In a scenario that's remniscent of the 2000 presidential elections (except that it's, like, one-bajillionth as important), fans of American Idol's Kris Allen are being accused of possible voter fraud -- with AT&T being named as an alleged aider and abettor. The New York Times reports that representatives of the phone company -- the only network via which Idol fans can vote -- attended two Idol "watch parties" in Arkansas (eds. note: Allen's home state; the plot thickens) on the night of the finale. They not only provided attendees with phones for free text messaging, but also gave lessons on "power texting," a method by which 10 or more texts can be sent with the push of a single button. The newspaper cites two ways in which this may violate Idol voting rules:
"The show broadcasts an on-screen statement at the end of each episode warning that blocks of votes cast using “technical enhancements” that unfairly influence the outcome of voting can be thrown out. And the show regularly states that text voting is open only to AT&T subscribers and is subject to normal rates."
The Times notes, however, that fan sites for both Allen and competitor Adam Lambert offered information on how to power text in the weeks leading up to the show's finale.
In any case, none of this information is likely to change the show's outcome. Lambert fans, however, can take solace in the fact that Allen's triumph is unlikely to result in any foreign wars or economic collapses.