Conspiracy theories surround ‘American Idol’ voting

By Elton Lugay

Filipinos around the globe are up in arms: Jessica Sanchez was nearly ousted from “American Idol.”

And whoever said we Filipinos are not a united people? This obsession with Jessica on Idol is fueling a united front never before seen since the Edsa Revolt of 1986.

The outcry ranges from vote manipulation to voter complacency. Filipinos are saying Jessica became a victim of reality show hype after her rendition of “Stuttering” by Jazmine Sullivan did not earn enough votes to keep her in the running. To widespread puzzlement and dismay, she was among the bottom three contestants. Of the three, she had the lowest votes. But to keep her from being eliminated, the three judges moved to “save” her.

Like Kanye with cleavage, judge Jennifer Lopez grabbed the mic and declared, “We are saving her!” Randy Jackson rallied for support saying, “Please save the best!”

To legions of Jessica  followers, it is unthinkable that this fast-rising FilAm musical talent who has consistently wowed the judges and pulled in phenomenal votes would rank lowest of the low. Marketing executive  Adora Penn said she smelled “something fishy.”

“Jessica is for sure the best among the contenders,” said filmmaker Kim Mende Itskov.

GMA News representative on the East Coast Grace Labaguis suggested there may be more to the voting than meets the eye.  “Some may not like the idea of her being the ‘favorite’ so they just had to pick another finalist. Let’s face it, Jessica is the strongest and most talented contender for this year’s American Idol,” she said.

There is no shortage of conspiracy theories.

I think the voting process was rigged,” aesthetician Virgie Potolin put it bluntly.
The episode was choreographed to “raise the ratings and keep the show interesting,”
said Mylz Tolentino, a manager at Sprint.

Federal employee Nicky Despi said the show – like many reality TV shows — was attempting to  “create drama.”

Psychology professor Kevin Nadal did not discount race as a “huge factor.”

“Many have cited race as a major influence throughout the history of ‘American Idol.’ In fact, African Americans cited race as the main reason Jennifer Hudson was voted off in Season 3,” he said. But if it was, why did the three judges move to “save” Jessica?

Others blamed it on voter complacency.

“I think we’re being too reliant on others, we slackened off,” said student Gail Banawis from the Bronx. “She’s great, yes. But she needs our votes. We need to vote!”

It could be, said Nadal in agreement, that people simply were “overconfident  and didn’t vote.”

“Perhaps this is a call for the FilAm community and other Jessica supporters to step it up and vote if we really want to see her win,” he said further.

At the end of the day, said Nadal, “it’s just a contest.” A contest that he conceded can be powerful for the Filipino American community if Jessica becomes another Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood.


  1. Ryne wrote:

    Can you really say Hudson was voted off during season 3 due to race when Fantasia, another black woman, won the whole thing?

  2. M. Matthews wrote:

    As far as I’m concerned, this story has lots of angles to it. I wonder which one it may be so?

  3. Emilio wrote:

    Is it a coincidence that in last year’s Idol THIA MEGIA said “Kuya” on national TV, and the next day, eliminated….

    the same goes with JESSICA SANCHEZ who proclaimed she had 20 million cousins and 20,000 aunts and aunties glued to the TV probably eating “Filipino Food” and then… the next day got eliminated?

    Is this mere coincidence? I believe that both THIA’s rendition of Elton John’s -Daniel- and JESSICA’s -Stuttering- are the best they song they sung in their entire run, yet eliminated.

    • jann wrote:

      I agree that she has an undenying talent that we Filipinos are proud of! I just do hope she’ll keep her feet on the ground. If she will always be humble then she’ll be a total package of being a star/ idol.

  4. Elton Lugay wrote:

    Thank you everyone for your comments. Please keep ’em coming.

  5. […] Sanchez infuriated many Filipinos, who expressed suspicions of vote-rigging and racial prejudice, the FilAm […]

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