American Idol Miscount? Simon Says “Good-bye”. 

05-26-03 antiGUY
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest gave out two sets of wrong numbers during the series second season finale last Wednesday night. He first informed the two finalist Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard as well as the millions of viewers that just 13,000 votes separated the two contestants. He later corrected that number to 1,300. Turns out it was really 130,000 votes. Over 24 million votes were cast and with Studdard coming out on top and becoming the new “American Idol”. 

Now there are rumblings that misdialing from viewers may have affected the final outcome. AP reports that one telecommunications company, Cinergy Communications in Evansville, Indiana, handled more than 240,000 misdialed calls. According to Cinergy's residential marketing manager, Joey Randolph, 169,000 of those votes would have gone to Aiken and only 72,000 would have gone to Studdard if viewers had dialed the correct phone number. Which leads to speculation that the close vote could have come out different. 

A Fox spokesperson told AP that Fox can't be responsible for people who dial the wrong number.

Simon Says “Good-Bye”?

In related Idol news, the judge that everyone loves to hate, Simon Cowell, says that he will not return to the series. 

"If I were the viewer, I'd be sick of me by now," Cowell said after the show’s finale on Wednesday night (5/21). 

The next morning he appeared on the Los Angeles morning show “Good Day Live” and added,  "I'd love to be able to say yes ... but I can't," Cowell said. "Why can't I say yes? I'll tell you what -- because I can't. And you know it's not about the money anymore." 

Cowell is currently executive producing a new dating show for CBS titled “Cupid” which is set to begin airing this summer. 

FOX Chairman Sandy Grushow put on an optimistic face when asked if Simon would return. "I would never accuse Simon of negotiating," Grushow said. "We've had a lot of conversations, and he's very interested in being part of the franchise. We have every expectation that he'll be back." 

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