Just think of it as "distrust but verify." Fox strongly questions the motives of a former Idol contestant, but it will investigate his allegations nonetheless.
Fox took issue with the the Primetime Live special, "Fallen Idol," Wednesday night, labeling it a "purported news special filled with rumor, speculation and assertions from a disqualified contestant who admitted during the special to telling lies." An ABC spokesman countered that the broadcast was a "months-long investigation done by serious journalists."
Contestant Corey Clark, who ABC itself described as a naive, perpetually broke 22-year old with no fixed address, is cutting an album and was allowed to sing parts of it throughout the Prime Time Live piece. He has also pitched a tell-all book.
But he also produced phone records, a voice mail message and corroborating witnesses to his assertion that Judge Paula Abdul helped polish his look and performance as a "special friend," turned lover.
Fox said Thursday it has begun an investigation into the allegations, though it also said Clark had not been any help.
In a statement, the network said it had tried to contact Clark after news of the allegations in the special broke. "[W]e contacted him and requested that he detail his accusations to us. That has yet to happen," Fox said in a statement."
Fox also seemed to suggest that even if the allegations of an affair and help with wardrobe and song choice were true, it would not have been determinative of the outcome.
"It should also be noted," Fox said, "that the ultimate decision on which contestants move forward on American Idol has always been determined by the voting public.
"We have gone to great lengths and great expense to create a voting system that is fair and reliable.
"Judges may offer opinions, but viewers vote using their own subjective criteria; and it is the voters who ultimately determine each season’s American Idol."
Tell that to the seven contestants ABC interviewed who unequivocally didn't get any help from the judges. Several of those said Paula's help would definitely constitute an unfair advantage.
Under FCC rules, it is illegal "to supply to any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined."
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