“American Idol” displayed incorrect phone numbers for three singers after Tuesday night's edition of the Fox show aired. Fox has announced that the network will air a new performance show Wednesday night (9 p.m. ET) and re-open the voting, with the results show moved to Thursday.
According to FOX, "this new show will combine new live elements with encores of Tuesday's performances from the remaining 11 contestants." Fox later clarified that they will replay Tuesday's performances, but feature new comments from the contestants, judges, and host Ryan Seacrest.
All votes from Tuesday night will be thrown out and only the votes cast during Wednesday night's one-hour show will be used to determine the fate of the remaining contestants.
of Tuesday's episode show that incorrect phone numbers were listed for contestants Anwar Robinson, Mikalah Gordon, and Jessica Sierra. The phone numbers are always listed twice for each contestant, once as a number and once in a kind of shorthand, incorporating the letters on the phone that spell out IDOLS.
For Robinson, Gordon and Sierra, the numbers spelled out using letters were correct, but the complete phone numbers printed below those numbers were incorrect. Viewers who called the second numbers intending to vote for Robinson, Gordon or Sierra would be instead casting votes for contestants Anthony Fedorov, Carrie Underwood or Scott Savol.
The errors were not corrected before the show aired on the West Coast.
The show’s executive producer, Ken Warwick, says that person responsible for the error is an outside contractor and has been reprimanded, but he doesn’t know if that person is fired. Warwick won’t say who the contractor is.
Warwick also said that it's “rubbish” to suggest there was a deliberate effort to tinker with “American Idol” by putting wrong voting information on-screen.
“Why would we contaminate the honesty of one of the top-rated shows in America by fiddling with it?” executive producer Warwick asked Wednesday in a telephone news conference.
“It’s regrettable. This was a human error and we had to address it as best we could,” hesaid.
"American Idol" has not been free from controversy in the past. Earlier this month, finalist Mario Vazquez abruptly dropped out of the competition, citing "personal reasons." He was replaced by Nikko Smith. And last season, so many viewers complained that they could not get through on Fox's phone lines to vote that the network was forced to add more lines and extend the voting period.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is MSNBC.com's Television Editor