Here's the real American Idol voting conspiracy

by Jason Hughes, posted May 27th 2009 6:07PM
Kris AllenFans of Kris Allen feel justified that their favorite won American Idol this year. Fans of the presumed favorite to win, Adam Lambert, have been lamenting his loss. Looking for reasons why Adam lost, as Bob reported, they've put some of the blame on AT&T. I think it's more a matter of the jaded state of California, where Lambert hails from. They're not as impressed with a famous singer in their midst as the people of Kris Allen's Arkansas are.

People in the Midwest and South don't have celebrities around every corner, and we're not as "hard" as the East Coast. So we still get excited when a "hometown" boy or girl does good. Think back to Season Five when Katharine McPhee went "home" to Los Angeles to a crowd of hundreds while Taylor Hicks was blown away by tens of thousands in Alabama (and they already had one Idol!).

Let's run down the seasons real quick:
  • Season One saw Kelly Clarkson (Texas) edge out Justin Guarini (Pennsylvania).
  • Season Two was famously close with Ruben Studdard (Alabama) beating Clay Aiken (North Carolina); both Southern boys.
  • Season Three saw Fantasia (North Carolina) best Diana DeGarmo (Georgia) by a 2% margin; a couple of Southern belles.
  • Season Four gave Carrie Underwood (Oklahoma) a win over Bo Bice (Alabama) in another close battle. Noticing a pattern of regional support?
  • Season Five's Taylor Hicks (Alabama), one of the more popular contestants ever, easily topped Katharine McPhee (California)
  • Season Six had little Jordin Sparks (Arizona) taking down Blake Lewis (Washington).
  • Season Seven it was David Cook (Missouri) outlasting David Archuleta (Utah).
  • And in Season Eight we had Kris Allen (Arkansas) beat Adam Lambert (California).
So the winners have come from Texas, Alabama (twice!), North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri and Arkansas. Notice any regions completely missing from this list? No West Coast or New England. Or is it that the people in those areas aren't as fanatical about Idol as the middle of the country?

Maybe it takes more to impress the citizens of California than being a singing contestant on a reality show. Apparently it's a big deal in Alabama. I think this is your conspiracy theory right here! How do you get more support outside the Midwest and the South? I say you lie about where you're from, or move just before you audition.

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Lee F

Why would anyone vote for a contestant just because they are from the same area, city or state?

If the singer is good, you vote for them; if not, you vote for someone talented.

May 29 2009 at 8:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This whole article and the comments with it are ridiculous. Chris won. Get over it! You don't mention that Chris's line was busy all night, also. You don't mention that everyone should have just ONE vote. You don't mention that Season 3 included all the race b.s., that no other season has had to deal with. You don't mention that sometimes the voice on the end of the phone says, "Thanks for voting for Contestant No. >>>," when it's a different number than you called to vote for that night. It's a reality show, People! It's a large pageant! You don't mention that Adam had thousands spent on his clothes, and Chris looked like he went to the store. You don't mention that Adam had tracks, mood lighting, and last slot on the show (the best spot). Even a lot of the gay community didn't vote for Adam because they DIDN'T WANT TO. The show reserves the right to pick the winner. It's a TV show, for goodness sake. Get over it! They will both do well!

May 28 2009 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

AI has always had issues with the voting and they always will as long as they continue to operate as they do now. The vote needs to be certified by a reputable and unbiased third party and the vote totals need to be made public. Right now its all secretive and shadowy and their is no reason to have any faith in the credibility of the voter results, regardless or who wins and whether you agree with it or not. I also think there should be a limit to the number of votes allowed per phone line or number in order to eliminate or at least limit the effect of power texting or other technological means of casting multiple votes.

May 28 2009 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marcus Gorman

I hope you're aware that California is an extremely large state, and that 95% does not include anything like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

May 28 2009 at 12:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Finally an angle to the travesty that makes sense! We already know about power voters, but I think a big case can be made about regions.

I live in San Diego and the fact that Adam's pep rally was at his old high school shows how much we didn't really care. Add to it that I didn't even know he was in town and he was at a radio station for folks primarily 30+, its a that fact that San Diego wasn't pulling for him as a city.

May 28 2009 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Look, people outside of major urban areas are going to be bigger fans of this show anyway, for a variety of reasons. I mean, come on, this show is about an unknown talent from nowhere getting recognition and stardom out there in Hollywood. Why would that story have quite the same appeal to people already living in big cities? This isn't a dig, just saying that if you're a teenage girl in the middle of nowhere, maybe you might wish you would live there.

And the other aspect, perhaps more important, is that this is a very family-friendly show with family-friendly people. If people in the Bible Belt have a chance to put one of their own in the entertainment industry, by God, they do it!

May 27 2009 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just don't understand the "Kris is exceptionally talented" thing. He's mediocre, uninteresting, and lacks anything resembling star quality. The truth is that he won because he's pretty and unchallenging.

I also take exception to the notion that Taylor Hicks was one of the most popular contestants ever. Compare his sales to that of all the other winners and you'll see that he's one of the least popular ever.

May 27 2009 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Leroy's comment
Phil Leitch

I think if you look at the sales of any of the idols that have released albums you'd see they aren't anywhere near how "popular" they might have been on the show. If 25million, roughly, are watching the show that means Underwood needs to sell like another 10million+ albums to even hit that figure.

So I think Taylor Hicks could have been really popular as a contestant, doesn't mean anybody is going to buy his album.

May 27 2009 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a New Englander Idol fan, I definitely agree people are not as fanatical up North. In fact, they're downright apathetic or resentful of the show. Even the fans of the show up here think they'll be stoned to death by shame if they should pick up the phone and vote. People up here need to invest in the show 100% like our Southern neighbors and just enjoy it fully and vote for their favorites.

If you don't vote, you have no right to complain. The show can't make it easier to do so. Hopefully, Adam Lambert's case wakes up a few northern and Californian fairweather fans of the show to start investing in the contest more. No point in enjoying/lamenting this show halfway.

And it's highly unfair and prejudice to insinuate that because southerners rally behind their contestants that they're dumb for doing so in any way. Kris and all the previous winners have been exceptionally talented and wouldn't have made it to the end with just the southern vote. If you're a Northerner and say you have more important things to do than worry about voting, you really can't complain that your favorite lost. The media and celebrity Lambert fans fails to understand all the praise and magazine covers mean nothing if they don't vote.

May 27 2009 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah I've noticed this pattern every season. I can't really say much since I'm from New York and have only voted for two people on American Idol: Kelly Clarkson and Kris Allen.

May 27 2009 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think you had Chis fans, Adam fans and Danny fans.
At that point Chris and Adam were close.
After Danny was voted off i think most of those voting fans jumped over to Chris.

May 27 2009 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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