Could American Idol be rigged? The notion is ridiculous to fans, but a boon for cynics; a contestant shuttled in by American Idol‘s biggest sponsor, innocently recognized for her famous heritage, and now the reveal that she actually met the American Idol judges in advance of the competition. Suspicious bloggers are putting Jordin Sparks under the same microscope Tom Lowe was examined with when it was revealed he was a backup singer that frequented Simon Cowell’s record label. There is no doubt that Jordin is phenomenally talented, but her spot in the competition earned by nefarious means? Let’s examine the evidence.
The controversy over Sparks first grew wings back in January when SeattlePI’s TV Critic Melanie McFarland subtly cried foul over many factors that seemed to indicate Jordin was a plant. Probably the most prominent preexisting tie to Idol is through the show’s sponsor, Coca-Cola. Sparks won Coke’s rising star award in 2004. The power of a huge sponsor is undeniable, but no actual connection between Coke and Idol with regards to Sparks has been established, so this point is more conspiracy buff fodder than the type of tidbit that sounds alarms.
Another item that has been highlighted is the fact that Jordin Sparks won the local FOX-sponsored Arizona Idol contest. The grand prize for that contest was a Ford Fusion (another huge Idol sponsor), and a trip to Seattle to audition. Some folks, especially paranoid ones, are taking this to mean that Sparks sidestepped the auditoriums full of hopefuls to get an audience with Randy, Simon, and Paula.
And speaking of Paula, just how impressive is Abdul’s knowledge of football? She actually thought Jordin’s last name sounded familiar and it turned out that she is the daughter of a New York Giants cornerback. It would be interesting to see how many other cornerbacks Abdul can name.
Of course, assuming Jordin did walk a slightly less resistant path to her position in the American Idol competition, it is certainly her performances that are keeping her in the game; the same cannot be said for supposed co-conspirator Tom Lowe who failed to make it through Hollywood. Allegations aside, it is the voting public keeping Jordin in the game, not her tenuous connections with sponsors.
Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image from www.jordinsparks.com)