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Pop / Rock 28/04/2004

American Idol: Can anyone explain the voting?

NEW YORK (Reality News) - America booted singing sensation, Jennifer Hudson off American Idol last Wednesday night, leaving the judges, contestants and many viewers surprised and outraged.

All bias aside, Hudson transformed her looks, her vocal range and her performances improved each week. Even the judges said so. She got praise from Simon Cowell, who said: "For the first time in American Idol, we have a battle of divas." Yet still it was the same three divas La -Toya London, Fantasia Barrino and Jennifer Hudson who ended up with the lowest vote counts.

What is it that American voters are looking for? After all, they are still hanging on to John Stevens, a 50-year-old man in a 16-year-old body, who sounds more like Kermit the Frog than an American pop star.

Was it simply racism that resulted in the top three powerhouse singers, who happen to be black, being voted to the bottom of the competition?

America better 'wise up' and vote for talent instead of choosing favourites, because sooner or later the show will not be supported by black viewers.

As a result, a number of theories have been advanced to explain this seemingly anomalous result. One theory, coming from TV newsmagine Extra!, was that a thunderstorm that knocked out power to about 15,000 homes in Chicago, Jennifer's hometown, on Tuesday night disrupted voting so significantly that Jennifer was booted. However, while this theory has been repeated frequently, it seems difficult to believe that a measly 15,000 homes would have cast so many votes in American Idol that the outcome was changed... or that the outcry would have been any less had Fantasia been booted instead of Jennifer.

Another theory is that the voting was racially motivated. In this theory, the "white votes" are split between John and Diana, 17-year-old Hawaiian Jasmine Trias (an ethnic Filapina) gets the Asian vote, and the four remaining black contestants (the "Three Divas" and 23-year-old George Huff) only get the black vote. However, since blacks only make up 19% of the viewing households for this show, it seems unlikely that four of the final seven contestants would have been black were there one shred of truth to this theory - or that Ruben could have defeated Clay in the final vote of Idol 2, regardless of the role of misdials and phone system meltdowns, if such a black-white voting split existed.

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