Does Howard Stern have an impact on Idol's voting?

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Apr 5th 2007 2:04PM
Sanjaya MalakarSanjaya is safe for another week. In fact, he's not even in the bottom three. According to the AOL poll he's at the top of the pack. What's going on?

Besides having earned a lot of true-blue Fanjayas, the SanMan is also being supported by Vote for the Worst and Howard Stern. In his Sanjaya-for-Idol Campaign, Stern has admitted he's not just messing around. He wants to topple the #1 show. But despite whipping his loyal whack-packers into a frenzy, does Stern really have that much influence on Idol's outcome?

Idol producer Ken Warwick doesn't think so.

Warwick recently addressed the controversy, and stated that Stern's effect on the competition is "Very minimal to be truthful. There is very little hype anybody can do that will affect the vast numbers of votes that we get."

Warwick also said "I think if every single person that listened to Howard Stern voted, the gap above and below Sanjaya is so big, that it swallows that up and it doesn't affect the outcome at all."

I am an American Idol fan AND a Howard Stern fan myself. And I can say that there is one thing both audiences have in common -- complete devotion and loyalty to their programs. Stern may not have the sheer numbers that American Idol has, but his fans might just be a bit more extreme. I think some of them would do anything Stern tells them to do. And I wouldn't underestimate Stern's power or influence.

I also don't think Ken Warwick really believes Stern has no impact on the outcome of the show. If he did, he wouldn't be bothering to make a comment. Whether Stern's callers are making an actual numerical impact in voting or not, they are clearly sending a message to the show's producers: this show is a joke! As long as Stern continues his campaign, he risks destroying Idol's credibility. But what I find ironic (or hypocritical) is that the producers are complaining about someone influencing the votes when the producers and judges try to manipulate the results all the time. They clearly try to sway our votes. And now they're angry that one man has found a way to do what they can't -- tell us directly how to vote.

But honestly, the producers shouldn't be sweating it so much. They should be happy that Stern is talking about their show every day, drumming up more interest, and boosting the ratings even higher. After all, the Sanjaya controversy is all anyone is talking about on the internet. And as the old saying goes, "it doesn't matter what they are saying, as long as they are saying it."

What happens when Sanjaya is eventually booted? Won't the competition become a bit duller? How many ways can you rave about Jordin's or Melinda's impeccable vocals? The shocking eliminations and sometimes terrible performances provide the show with much needed drama and comedy. And without any controversy, doesn't Idol become just another boring talent showcase?

Really, once Sanjaya goes home, what the heck are we going to complain about?

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Why would anyone want to keep a kid in at the expense of another who has worked hard and has a far superior voice? I understand the critics when they speak about how American Idol, in its initial audition, will pass up on talented singers so they can fill their audition tv shows with fools and seriously demented individuals who boost ratings. I also understand why they want to stick it to Idol by making a mockery out of their show. However, to kick a talented kid in the ass as a way of getting the point across perhaps isn't the best way to make their point. And as for Howard Stern, he's still around?, what a sorry bastard he is. Who on earth would listen to anything he had to say? He's pitiful.

April 06 2007 at 12:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Hanlin

I think Howard looks like some junkie they just got out of the gutter. I can't stand to look at him let alone listen. Simon said it best when he said nothing at all about Sanbag. He stinks and everyone knows it. That little girl that was crying if you noticed she was crying while most everyone sang. I think she might have a problem. Its just to bad good singers have to leave before him.

April 05 2007 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

sanjaya has got to be one of the worst singers on idol right now. as for stern, well, he thinks he runs the contry. well the earth does not revolve around howard stern. face it and get over it. as for idol, the only people keeping sanjaya on there is the little 13 year olds. they are the only ones that can stand to hear that nasty thing he calls singing comming out of his mouth. they need to get rid of him and let the singers that has some talent remain.he really over did it with his mohawk stunt.

April 05 2007 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So the people who get voted on weekly don't get their feelings hurt lynn? Only the ones potentially voted off if Howard's plan works? You think it only hurts if the votings unjust? It's a contest. Only one is going to win. Regardless of who or how, the losers will cry. It won't make it hurt any worse or any less.

April 05 2007 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Idol should add a "wild card" show now and then where you vote against your least favorite performer. That would wipe out the Howard Stern effect, if there is one.

April 05 2007 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm a Stern fan, I'm on board the "Vote Sanjaya" train, but not because Howard told me to do so. Why shouldn't we take any chance we can to take down the show?

I was a big fan of Sabrina Sloan, who didn't get any press or pimping before the Semifinals started. The producers set things up so she wouldn't stand a chance of making the Top 12 vs. those with better stories, when in truth she was easily in the top six performers this season. The fact that she didn't make it pisses me off, so I could care less about the "integrity of the show". The show has no integrity, but at least it allows us to influence the outcome.

And I'm taking that chance. The fact that Howard Stern has my back... it's a plus.

April 05 2007 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I do think Howard's listeners are having an effect on the voting but is it as much as the dent in the French economy that Bill O'Reilly made with his sweeping boycott?

April 05 2007 at 6:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Whether they paid their dues or not, going the conventional route was not working for them, so they decided to take the fast track by getting national exposure. Nothing wrong with it, but they have to take the bad with the good. Any serious musician would want someone in the music industry rating their talent, as well as perform at local clubs to get a core group fan base.

Going on this show is allowing anyone who can push the buttons on their phone measure their success, so it really isn't any surprise that teeny boppers that think Sanjaya is hot is bumping out more talented performers. With or without the gag votes. Sometimes it works out well. Other times you get situations like this season.

April 05 2007 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LC, not ALL the Idol contestants are guilty of trying to "fast-track their way to stardom". Some of them have been paying dues for years, and now they finally achieved some recognition from being selected for the show. Melinda's 29, so is Brandon, Lakisha's 27, Hicks was 28, etc. Some of them have studied singing in college as well. So it isn't fair to lump them all together.

April 05 2007 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Both Howard Stern and vote for the worst is having a huge impact on this show! Sirius's numbers went from just over a million subscribers to over 6 Million when Stern went on the air, so he does have lots of faithful followers. Those who say no one is listening to him are dreaming. But back to the original message - he is having an impact, hopefully this Sanjaya person will win, so that the show ends and never comes back. It's way past it's prime and needs to go!

April 05 2007 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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