Okay, I know the stealing of “American Idol 2009” isn’t on par with the stealing of the 2000 election.
But for American Idol fan(atic)s, and I confess I am one, Wednesday’s New York Times report that AT&T workers in Arkansas, Kris Allen’s home state, “might have influenced the outcome of the 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 Allen” deserves to be investigated by a non-partisan commission with full subpoena power.
(Details of the voting support provided by AT&T representatives were first reported last week in an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.)
There appear to have been no similar efforts to give free texting services to Lambert’s supporters.
The call to investigate the Idol outcome is not about revenge, though I admit I was a huge fan of Adam Lambert. It’s about ensuring fair elections and an end to voting irregularities.
As I write, Adam Lambert’s supporters have flooded online chat boards with messages claiming irregularities in the voting. But the official American Idol website reads like a Soviet-era information site: no news of the emerging scandal anywhere to be found. Officials at Fox declined to talk about the situation. And AT&T reps are also mum. Was the outcome unfairly influenced by corporate sponsor AT&T eager to have Allen as this year’s “Idol?” Did it consider Allen a better pitchman for its products? We deserve answers. Otherwise, Idol fans–tune out next season.
Update: Fox Broadcasting and the companies that have raked in millions from “Idol” finally issued a statement insisting they were “absolutely certain ” that the outcome of voting for Allen wasn’t unfairly influenced by free text-messaging services offered to his fans at viewing parties in Arkansas. I say “Idol” fans deserve a fair and independent hearing into irregularities.