February 04, 2006 06:21 PM by Joe Blackmon
Every year it seems like there is always some shocking elimination on American Idol that has viewers screaming voting scandal. Things really got started with American Idol 2 when many fans questioned Ruben Studdard’s win over Clay Aiken. In American Idol 3, viewers were shocked by Jennifer Hudson’s early departure from the show. In American Idol 4, Constantine Maroulis’ elimination had viewers demanding a recount.
After controversial eliminations, American Idol message boards are usually filled with viewers complaining about not being able to get through on clogged phone lines. There are also usually allegations of mass voting through power dialers.
In a conference call with the media, American Idol Executive Producer Ken Warwick addressed complaints about the voting process and surprisingly denied that voting problems existed. Warwick stated “A lot of the problems have not been genuine, you know, that have been published. There is never any congestion at national grid system level. The only time there is any congestion is at local switchboard level, and that’s going to happen, there’s nothing I can do..”
After Constantine Maroulis’ controversial elimination on American Idol 4, Reality TV Magazine requested information from FOX on how many votes were thrown out due to power dialing. Reality TV Magazine requested this information, hoping that it could be used to address rumors that power dialers were keeping Scott Savol in the competition. FOX’s response was “Sorry, no information is available.” Now, thanks to Ken Warwick that question has been answered.
In regards to power dialers, Warwick stated, “I think in year two when we were starting to become successful we had leveled at us there’s all these power modem dialers that can do 10,000 phone calls in thirty seconds, so we put a load of really expensive equipment in place to phantom these guys out, and at the moment it became obvious that the same number was making more than a certain number of calls very quickly that would be cut out of the system, but the truth of the matter is in the whole time that we’ve had that apparatus in, not once has it ever been needed to be used, which leads me to believe that the whole thing was a prefabrication in the first place,”
The only problem with the voting procedure that Warwick did acknowledge was what he described as “making that stupid error on screen” in reference to the wrong contestant phone numbers that led to a re-vote during American Idol 4. Warwick did not make mention of the closed captioning phone number error or Ryan Seacrest’s announcement of the wrong phone number which also occurred during American Idol 4. Neither the closed captioning nor the announcement errors resulted in a re-vote.