Tuned In

American Idol's Voting Scandal (Or Not)

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If you’re like me, you stopped caring about the results of American Idol about 24 hours or so after they were announced. But a fair amount of fans are abuzz over a report that AT&T let Kris Allen fans at a viewing party use free demo phones, thus possibly upping his vote total. 

Did AT&T give Allen the Idol title? Probably not. For one thing, The Hollywood Reporter did some back-of-the-envelope calculations and figured—given that the free phones were at only two viewing parties in the entire nation—that even if as many votes as possible were cast on the free phones they would barely have made a dent in the overall total. More important, as I’ve said before, it’s a little hard to figure out how to quantify fairness and unfairness in an “election” decided by people voting as many times as they want over the phone. 

But I agree with Eric Deggans that, to the extent that Idol wants its vote to be perceived as legitimate (say, so as not to undermine the career of the winner), it ought to release the vote totals after each season.

Not only would that be more transparent, it would be more fun. And frankly, eight seasons into this show, the producers should be trying to add as much fun into Idol as posible.