"American Idol" sent rocker Chris Daughtry home Wednesday night, but Daughtry's fans aren't quite ready to let him go. At least one online petition, with more than 16,000 names attached, is calling for a recount of the "American Idol" votes.
MSNBC.com has received numerous e-mails and bulletin board posts claiming that voters who dialed the first of Daughtry's two phone numbers were greeted by a recorded message from "Idol" singer Katharine McPhee, thanking the caller for voting for her. According to Wednesday night's show, McPhee received the second-lowest number of votes, after Daughtry. The Associated Press cited Tracey Adams, a family friend of Daughtry's, saying that fans from his North Carolina hometown were among those who heard another contestant's voice when calling for Daughtry.
One fan who wrote to MSNBC.com said: "They had another voting mess-up. When I called to vote for Chris, Katharine says Thanks for voting for me. I thought I dialed the wrong number, so I tried again to hear Katharine, again. People were trying to vote for Chris...not Katharine! That's why Chris went home......GRRRR...REDO please!”
Other voters claimed that they were able to get through on both of Daughtry's numbers and heard his voice, not McPhee's. Still others said that despite calling solidly for two hours, they were never able to get through and place a vote for Daughtry.
A FOX spokesperson told MSNBC.com. “The producers and network have gone to great lengths to insure the integrity of the voting process on ‘American Idol.’ AT&T and the independent voting company that oversee the voting have confirmed that there were no issues with the phone lines after Tuesday’s show. While acknowledging that dedicated fans may be unhappy with the outcome, the system only reports the decision of the voting public. As we have said before, you can’t take votes for granted on this show. We encourage fans to support their favorites and vote for the person they want to see as the next American Idol.”
Bulletin boards, of course, also offer up their share of inaccurate information. Some Thursday and Friday postings claimed that Ryan Seacrest had made an announcement that he had read incorrect phone numbers, and that because of this, Daughtry would be returned to the show. A replay of the Tuesday-night show does not appear to show any incorrect numbers given, nor has Daughtry been returned to the show as of late Thursday.
The news wasn't all bad for Daughtry this week. Thursday night he was . Bass player Jeff Abercrombie and guitarist Carl Bell made their pitch on the TV show “Extra.”
“Chris, if you are watching, we’ve talked about this before, and if you want to entertain it again we’ll take it and go,” Abercrombie said. The buzz around Daughtry for weeks has been that he could end up the band’s lead singer. He performed the band’s song “Hemorrhage” on a recent “Idol” show. “Daughtry did not appear to respond to the band’s offer. His wife, Deanna, has been quoted as saying she’s not sure what her husband will decide.
“He’s got a lot on him and hopefully he’ll have a lot of wisdom there,” she told the AP. “The public forgets so fast about those idols once they get off the show. I just hope they don’t forget about Chris.”
"American Idol" has faced complaints about its phone lines before. In March of last year, 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.
A FOX representative blamed the errors on an outside contractor and said that person had been reprimanded. The network then aired a new performance show the night after the incorrect numbers were shown, reopened the voting, and moved the results show from Wednesday to Thursday.