MANILA, Philippines – “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe played down allegations that the Philippines was sending illegal votes for Jessica Sanchez during the latest season of the hit talent show.
In an exclusive interview with TVLine prior to the season finale, Lythgoe said there have always been accusations of illegal voting but he and the “Idol” honchos are just shrugging it off.
“We are informed how the voting works: AT&T informs Telescope, Telescope informs us. There are always accusations, the latest one being 'The Philippines are voting!' Well, God bless them! [Laughs] But you know, I am assured that there is no power voting every week,” he said.
Even before the “Idol” Top 3 finalists were determined, several netizens have complained to Lythgoe about the so-called illegal votes.
Lythgoe even retweeted some of these posts accusing “Idol” of allowing votes from outside the United States.
According to “Idol” rules, only those within the Continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to cast their votes for the show.
'White guy with guitar' issue
Meanwhile, Lythgoe also addressed the issue of having five consecutive “white guy with guitar” winners.
“The last few years, without question, it has been that way. I always get the comments — and we get it on [So You Think You Can] Dance, too – ‘Oh, the boys are always going to win, and the girls are going to be cut off one by one.’ Season 11 of [Idol], that’s been the first year I [couldn't have told] you who’d definitely be in the finale. We never really had one person win two weeks running,” he said.
One thing Lythgoe is most proud of “Idol” is the fact that the finalists who reach the top spots are “totally in viewers’ hands.”
Asked if he is concerned that a similar type of singer has won year after year and that no female has won in five years, the producer said “Idol” can really do nothing about the “guy reign” in the competition.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. When you say to America, you vote, the only thing that can be changed is the voting system. And I would hope that next year we would look at that,” he said.