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antiTainment NEWS: Elton John Calls American Idol Voters Racist, Simom Cowell Disagrees


04-28-04 Keavin
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Elton John has chimed in on the American Idol controversy by calling voting for the show last week "incredibly racist.” John pointed to the vote that sent contestant Jennifer Hudson packing and the fact that the three contestants that received the fewest votes were black women. Idol franchise co-creater and judge Simon Cowell does not agree with John but sees last week's upset as a need shake up for this season's competition. 

John rehearsed with the contestants a few weeks ago when they performed his music during the weekly live talent competition on Fox TV. During a press conference to announce his new tour with a symphony (see Day in Rock report), John addressed the controversy surround the vote last week. "The three people I was really impressed with, and they just happened to be black, young female singers, and they all seem to be landing in the bottom three," John told reporters. 

"These three girls would have the talent to be members of The Royal Academy or Juilliard," John said. "They have great voices. The fact that they are constantly in the bottom three, and I don't want to set myself up here, I find it incredibly racist." 

According to Nielsen Media Research, 19% of all black households watch American Idol, compared to 15% of white households. 

Cowell addressed reporters during a press conference on Wednesday to launch a branded “American Idol” cellphone. When asked if he agreed with those that feel that last week’s vote was racist, Cowell responded with "a definite no.” He also addressed an accusation that the producers rig the vote by stating that an independent company audits the votes.

Cowell saw another reason for the results. "There are a lot of passive viewers who complain about the results but don't pick up the phone or text a message.

"We needed a shake-up and I think it will change ... my gut feeling is we are going to attract 5-6 million new voters and the better singers now have a chance." 

Cowell also gave reporters his prediction about who will make it to the finals. "I am going to predict La Toya and Diana to be the two finalists ... It's just who I'm guessing America will pick. If it was talent it would be La Toya and Fantasia, but I just don't think it will be those two," he said. 

Fueled by controversy, the amount of votes this week actually topped last year’s finale. Over 28 million votes were tallied and in the end, it was 16-year-old John Stevens that was voted off. Stevens reported received more than 4 million votes. 

With both male contestants in the bottom two this week, some might start to say that the voting was sexist? 

Previous article - American Idol Controversy Over Jennifer Hudson Vote: An Analysis
 


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