Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Hard to believe it's been less than two weeks since the shock and awe of James Durbin's elimination from American Idol. Since then, the web has been all abuzz with how the voting might have been—let's put this politely—compromised.

On the GT Facebook wall, as well as AI discussion boards all over the internet (especially this lengthy thread at the site Autism Key) Durbin fans are reporting problems with the voting system. Many California call-in voters claim they were never able to get past the all-circuits-are-busy signals. (Although one fan reports that when she tried dialing in one vote for Scotty McCreery instead, to test the system, it went right through.)

Other voters cite technical malfunction. When one online voter clicked in a vote for James, a picture of Haley Reinhart appeared onscreen. Others claimed when they voted for James, they received a confirmation for Lauren Alaina. A third problem cited (and this one more insidious, since it involves a degree of human calculation) is the misleading voting number assigned to James that week. In previous weeks, each AI contestant was assigned a voting number that corresponded to the order in which they performed. But on that last, fateful night, although James performed in the Number 1 and Number 8 slots, he was arbitrarily assigned voting numbers 1 and 5. Who was assigned voting number 8? Lauren Alaina. Since James had never, ever, been in the bottom three right up to the night he got eliminated, whereas Lauren had been in the bottom three just the week before, well, it's enough to turn us all into conspiracy theorists. (Read more)

Personally, I don't think it's going to hurt James one iota to be out of the running on AI. Whether or not there's any skullduggery involved, James getting voted off has already become a bigger story than the two contestants left standing. I'll probably skip the final round of competition tonight; I feel like I've already seen everything Scotty and Lauren can do. But you can bet I'll be watching the finale Wednesday night, not to see who wins, but to see if James comes back to sing one more song. We're still waiting for that duet with Steven Tyler!

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