American Idol vote stuffing | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

American Idol vote stuffing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 5:52 AM

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Sorry, soreheads, it's a cultural and commercial phenomenon with an Ark. angle. News, in other words.

The apology is for a link to a deep look by the New York Times at reality shows that rely on -- and whose success is partly driven by -- viewer voting. Yes, Arkie vote stuffing for the American Idol winner Kris Allen is back in the national spotlight.

So when auditions for the next season of “American Idol” begin in Boston on Sunday, singers who dream of standing in the winner’s spotlight next spring will need more than just a set of well-trained vocal cords.

Their success will also depend on their ability to inspire legions of fans to devote hours to sending blocks of votes into the “American Idol” polls. But the growing role of block voting also threatens to disenfranchise the viewers who are some of the show’s most fervent fans. Just how big those block-voting efforts can get was demonstrated by Erika McMahan of Conway, Ark., who with two of her friends sent in 11,700 votes by text message on the final night of this year’s “Idol.”

That such practices are having an outsize effect on “American Idol” results is the obvious conclusion presented by a strange anomaly that has grown over eight seasons of “American Idol.” Even as the show’s audience has declined in recent years, the number of votes being cast has risen sharply.

Fox is still refusing to open up vote details or talk about suggestions that the show's own rules were broken except to indicate that there was mass voting for both finalists and it was a non-factor. The Times also ran down someone who punched in more than 1,100 calls to the toll-free voting number.

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