Do Southern American Idol Fans Skew Voting Results?

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Okay, it’s time for another rant. I received a press release in my inbox today entitled, “Does Cingular’s Southern Charm Skew ‘American Idol’ Results?” My first response to the title, before even reading the release was, “Yes!!” For many seasons now, I’ve been wondering why all five American Idol winners have been from the South. Where’s the East or West Coast lovin’? Maybe it’s just coincidence, but something seems a little biased to me! Southern Idols have had Cingular saving their butts throughout each season due to the amount of text messages sent in for voting. And why wouldn’t there be a lot of text messages coming in—you sure can’t ever vote by phone because the line is ALWAYS BUSY.Did you know that Cingular Wireless has a dominant share of its subscriber base in the South—20 million to be exact!

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And that nearly 18 million of Cingular subscribers text message? So that explains why Southerner Taylor Hicks won this year; California-native Katharine McPhee just didn’t have a chance! Taylor had the entire south to back him up with their Cingular votes. So why didn’t the Southerners back up my man Chris Daughtry (who is from North Carolina), who really should’ve won in my humble opinion?Of course, it was smart for Cingular to jump into the whole text-messaging voting thing when they had the chance. I think they knew as much as the fans that American Idol was going to be a hit. But having an exclusive relationship with the show—I don’t know if that was smart on Fox’s part. How can the voting process NOT be biased? There was talk that the night before Chris was eliminated, his voting phone line was redirected to another contestant’s; thus skewing his voting results. I don’t know if this really happened, but it has happened before on previous seasons. All I know is, I’m with the daughtrygang!

From the press release:”Cingular has partnered with the show’s producers to provide text-message voting solely from Cingular phones, so it’s certainly possible that Southern subscribers might have more of a voting edge, than those in other regions in the U.S.,” Hull said. “Had ‘American Idol’ partnered with another carrier with a higher percentage of their subscriber base in another region, the results might have been different.”Following is a breakdown of Cingular subscribers by region, based on data compiled by NPD for April 2006:+ South:  46 percent (20 million subscribers)+ West: 23 percent (10 million subscribers)+ Northeast:  16 percent (6 million subscribers)+ Central:  15 percent (7 million subscribers)+ Taylor Hicks (2006): Birmingham, Alabama+ Carrie Underwood (2005): Checotah, Oklahoma+ Fantasia Barino (2004): High Point, North Carolina+ Ruben Studdard (2003): Birmingham, Alabama+ Kelly Clarkson (2002): Burleson, TexasDon’t get me wrong; we’re lucky to have southerners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. They’re both amazing singers. I just wish there was something that the show could fix with the voting process. Sometimes it just seems too one-sided to me. Maybe they should start allowing us to e-mail our votes? Then maybe it’d be a bit more fair? But I suppose in Reality TV Land, there’s no such thing as fair.

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