The New York Times is reporting that American Idol's Kris Allen may have had a little help from AT&T, one of the Fox show's biggest corporate sponsors, in winning this year.
According to the Times, AT&T provided phones for free text-messaging services at two Allen parties in Arkansas on the night of the finals. They report that AT&T reps showed party-goers how to "power text" -- cast 10 votes at the touch of a button -- which violates show rules. Power texts, according to the Times, "have an exponentially greater effect on voting than do single text messages or calls to the shows toll-free phone lines."
No similar efforts appear to have been made to provide free texting services to Adam Lambert fans. Angry Lambert supporters are now claiming in online chat boards that the competition's voting was rigged.
AT&T issued the following statement: "In Arkansas, we were invited to attend the local watch parties organized by the community. A few local employees brought a small number of demo phones with them and provided texting tutorials to those who were interested."
Fox and the American Idol producers released a joint statement saying, "(We) are absolutely certain that the results of this competition are fair, accurate and verified ... Kris Allen is, without a doubt, the American Idol. We have an independent third-party monitoring procedure in place to ensure the integrity of the voting process. In no way did any individuals unfairly influence the outcome of the competition."
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