Today, one of Yahoo's blogs reports that one of last season's American Idol contestants, Ju'Not Joyner, came out and detailed how the show was fixed, including vote counts. While I hadn't heard about voting being rigged, I'd heard second-hand reports of other more subtle forms of rigging - favored contestants get flattering makeovers and wardrobe while others don't, favored contestants get clearance to sing the songs they want, others have to make do with choices that don't put them in the best light.
I wrote some about AI mechanisms here, and here are some of Joyner's revelations about what goes on backstage at Idol:
"They pay for our lawyers to negotiate against their lawyer (which is BS)," he said. "They make us COLLECTIVELY choose the lawyer, then they act like it's in our best interest. Craziest stuff I've ever seen. I have a son to feed. I HAD to ask questions and know what I was signing. Plus I write my own songs and I needed to know details...Some folks were like, 'Just shut up and sign on the dotted line.' I know better than that...I wasn't complaining...I was asking basic legal questions. There's a huge difference between the two.".
He continued: "I definitely believed that affected my time on the show. They didn't like the fact that I wouldn't sign 'just anything' and that other contestants were coming asking me questions. So I think they ousted me the first chance they could get...Even if I didn't get in on votes...how did I not get picked for the Wild Card show when I received comments from the 'judges' that were better than most of the contestants who were picked for the Wild Card show?".
Ju'Not also theorized that he was not selected for the top 13 because he refused to let the show's producers exploit his sympathetic "back story" of being from "the hood." Said Ju'Not: "They wanted me to put that out to the world and expose my personal business for ratings. I wouldn't do it."