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Friday, 29 May 2009

AT&T Admits Overeager Employees Helped 'Idol' Fans Text For Kris


LOS ANGELES — A few overeager AT&T employees brought demo phones to "American Idol" viewing parties in Arkansas and helped fans text their votes, but their actions did not affect the outcome between native son Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, the company said Wednesday.

Allen, 23, of Conway, Ark., won by an undisclosed margin over Lambert, 27, of San Diego, a powerful singer who'd been cast by the show's judges as the front-runner. Host Ryan Seacrest said nearly 100 million votes were sent by phone or text message after last Tuesday's final performance, but did not mention how those votes were divided.

While anyone in the United States could phone in votes, only AT&T customers were allowed to text.

About 20 phones were brought to two separate parties in Arkansas, and two of those phones were capable of sending multiple votes by so-called "power texting," a person familiar with the gatherings said. A second person, with knowledge of the voting results, said Allen won by a large enough margin that a handful of voters could not have swayed the outcome.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the voting process or the Arkansas parties.

"Idol" prohibits "power voting" by text or phone, and has internal safeguards against the practice.

In a joint statement, Fox and producer FremantleMedia said the results were "fair, accurate and verified" by an independent, third-party monitor to protect the integrity of the voting process. "In no way did any individuals unfairly influence the outcome of the competition."

"Kris Allen is, without a doubt, the American Idol," Fox and FremantleMedia said.
Read the rest here at Huffingtonpost.com

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