'Idol's' Adam Lambert Downplays Reports of Voting Irregularities

Santilli adds that the idea that AT&T gave Allen an unfair advantage is nonsense.

"This is not new. AT&T is a sponsor of 'Idol.' They will go to your viewing parties if you ask them," said Santilli, who posted a blog about the controversy. "It's the sales people who show up. There was no evidence that they were not at Adam's (viewing) parties. They would have been thrilled. They are selling phones. They don't care who wins."

Santilli said instructions for so-called power dialing, which can allow someone to send 10 or more texts by pressing a single button, are also available online, at most "Idol" fan sites.

But it may be a violation of the rules according to the "American Idol" Web site, which states: "A weekly monitoring procedure will be in place to prevent individuals from unfairly influencing the outcome of the voting by generating significant blocks of votes using technical enhancements," the rules state. "The producers reserve the right to remove any identified 'power dialing' votes. Note that this applies to both toll-free and Text Messaging votes."

Nevertheless, Santilli insists, "There is no conspiracy ... these crop up every single year. Fans of whoever lost always cry foul. This is the first time a major publication picked up on it."

Santilli refers to the New York Times story Tuesday that ran with the headline "AT&T May Have Swayed 'Idol' Results." The story pointed out that power texts have a greater effect on voting than do single text messages or calls to the show's toll-free phone lines.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported details of voting support in a story last week about final viewing parties. The story said: "Fans at the Estes Stadium watch party took out wireless phones and started making calls and firing off text messages -- some voting on their own devices and others on phones borrowed from AT&T, which supplied about 50 display units and representatives to teach multiple "power texting.

"AT&T also made about 30 phones available in a "texting zone" at a watch party at the Peabody Little Rock hotel," the story added.

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