The hit reality show, “American Idol,” has lasted for 19 seasons since its inception in 2002, and like many long-running television series or shows, it also comes with its fair share of scandals every now and then.
The show has been renewed for it 20th season, that is set to air in 2022, however, virtual auditions are currently being held.
The controversies that the television competition has experienced began in the same year it was established, and from the looks of things, these mishaps will not stop anytime soon.
The first scandal of the popular show came about during its very first season. At the time, Fox and Fremantle Media, were in charge of production, and they had a phone-in voting system which sprung up accusations of unfair voting.
According to USA Today, the votes were influenced by ‘power dialers’. A total of 100 people were said to have used auto-dialing software to place nearly 10,000 votes a night for their favorite contestants.
It was an unfair advantage against the individual viewer who didn’t have the means to vote in such a manner.
This issue was later rectified as according to Reality TV Magazine, the executive producer of the show reported that there was technology in place to keep the auto-dialing problem at bay.
Fans Were Upset With The Runner-Up & Winner In Season Two
The winner of the second season of the famous show was Ruben Studdard, and the runner-up position was taken by a contestant named Aiken.
Per Reality TV World, Ruben only won the vote by about 130,000. Apparently, the actual number was originally misquoted and said to be about 1,300 or 13,000 votes, which didn’t add up for the fans.
This led to a widespread ruckus on and offline, as fans called out the show for making the wrong person walk away as the winner.
Fraud By Text
Another scandal on this list also erupted from the voting problems.
Rolling Stone, AT&T, the sponsors of the show, reported that they provided free phones for supporters who wanted to vote for Kris Allen, who ultimately won the season.
Another report alleged that AT&T showed people at an event, how to send “Power Texts” which is a function with the ability to send multiple messages (up to 10 or more) at a time.
Despite this, a statement from Fox to Rolling Stone, claimed that the results were fair.
Phillip Phillips’ Court Case
Phillip Phillips was the official winner of the eleventh season of “American Idol.” However, he wasn’t happy with his contract and challenged it by calling it toppressive.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, for Phillips, the contract forced him to take jobs that helped the show at the expense of his own career, so he felt manipulated.
Phillips was later sued by 19 entertainment, a producer for “American Idol.” A six million dollar lawsuit was filled against the season 11 winner for breach of contract.