol producers.

     

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    s nayyar, Jun 1st, 2009 @ 1:44am

    very Nice informative stuff to read here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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