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'American Idol' voting controversy: AT&T and Fox deny impact on results

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AT&T and Fox have issued statements refuting accusations that tutorials in power-texting at two American Idol viewing parties in Arkansas helped hometown boy Kris Allen defeat Adam Lambert for the season 8 crown.

“Last week, countless parties were held in homes, bars, and other public places across America to watch the American Idol finale. In Arkansas, a few local AT&T employees were invited to attend two local watch parties organized by the community,” AT&T says. “Caught up in the enthusiasm of rooting for their hometown contestant, they brought a small number of demo phones with them and provided texting tutorials to those who were interested.

“Going forward, we will make sure our employees understand our sponsorship celebrates the competition, not individual contestants. That said, it’s quite a leap to suggest that a few individuals could have impacted the final results.” Nearly 100 million votes were cast on the evening of May 19. In the run-up to the Idol season finale, fan-sites for both Kris Allen and Adam Lambert provided instructions on how to ‘power-text’ votes on behalf of their favorites.

As for Fox and Idol producers FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, their statement says, “Fox and the producers of American Idol 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.” (Additional reporting by Michael Slezak)

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