James Durbin Voting Complaints Yet to be Addressed

James Durbin Voting

Courtesy: YouTube

In many seasons since its inception, American Idol has been dogged with accusations of voting irregularities, mainly from disgruntled fans of popular contestants who were upset that their favorites did not advance to the next round. It’s no surprise, then, when James Durbin was eliminated last week, a large number of fans took to Facebook and Twitter to lodge various complaints related to his early departure from Season Ten’s lineup. However, unlike past American Idol voting "controversies," this one appeared to be different, but unfortunately, it has virtually gone unreported by the mainstream media.

As we noted in a recent article, American Idol producers altered the order in which contestants performed their second songs last week, but failed to correctly correspond the voting numbers with their order of appearance. Many claimed that this created confusion in the minds of voters, deviating from a well-known format that many were accustomed to. As we can personally attest, James has a significant following within the special needs population and even the slightest alteration to the ordering of phone numbers could have significantly affected the total number of votes received.

However, this issue was not the only problem reported. Since our story ran, many American Idol fans have come forward to report voting irregularities when attempting to cast their votes for James. These complaints came from a large number of individuals, both on our site and elsewhere. Some of them included:

* Using the online voting system, some attempted to cast a vote for James Durbin, only to receive a confirmation notice with a picture of Haley Reinhart

* Numerous "fast busy" signals and "dead air" calls were reported on Durbin’s lines

* When attempting to call 1-866-IDOLS-01, some callers reported receiving a confirmation message stating, "thank you for voting for contestant three." Contestant three was Scotty McCreery

While there were many other types of complaints, these were the most commonly reported.

What’s most distressing about all of this is the lack of attention given by the press and the unwillingness of American Idol or Fox representatives to publicly address these complaints. In fact, many are claiming that most of the message board threads on American Idol’s Web site that attempt to discuss this topic are being deleted by administrators.

While bringing James Durbin back to the competition is not a realistic scenario, it would be nice to see this issue given the attention it deserves to help address these alleged irregularities for the benefit of fans and contestants in future seasons.

43 Responses to James Durbin Voting Complaints Yet to be Addressed

  1. Julie Niemann says:

    The same thing happened in South Africa just over a year ago on Idols SA. The person, Jason, who was never in the bottom and always scored the highest votes throughout the competition was voted off in the final just to be reinstated as the real idol after complaints from voters.
    Come on, James was so popular how can those girls get more votes!!!! Very strange! Atleast fox should man up and investigate the complaints – you never know. Love James — he is still my IDOL!!!!!!

  2. Jacque Peterson says:

    Last night when I tried voting by phone, I put in a vote for contestant # 3 (Haley), but the voice message said thank you for voting for contestant # 1 (Scotty). I voted again and that time it was for the right one. I tried voting 3rd time and again it said for contestant #1 and then I tried a 4th time and it was correct. I tried a 5 time because each time I voted one vote counter-voted the one I wanted. 5th time was correct, I then did a final 6th time and it was correct. So out of 6 votes, 2 went to the wrong contestant even though I called the same number everytime. It makes me wonder not only when James was voted off, but also when Pia was voted off if the votes were not wrong.

  3. Kim says:

    You see Nigel’s comments about this situation calling people idiots!! You should be ashamed of this situation and how dare you call viewers idiots!!!! Because we are wise to know that ai and fox screwed up and rigged this ai finale and ripped off James durbin from the title!!! You do no even have courtesy to address this situation!! I will never watch Ai again!! Not watching last night was great!! Don’t have to listen to the same old same old from the three judges!!! Goodbye!!! X-factor here I come!!!

  4. Brydon E. MacDonald says:

    James Durbin is a winner whether AI verifies that or not! The world has been introduced to a wonderful man and terrific performer. We will be following him closely.
    If AI doesn’t clear up their voting system…many of us will no longer be supporting it.

  5. May says:

    Week after week after week James Durbin has proven himself to be an exceptional singer. He’s truly remarkable and it’s really unbelievable that he was voted out when he’s obviously number one. James Durbin you are and will always be my Idol! You’re still the best!

  6. J.E.Harper says:

    A.I. has to address this situation ,so keep up the pressure America.I’m canadian and cannot vote,however I do not appreciate how our American Idol James Durbin was treated.After all this , who is James supposed to trust?
    A.I. has had over a year to address this situation , because it also happened last year.
    Nigel has a problem — he thinks everyone is stupid but him!!!

  7. katie says:

    What happened in South Africa was that text votes never reached the no. designated in time, and when they were received it was found that Jason had more than 200,000 extra votes to the winner they announced. They then made them share the title of winners, which was ridiculous. He was the winner throughout most of the competition. But SA has to be politically correct so they kept the results

  8. stacey says:

    Lauren has been their chosen one from the beginning, and the judges wanted to remain credible in choosing her from auditions, so they have pushed her through every week even though she never had one really blow away performance.

  9. Jack Riley says:

    Thank you for this update. I’m starting to believe now, after trying to give Fox and AI the benefit of the doubt for several days, that this may well be a discrimination issue. Otherwise, I think they would’ve responded to the flood of emails and calls about problems people had voting. There’s just no explanation for that.

    Just watched a clip from James’s appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show this morning. She discusses his Asperger’s and Tourette Syndrome and how inspirational he is for kids. Check it out. It’s wonderful.

  10. Janice Van Horne says:

    During the last string of comments on AutismKey, I commented that I had done some research into Idol having voting problems in the past. Apparently, the same voting problems have surfaced back to 2004. The FCC has been notified for years regarding this issue. I personally filed a complaint with the FCC and they said they were looking into it (right). They did tell me that FCC considers this a competition, not a game show (what does that mean??) At any rate, this is a regular occurrence on American Idol which confirms the fact that they know their system has been flawed for years and goodness knows, how many other contestants lost because of that??

    The fact that no other (as far as I know) Idol contestant has objected to these problems tells me that they are in an iron-clad Idol contract and their hands are tied, probably for life.

    I agree that the lack of response from FOX/Idol reeks of discrimination. We need to forward AutismKey’s latest article regarding this issue to as many press outlets as possible. If flooding FOX and AI didn’t work, maybe THIS will. I did send many many messages to local radio news stations and local tv stations. I was surprised, due to the HUGE response FOX/Idol and Twitter (Twitter crashed the night James was eliminated) that no press outlet reported on this. Now we need to flood the press outlets with this article and not stop until this is addressed. I am willing to take the time to do just that, I hope you will find the time to do the same.

    I still believe James is a victim of discrimination not only from Idol, but from the press in this country for being so afraid to publish this.

  11. kalola56 says:

    Janice….what number do you call to report this and who will I be speaking to?

  12. maria montano says:

    I just watched the interview at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXM7Wh9R15k
    and speaking of the day of the elimination an honest and naive James said “Nigel couldn’t really even look at me that day” … Off course he couldn’t’…
    Something very wrong happened last week.
    Scotty and James were never in danger and suddenly found themselves in the bottom two.
    After Pia’s elimination we were told that the 12 years old compulsive voters massively vote for the boys and not for the girls. And this is also the reason why the last winners were all boys.
    What happened last week to the 12 years old? They didn’t vote for the boys? Not even for the good looking Scotty? Come on……
    Seems to me that they gave the results backwards, James and Scotty should have been safe as usual and the two blonde girls in trouble.
    The two girls were pushed and pushed and pushed… like has been decided that this year winner is going to be a girl.
    For sure James got robbed, but I think that he is lucky that his future is not anymore in the hands of the American Idol producers.
    With only 24 hours notice 30.000 people showed up in Santa Cruz for James homecoming many more would have attended the concert with a few days more to arrange the trip.
    It’s American Idol loss, James is going to have a great career because he is hands down the best in show.

  13. J. Borle says:

    I watched the top 3 on AI last night and I really felt sad James was not there. James was consistently on top and he deserved to be in the top 3.
    I have really enjoyed this years Idol season. All of the top 10/11 contestants are so talented and were amazing to watch as they performed.

    I am very concerned after hearing about the irregularities with the voting after last weeks show. I cannot believe the lack of response from AI/Fox to people’s questions and concerns. Choosing not to address the issue is unacceptable and I truly question their integrity with how they run the voting system. I hope people keep speaking up and keep pressuring AI/Fox to investigate and come clean if James was unfairly voted off.

    I am also wondering who we can send our written complaints to in order to press for AI/Fox to wake up and seriously address whether James was unfairly voted off due to a fault in the voting system.

    I wish James all the best of success in his future career and for his family.
    James will always be my American Idol.

  14. kathleen burkholder says:

    In all my years of knowledge of music and entertainment this is the worse in-justice i have ever see,

    It shows the mentality of the public and the stupidity. James had it all. His voice was better than anyone and he was a entertainer. In order to get somewhere in thai\t feild you must poseess all the qualities of a performer and he and only he had them.

    Shame on america wake up and smell the collee you are all all all idiots

  15. anne says:

    Get over it! There are voting controversy evey year. Why should AI look into this year anymore than any other? You think James Durbin deserves special treatment because he has disorders? James Durbin is an adult and should be treated the same as any other contestant, even though that hasn’t happened. All season he has been given a free pass. The judges never giving him honest feedback. I don’t care how entertaining you think he is the fact is he sings off key and he doesn’t change up his high note anyway – it always sounds the same and is very, very sharp. I’m tired of excuses being made for him because of disorders. He is an adult. If he can sing with rock groups and write and sing songs about whores than he is more than capable of standing up for himself. His supporters are just feeding his ego with all this over the top praise. I read an article where he states he is going to take things to a different level than any other Idol and isn’t going pay out of pocket for a tour. He also stated that he isn’t going to play dives, music festivals, or be on the side lines starting for Motley Crue, because he will be at the top with his picture on the billboard. If that isn’t arrogance I don’t know what is, but I’m sure his supporters have an excuse for that too.

  16. Meg says:

    It had to have been an error with the voting system or just plan ignorance of the people voting. People can be cruel and judgmental when it comes to people with special needs. I have a son “on the spectrum” of autism and am sick over James being eliminated. I did not even know he was labeled with mild autism. He was without a doubt the best of the group, well deserving the title, and I believe will flourish in his career even though being eliminated. He may be much better off having been eliminated. We have seen this in the past. American Idol better change their voting system or they are going to have ZERO viewers!!!!!!!!

  17. Peggy Kanneman says:

    I voted numerous times for James Durbin on line and the codes never worked or accepted for James. It gave me a different code to enter but not his picture. Who the heck was I voting for if there is no picture. I feel, they should of allowed James to stay and then do a double elimination the following week due to faulty voting lines. Then it would of been fair to everybody and they would of had time to fix their problems.

  18. Marie says:

    I was a huge fan of James and the show itself. If there were voting discrepencies, the network should address the issue, in all fairness to James. I don’t think I will bother to watch the show again, along with allot of other people I know. We feel the voting system is flawed and it is not worth investing the time to watch the shows, if we can’t trust the voting system, what is the point. Just pick your favourite 17 year old and go right to marketing.

  19. Janice Van Horne says:

    Hi Kalola56! I tried answering you earlier but my net was down…best thing to do and this is what I have been doing is: call the local radio, tv, newspaper numbers and ask for their e mail address and copy and send the above article to them, and explain it is from AutismKey, and what AutismKey is.

    I just finished watching James on Ellen (Pacific Coast time) and felt so much better to see him so happy. The audience gave him a standing ovation. Ellen admitted that she had him pegged to win the whole thing. There are many people in the Entertainment field that were rooting for James, too.

    By the way, Anne, you have a right to state your feelings; however, dredging up things about anybody’s past to negate their present is a destructive thing to do. I believe you don’t know the definition of arrogance. James has worked his way to where he is with much courage and confidence that he can achieve his dreams. When he was a teenager, he stopped taking the prescription drugs that were given to him for his disorders and decided to accept himself for how God made him. By the way, Anne do you have anyone in your family that has been diagnosed with either of his disabilities? I doubt it. You wouldn’t be so cruel if you did. God bless you Anne (you know not what you say) and I hope that the coming days are going to be happier for you.

  20. Lesa Lott says:

    I feel even if James did not win he was definitly the best. I hope he has a long and successful career. I can waiting to buy his album along with alot of other people. Best of luck James!!!!!

  21. Marion Philpott says:

    Week after week I was mesmerized by James performances, his rendition of Uprising (Muse) was spine tingling. I was gutted when he was elimated, I now have no interest in watching the remainder of the series. He was without a doubt the strongest contestant. James you truly are an amazing performer and you should be so proud of yourself. James you rock!!!

  22. Natalie says:

    I’m STILL sad that James has been eliminated and won’t be in the finale. I’m happy for Lauren and Scotty, as I feel they are nice young people and deserve a chance…yet I think it will be a rather boring finale performance show with two country crooners! American Idol fans deserve to have the show address the problems, so that this does NOT happen in the future. The voting system needs revamped so it is more fair. Nigel Lithgoe’s recent mean-spirited comments were patronizing and downright RUDE.

  23. Janice Van Horne says:

    Hey! Are there any attorneys out there that would be interested in taking a class action suit case against FOX for fraud? There are thousands of people that are victims of fraud here with this voting scheme. If won, the proceeds would go to Autism and Turettes organizaitons. What do you think??

  24. Randall says:

    It’s not rigged, just easily fooled. If you listened carefully, you would have heard Lauren’s brother say, “I’ve been texting for hours.” That’s what’s happening, kids are spending hours voting. It’s going to be a shame for Scotty to win as he has the least talent of the bunch. His voice is weak and his harmonies, well, they were awful. The day Pia was cut, was the day it went south. People are outraged. Everyone I know that is an Idol fan won’t watch again. Steven Tyler isn’t very good at keeping stone faced when good people are cut, he knows there’s something up.

  25. Katy says:

    James Durbin is number one and everyone knows it. The producers at Idol have the power to control who goes home and who stays. Cant wait till James does an album!!!!

  26. Veronica says:

    Well, I just watched the Ellen youtube video too–the interview and the performance and it was just amazing. Highly recommend it. It will lift your spirits. You can still write askfox at fox dot com about any voting difficulties you had. You can still write 19 Entertainment (the parent company that owns AI), and any and all newspaper outlets, including large Bay Area papers like the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, as well as television news stations. Vote Fair dot org wrote me back and advised that if a newspaper publishes an article about this, we can link it to the wikipedia page on American Idol Voting Controversy.

    I was glad to read that when this happened in South Africa, the South African AI reinstated the contestant–that was the right thing to do. Clearly, there was voting error. There’s all kinds of evidence that James was one of the 2 most popular on the show (with Scotty)–google trends, USA Today poll (in which 80% said they believed he should WIN AI), even the fraudulent power dialing poll sites–as well as the fact he was NEVER in the bottom 3. It feels good to take some action.

    Class action suit is a risky thing for a lawyer to take on, but there might be a risk-taking, retired lawyer out there who’s up for the challenge.

  27. Veronica says:

    PS: You can buy James’s singles on ITunes right now (or wait until the finale is on in your area to do it). :)

  28. Steven Mac says:

    Take a look at what vote fair dot org slash americanidol dot html wrote on their website about the voting! Very illuminating and disturbing.

  29. J. Borle says:

    Hi Janice. Thank you for your suggestions re contacting Radio and TV stations etc. to get their email addresses.


    Also Anne, I’ve watched AI every year since it first began and for some reason only became aware of the voting irregularities after Jame’s shocking elimination.

    This year has been my most favorite season of all. The talent amongst all the contestants has been incredible. Over the last few weeks it has been amazing to watch the performances of all the top 10/11 contestants. I can only imagine the amount of time, energy, personal sacrifices, determination and commitment each contestant must bring to each and every performance.

    I think it is unacceptable whether voting irregularities occurred in past years or in 2011. Considering the investment each contestant has made the unwillingness for AI/Fox to acknowledge and correct the problem and make it right is completely unjust!!! Why should viewers even bother watching if the contestant with the best performances earns their way to the top only to be voted off due to a fault in the voting system.

    TO BE FAIR TO ALL CONTESTANTS AI/Fox must correct the voting system or viewers will choose not to tune in to the show at all!!!!

  30. olivia J. says:

    I stopped watching AI when Kris Allen won the title over Adam Lambert in the finale a couple of seasons ago. Thats when I realised that this show is complete bulls*it! In my mind there was no way Kris had gotten more votes than Adam, and I still believe it to my very core. Although I dont watch the show, my sister happened to show me a video of one of James’ performances. The guy clearly has talent. However, Im not surprised he was voted off because of how inconsistent and stupid the voting system is. I heard Simon and Paula are coming up with their own version of American X-Factor…byebye American Idol.

  31. Janice Van Horne says:

    Thanks Steven Mac for your tip on the Vote Fair website. I read the entire article and as a result I believe that if Idol continues the way it has been, Idol will slowly fade away. It looks like the addition of on line voting confused the issue even more. I don’t think anyone really knows who won or who didn’t win at any particular time because the chances of making mistakes are so prevalent. I just don’t see this going on much longer without Idol being sued for fraudulent voting methods. There are just too many ways for the results to be inaccurate. Ten years is a long time for a tv show to be on….perhaps Idol has bottomed out??

  32. Janice Van Horne says:

    James has a gift (and it isn’t only his incredible talent). I think he was put here to be an all around American Idol, and that’s what he will be.

    Because of James, I now feel hope that my granddaughter – diagnosed with Aspberger’s – has a REAL chance to be successful and happy in this world. Prior to James appearing on Idol, I didn’t know what to think about my granddaughter’s future. Now I truly believe it will turn out well. Thank you James Durbin!! Thank you thank you thank you!! You are my family’s Idol!!

  33. Greta Pihema says:

    James is the BEST. YOU SHOULD HAVE WON.I will buy your c.d’s.

    I will not watch idol now that James has gone.

    Something went wrong.

    James is the only one with talent.

  34. gloria turner says:

    i am also a canadian and cannot vote but james was the best and even seniors i know were shocked he was voted off never should have happened

  35. Cheryl Root says:

    The support that James received @ his homecoming speaks volumes for his talent! I was there. Music has been an intregal part of my life. I am 63 now. 30 years ago I was offered a position to travel the united states to scout new talent for possible recording contracts. This boy was a star before Idol, and will continue to be a star. He has a promising career. Simon Cowell and Steven Tyler are the only judges on Idol that can recognize talent in my opinion. Who else in Idol history has had 30,000 people at their homecoming? Durbin Day was magical ! I am so fortunate that I could be a part of his homecoming!!!!

  36. Veronica says:

    Completely agree with last many posters. Go James! Rise above AI. For anyone who is in Los Angeles area, apparently James has tweeted he’s going to be at Hollywood and Vine at 1:00 Monday to honor Simon Cowell.

  37. elsper says:

    I am also a James Durbin fan who had trouble with voting by phone for James Wed. 5/11. I have sent an email to: ask fox at fox dot com and a copy of the email to wbaine at santacruzsentinel dot com. Wallace Baine is a newpaper reporter for The SantaCruz Sentinel who has followed James jouney on AI. He wrote glowing reports each week on James performances and was one of the people who worked on AI so James Durbin would be able to have his “Durbin Day” parade which he so rightly deserved.
    Why is this being swept under the rug by AI/Fox….I truly hope that our voices will be heard and acknowledge… there are too many people complaining about this fraudulent voting system.

  38. Dave Harding says:

    Firstly, I do not have autism, so I don’t have any reason to biased one way or the other about Mr. Durbin. The fact is, he had the second best voice, next to Jacob Lusk, but he was the most creative performer in the history of AI, which, in my opinion should have made him the American Idol. But it didn’t, and one has to wonder why.

    I have been railing against the AI voting system since Chris Daughtrey was voted off in fourth place five years ago. I believe the problem that year had more to do with speed dialing than AI’s manipulation of voters. This new charge leveled against AI is, in my opinion, more serious than the fact that one can vote 970 times like some enterprising soul claims he did on Facebook or 40 times like I did for the finale (the first time I actually voted this year because of my perception that the judges were blatantly trying to sway the vote).

    I have a feeling that the future success of all the contestants will prove whether the voting was rigged or not. If Scotty didn’t receive the votes AI claims he received then he will obviously be less successful than James, Haley or Lauren, the three who have the best chance to succeed of the top ten. My money is on James, that is, if he is mentored by savvy producers and diminishes the number of times he relies on “the primal scream.” Someone has to tell him it can become either annoying,unnecessary, or disturbingly predictable.

    As far as Idol is concerned, the longer they let the voting travesty continue the more viewers they’ll lose when the scandal hits the fan, and it inevitably will. Does anyone honestly believe that the competition, like NBC and the Voice, aren’t going to eventually throw their hat in the ring and challenge Idol’s validity. I know if I were them I would.

  39. Kathy Snipes says:

    I have called fox about the problems I had voting for James! I left my phone number, but never heard anything.
    During the times I voted for James I called 5701 and 5705, it cut in on the call and said Thanks for voting
    for contestant number three! I also had trouble getting through either line. James should have won! I know American idol
    Is over but, the whole idea of the show is America voting. The problems with voting should be acknowledged!

  40. Lori says:

    I’m celebrating James and all of the success that he has had on AI throughougt the season and then on national TV… Jimmy Fallon’s surprise just topped it all off, when I thought he was done with performances in NYC! So glad to see him so happy! If you missed it, check it out!… it’s online. So glad he doesn’t have an AI contract tying him down! He can orchestrate his own career now and I can only imagine what he will do with that! The only thing I’m sad about is that I can’t buy more of James on iTunes yet… I’m sure it will be there within a year, though. Can’t wait to see him in his first concert, also. Will see him on the AI tour, but seeing him in his self-created concert will be amazing! Most of all, the international awareness and voice that he has brought to autism is just so inspirational and hopeful in the advancement and treatment of all who have this condition and all who love and care for them, just as Jame’s mom, sisters, extended family, and Heidi do. You can tell that he’s proud of that, in interviews he’s done. So for me, who cares about the AI results, other than the fact that many of us, including James, were blindsided. And we did cry for days and did try to make sense of it all…. it took me over a week to even watch it back on DVR. It’s AI’s loss… just hoping that he’ll still work with Jimmy Iovene and Jim Jonsen as he develops his career… you can tell that they are as invested in James as all of us are. Go for it, James! I’m so happy for you, Heidi, and Hunter, and all of your family! We know you now and we are waiting for you to bring more of your special self to us. You have arrived and you’ve done an amazing thing in this by bringing a voice to those who also live daily with Tourettes and Asperger’s/ Autism Spectrum Disorder. Wow, James! I think that you’ve acheived even more than you were aiming for! We love you and will support all that you do!

  41. i think that there could have been some complications with the votes when James left, i voted for him EVERY WEEK couse i love him that much! i remember i voted 3 times the week he left…… and cried………. but i still love him and always will! (psssttt! can’t wait to buy his album!!!!)

  42. i still say they were WRONG about kicking him off! he should’ve won! this was the second season where me AND my older brother actually AGREED on who should win as far back as the auditions! (the first was Adam Lambert <3) could it be that there was complications on votes when he got runner-up instead of winning? couse when that happened it pissed off ALOTTA people INCLUDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. J. Borle says:

    You couldn’t have said it more perfectly. Thank you!
    I am wondering what options people have now to stay up on what’s happening
    with James now as he persues his career.
    I can’t seem to find any recent news.
    I was hoping to buy Jame’s songs on ITunes .. are you saying they aren’t available.

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