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.