Questions raised about AT&T help in ‘Idol’ voting

Some fans of "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert think their favorite singer may have been robbed of the "Idol" crown by Arkansas employees of AT&T, a major sponsor of the talent competition.

Since the final count is a secret, there is no way to know if text-message votes cast at two AT&T-sponsored parties in “Idol” winner Kris Allen’s home state of Arkansas made a difference in the outcome. Lambert and Allen — who are good friends and share the same publicist — are not talking about this. “This is an AT&T matter — no comment,” publicist Roger Widynowski said. The controversy is an embarrassment for AT&T, although there is no evidence it was part of an anti-Lambert corporate conspiracy. Blog: Did ‘Textgate’ make a difference The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette — a Little Rock, Arkansas newspaper — reported that local AT&T representatives helped Allen fans each cast 10 or more text-message votes at one time through “power texts.” “American Idol” rules say votes made through “technical enhancements” could be thrown out, if detected.

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The votes in question were made over demonstration phones brought by AT&T reps to two local Allen watch parties in Arkansas on the night of the final performances, the newspaper reported. “Idol” watchers used text messages and phone calls to cast 100 million votes for either Allen or Lambert last week, an AT&T spokesman said. The spokesman said AT&T would issue a statement on the incident Wednesday. Fox Broadcasting has not responded to requests from CNN for comment.