Friday, May 12, 2006

Serious Idol Problem

-Yeah...I'm still talking about it. The elimination of Chris Daughtry on Wednesday's American Idol show has apparently gotten to disastrous proportions in the minds of "Idol Nation", and set the show, and it's producers, up for some serious problems. The outrage after Chris was sent home is like nothing Fox, or Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe (right), have ever dealt with before, based on various reports I'm reading from around the country. This is causing the viewing public...the people the producers should be anxious to call for some answers.

Internet traffic, and newspaper columnists who regularly cover television, are calling for changes to Idol's voting system and disclosure by the producers of just how they A) arrive at the announced result, B) have set up the voting system, and C) why it seems to not be working. Obviously, this situation is not going to change the course of human history. It's not the end of the world to Chris Daughtry. He's obviously going to be more than fine with all the offers that are already rolling in. But, many Idol fans feel hurt and disappointed that their favorite show's basic selecting who stays alive by flawed.

Some are screaming for Daughtry to be let back into the show as a "wild card" because many Chris supporters claim to have either, not been able to get through during the two hours of voting this week, or when they did get through, their vote was credited to one of the other contestants. When someone calls in to vote, the call is normally answered by a recording from that contestant thanking you for voting for them. Some Daughtry voters claim that Katharine, or Elliott's voice thanked them for voting for them...not Chris. You'll remember there was a screw-up in the numbers that were super-imposed on the screen one week last season...and the producers had to throw out the results and "re-do" that show. The Daughtry supporters are asking for a "re-do" for Chris. Don't expect that.

Those who didn't get through during the voting period are saying...if you didn't get through for Chris...but you could get through to vote for another contestant, the show's system is either rigged to guarantee a certain outcome...or it is flawed to the point where the results are not ever going to accurately reflect America's true feelings. If anyone can't get through during an allotted time period while trying to vote for any of the contestants, there's no chance of it being a fair result.

It's probably time for the Idol people to re-think their whole system. Even they probably didn't expect the show to be as popular as it is when they put together the voting system 5 years ago. They are probably at the point where they need to offer other ways of voting ...i.e. internet, e-mail, allowing the lines to stay open longer, etc.

They should also consider changing the voting to either allow one vote...where the caller could vote for their favorite three contestants. Or, they should allow one vote where the caller votes for who they would like to see eliminated. That way, it's a referendum on who should go...not a race to see how many times someone can vote for their favorite in two hours.

Of course, as I said in my post yesteday, one of the show's major sponsors is Cingular Wireless. And, I'm sure, they have a sweet deal with Fox that the network doesn't want to mess up. It's probably a huge money-maker for Cingular as long as Fox keeps those phonelines burning with voters and text messages every Tuesday night. The producers would have a hard time altering that deal with, nothing is likely to least not this season.

I'm sure when the show comes on next Tuesday, young Mr. Seacrest will say something about the overwhelming response that the show has gotten to Chris being sent home. And, he'll say that you have to be sure to vote for your favorite...or they might suffer the same fate as Daughtry. That's his keep those phone lines hot. But, it should be the job of the show's least now that people are taking the whole thing so make sure it's a fair competition for the show's talent. They would be better off in the long run to make the voting system clear to the public...and ensure that the real fan favorites don't go home early.

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