"American Idol" voter fraud?

I’m not saying that it’s going on, and I have no reason to think that it is. But certainly it’s been suggested before, when pretty good singers have been given the boot and no-tals have “inexplicably” survived for another week, or two, or six. You know who I mean. Maybe.

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that the show’s producers decide that Donna Diva should make it through to the last episode of the season so that the ratings will stay high, while Davie Dud should get dumped. Who’s ensuring that the phone tallies are on the up-and-up? Is there a big accounting firm keeping an eye on things, like in the Oscars? Would the FCC get involved in something like this?

Every year this happens, and every year we have threads about American Idol in which people say they voted 100 times for someone who WASN’T the best singer but they thought they needed the help, and that very week some good singer is booted or close to booted, and it’s pointed out “Well, if people would just vote, every single time they vote, with every single vote, for the person they thought WAS THE BEST, that would not happen.” And then the next year it happens again. “I can’t believe Greg Greatvoice was kicked off instead of Seamus Shittysinger! Who did I vote for? Oh, I voted for Martha Mediocre, I figured Greg was safe and Martha needed the votes.”

THAT is why shitty singers sometimes last a little longer than they should.

Not that I follow either shows, but from watching like twenty minutes of Dancing With the Stars with my roommate tonight, and finding out they do a half judges/half voter method, maybe American Idol should do that, to balance out the good singers with the merely popular ones.

And I know that the early round of AI are entirely judge-based, but they are judges for a reason. They (in general) know who will make better entertainers based on skill. But then again, by going with just audience votes, they get a better judge of what the public will actually like, and in theory, the producers want to make a star out of someone the public will love, so they can get more money.

I have watched little of American Idol, but I do think the fix is in sometimes.
For example, Antonella Barba, who had some provocative photos online got the boot right after there were rumbings of racism about a girl, a think her name was Frenchy, getting kicked off the show by the producers for some topless photos of her online.

I just think it’s fishy that the Antonella got the boot right after the controversy started. I think the show producers just wanted her off the show to save face.

Antonella was lousy. Fact is, tastes differ. You’ll see fans and detractors of every single Idol candidate as you will on other discussion boards. And people will vote in blocks. I’m glad we’re minus a country singer this time because their fans vote in groups and we ended up with Carrie Underwood (ick). Same goes for rockers, rappers, what have you.

On the first Dancing With the Stars, a soap opera hottie won even though she was by far not the better dancer, however a vast army of her fans mobilized to vote for her.

You pretty much can’t escape the vagaries of ‘democracy’ when you trust voters to make decisions. I give you Dubya as the prime example.

I have heard who terrible she was. Why wasn’t she kicked off weeks eariler? I would think that if your name was plastered all over the place with provocative photos behind it, you would get more votes then less. Just sounds fishy to me.

Huh? I was hearing about the Antonella/Frenchie thing for weeks before she finally left. And if they felt they had to save face, they would have kicked her off - her getting voted off (legit or fixed) doesn’t include their making the stand necessary to save face. I’m sorry, but your suspicions don’t jive with either the facts or with logic.

You’re not making sense. She probably did get more votes because of her notoriety, and that’s why she wasn’t voted off weeks earlier. It’s consistent with your own logic in your third sentence above. How could that possibly be fishy?

My wife (the Idol fan) suggests looking at “Vote for the Worst” dot com.

My “Idol” question is, What the hell chance do the guys have on “Donna Summer” night, followed the next week by “No Talent blond chick from No Doubt” night?

How do we think the gals would do on “Leon Redbone” night?

Stupid ass show anyway. Contributes more to my alcohol problem than Anheiser-Busch. (you see, because I have to go to the garage and drink while its on. We have f-ing dish tv)

My question remains. How do we know there’s not fraud in the phone tallies? What safeguards, if any, does the show have to prevent tampering by the producers or network?

I don’t think there would be any legal reason NOT to fix the votes if they wanted to do so.

Simon Cowell owns the franchise and he has to market the winner - so let’s say it got down to the wire and he saw that people were intentionally trying to screw up the results by voting for the worst. Simon is no idiot when it comes to business and I think he would make an executive decision to throw out the official tally and quietly pick the top two singers who actually have a prayer at earning some money with future CD’s and concert tours. And let’s be honest here - assuming little Sanjay actually remains in this contest for the next few weeks, do you seriously think they would let him win or even get in the final two? If you were the producers, would you allow it?

I mean, if certain people can fix a Presidential election in Florida do you think it would be all that difficult to fiddle with the results of telephone voting for a Fox reality show? It is not like Fox has lofty moral standards to uphold.

This is how I see it:

– You’re generally going to have the right Final 4. I say “generally” because many people felt Constantine should have lasted at least that long in S4, and many others felt that Jasmine did not belong there in S3. But the F4 generally consists of people who deserve to have gotten that far. I don’t think that will include Sanjaya.

– Now, people are not always happy with the configuration of the F4. Last season had one of, if not the, best F4s. Chris Daughtry, who has become the real star of that season; Katharine McPhee, who may have had the most pure votes (more on that later) of any contestant ever; Elliott Yamin, who had fought his way past people who’d seemed to outclass him at first, but did not have his staying power; and Taylor Hicks, who was an unstoppable fan favorite (at least on the show). So why did Daughtry, who seemed to have a lock on F2, get voted off? He deserved a chance to win, right? I don’t know how that happened, and the theories are too complex to get into, but my point is, once the field gets that narrow, that’s when you start talking about “deserve.” That’s the level of the real contenders. Again, I don’t think Sanjaya will get that far.

– So about those pure votes. Contestants in the later rounds, or contestants who last longer than their performances seem to warrant, usually do so with the support of viewers who will vote for them no matter what. They’re from the south, or from someplace where people really want to support one of their own, or they have devoted fangirls, or they represent some other demographic, like Carrie with her entire sorority voting for her. (Not that she wouldn’t have done well anyway, but every chapter? That’s a lot of votes.) Katherine had none of those advantages (her finale-night hometown party on the Universal CitiWalk was…pretty big, if you count all the people who just happened to be on the CitiWalk that night, minus the 20 or so people who planned to be there.), but she got to Final 2 anyway. People must have liked her a lot, for no altruistic reason, and that’s a lot to be proud of.

– And that’s why I see Sanjaya getting as far as sixth, perhaps even fifth, because he doesn’t need pure votes for that. I know he has devoted fangirls voting for him, I suspect many Indian-Americans are voting, and I hear that Hawai’ians are taking advantage of their time zone, just as they did with Jasmine. And I strongly suspect that many of these people are voting for the entire two hours. So he’s going to be unstoppable for a long time.

Right now, he could easily blow past any combination of Phil, Gina, Haley, and the two Chris’s. The only people who are safe from him are Melinda, LaKisha, Blake and Jordin. Those four are talented and popular, so they would be the right Final 4. But Chris S’s fanbase has deflated on him, so he’s on borrowed time, and I don’t think Phil has the military vote, or much of a fanbase either. Gina, Haley and Chris R. seem to be building credibility, so any one of them could theoretically get to sixth or fifth place, if Sanjaya’s combined fanbases were not blocking them. As it is, though, I think anyone who’s vulnerable to my projected F4, is also vulnerable to Sanjaya. He can’t get past them, but he’ll come darned close.

– So why vote for someone who you don’t think is going to win? Because below F4, there’s a sense that it doesn’t matter as much; you just want your favorite to come back another week. I can’t say I’m down with voting for someone you think “needs” it, if you really thought they sucked, but if you just happen to like a particular contestant for your own reasons, then you’re not obligated to vote for the best. Who decides who’s the “best,” anyway? It’s really a war of attrition. And it is a popularity contest, regardless of what Simon says.

No, he doesn’t. It’s owned by Simon Fuller.

I wonder how the results would change if they had callers call in to “vote who you want kicked off the show” instead of voting for your favorite.
I think that would be an easier way to get rid of the bad singers

AI says that they reserve the right to throw out votes if they believe they were made by power dialers or other such means. Since we hear a lot of talk or a lot of people using power dialers, I figure that means that as long as a singer is getting them lots of publicity they are safe as long as the producers want them on the show. Once they decide they don’t want them “Oh, look here’s a big block of power dialer votes! Let’s throw those out, unfotunately that means soandso is going to leave.” Antonella got them some publicity but it was getting to be bad publicity, time for her to go. Sanjaya is getting them tons of publicity, even more so than the seasons with John Stevens and Keven Covais. This kid is advertising gold. Yeah, he’ll be around a little while longer, but only as long as they want him.

Actually, Simon Cowel’s employer offers the record contracts - Sony/BMG.

Winning American Idol does not guarantee anything other than a recording contract. It is entirely possible that this year’s winner is not economically viable for Sony/BMG. In other words, Sanjaya could win this year but we would never hear the CD.

If Sterns fans vote it is not fraud. It is only fraud if the cheat. They are as entitled to vote as anyone else.

If they’d add that feature to the “voting for” capability, they’d vastly increase the number of voters.

And if they only made it available to text-messagers, they’d make a mint.

I saw an episode of the Australian Dancing With The Stars last year and judge Paul Mercurio said that during the week everyone he spoke to bemoaned the voting out of the previous week’s “loser”. When he asked them if they had voted for whoever it was every single person replied, “No.”

Look…you have the goddam burned-into-titanium-with-a-laser last man standing format, ensuring that consistency and placement mean absolutely nothing, and a contestant can get bounced not only for just one subpar performance, but one slightly less than great performance at the wrong time. You have completely unrestricted voting (the only show I know of that has this), meaning that the ones who go far are the ones with fanatically loyal fans willing to waste an entire evening on this task. You have the bass-ackward concept of votes counting toward who doesn’t take the walk, leading to the kind of ridiculous machinations already mentioned which a contestant-by-contestant ranking system would do away with completely. You have the ever-clueless media hype machine raising 50 kinds of hell over things as trivial as hairstyles (Sanjya Malakar) or trying to inject some entertainment into this spectacle (Taylor Hicks), giving them tons of attention and free hype they never could’ve gotten otherwise. You have voters who, plain and simple, don’t care a whit about singing ability and give their support to whoever looks cute, or sound sincere, or seems to have fun on stage, or any other non-talent related reason, AND voters who support an unpopular choice out of sheer spite. You have Ryan Seacrest proudly trumpeting the grand vote total while, until almost the very end, never revealing who got how many, making it impossible to tell where all but one or two people stand.

Who needs fraud? The system is screwy enough as it is. Which is generally the case with reality TV.