antiTainment NEWS: A New American Idol Vote Controversy

05-15-04 Keavin
Update: Another “American Idol” voting controversy is brewing over the ouster of La Toya London this week. Some very vocal fans are again questioning if the voting is rigged because they can not believe that London, considered a far better singer, lost out to Hawii native Jasmine Trias. 

After Trias’s final performance on Tuesday night, Idol judge Simon Cowell told her that she had "better hope that every household in Hawaii has at least five telephones" because she would need all the help she could get to stay in the competition. Seems that Hawaiians took those words to heart, and dialed away to keep their favorite daughter in the running. 

The other judges were less harsh, but also questioned the quality of her performance. This prompted the young singer to break into tears as Idol host Ryan Seacrest gave viewers the number to call to vote for her. 

Despite having the smallest population of any of the states in the union, Hawaii reportedly represented the third most calls for voting through Verizon’s network. The only states to log more votes were New York and California. 

Fox and the show’s producers do not release voting data, which has prompted speculation from La Toya fans that the fix was in.  Others feel that the time difference between the continental United States and Hawaii came into play, with a three to six-hour lag time, more Hawaiian’s were able to get through on the voting lines because the folks back on the mainland were not tying up the lines. 

There is also word that some Hawaiian radio stations were broadcasting the voting number for Trias over the air, hours before the program aired locally. 

Late last month, another voting controversy erupted when contestant Jennifer Hudson was voting off and La Toya and Fantasia Barrino joined her in the bottom three. This prompted accusations of a rigged vote and racism. Elton John even chimed in and accused the vote of being racist. 

This week Barrino once again joined La Toya at the bottom, with the least amount of votes. Fans on the net are once again speculating that race came into play in the vote, since both singers were considered the most talented of the final four that remained. 

Update: LaToya discounted the racist accusations in an interview with the New York Daily News. She offered up speculation that her and Barrino’s similar style played a part in the vote. "It could be a factor of splitting the vote." On the other hand, she also speculated, "It could be that people assumed we were safe." 

When asked about the controversy surrounding the vote, she said, "I can understand why people are upset." However, she would not get into some of the theories floating around about racism or voting flaws. She instead took the high road and the only negative thing she had to say about her experience, "The most frustrating thing about the show is seeing good people go…You don't imagine it or picture it. You know, and they know, that they deserve to be there." 

La Toya London leaves the show with her head held high and continues to display the class that she held throughout the competition. 



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