American Idol organisers have slammed reports accusing them of rigging the votes on the latest season of the hit U.S. series - after reps for the show's sponsor told fans how to log more support for winner KRIS ALLEN.
According to the New York Times, Idol sponsor, telecommunications company AT&T, sent representatives to two finale parties last week (ends22May09) which were supporting Allen's bid to become the show's next champion.
The reps reportedly gave tips to Allen's fans on how to 'power-text' their votes, while providing them with phones from which they could send 10 message votes at the touch of a button.
The publication accused them of violating the rules of the show, by using "technical enhancements" to increase a contestant's voting power.
At the end of the series, Allen was crowned the winner after receiving more votes than competitor Adam Lambert.
But, while AT&T executives admit their staff did show fans how to vote for Allen, bosses at Idol's Fox TV network insist they have done nothing wrong - because all voting procedures were closely monitored by an independent reviewer.
A statement from Fox bosses reads, "Fox and the producers of 'American Idol' are absolutely certain that the results of this competition are fair, accurate and verified. Kris Allen is, without a doubt, the American Idol. We have an independent third-party monitoring procedure in place to ensure the integrity of the voting process. In no way did any individuals unfairly influence the outcome of the competition."
And AT&T execs are adamant that the extra votes did not hamper Lambert's chances of success.
Their statement reads, "Going forward, we will make sure our employees understand our sponsorship celebrates the competition, not individual contestants. That said, it's quite a leap to suggest that a few individuals could have impacted the final results."