Fox is defending itself against claims that corporate sponsor AT&T unfairly swayed the show's outcome by providing Kris Allen fans with free "power texts."
According to The New York Times, AT&T provided phones for free text-messaging services at two Allen parties in Arkansas on the night of the finals. Citing sources, The Times reports that AT&T reps showed party-goers how to "power text" -- cast 10 votes at the touch of a button -- which violates show rules.
No similar efforts appear to have been made to provide free texting services to Adam Lambert fans, who have complained that the competition's voting was rigged.
On Wednesday, Fox, Idol producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia denied the claims in a statement:
"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."
AT&T also defended itself in a separate statement:
"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. 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," the AT&T statement concluded, "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."
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