It’s been over for a week, but the controversies surrounding the latest season of American Idol are just heating up. Major corporate sponsor AT&T is accused of influencing the outcome in favor of winner Kris Allen.
The phone giant offered phones with free text-messaging services at parties organized by Allen fans in Arkansas. Only AT&T network phones could be used to text in fan votes. Toll-free numbers were available for people not on AT&T’s network or who wanted to call from a landline.
Many fans of runner-up Adam Lambert aren’t too happy about AT&T’s appearance of favoritism, saying no similar opportunity was afforded to fans of the glam rocker.
Fox Broadcasting wouldn’t comment for a New York Times article. A spokesman for AT&T said, “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.”
People at the Arkansas parties says AT& representatives offered instructions on how to send multiple texts by pressing just one button. So sure, this could have increased the number of votes for Allen, but with nearly 100 million cast, could it have made that much of a difference? Fox did not release how many votes separated the two contestants, so we’ll probably never know for sure.