TV Article

Waves of Support

Hawaiians take credit for saving ''Idol'''s Jasmine. The sparsely populated state logged millions of calls for its homegirl, contributing to La Toya's shocking ouster

''American Idol'' conspiracy theorists have been speculating on why, in what judge Randy Jackson called ''a travesty,'' the undeniably talented La Toya London was voted off this week. Echoing similar queries from a couple weeks ago, during the similarly shocking ouster of Jennifer Hudson, La Toya fans wonder: Could it be the vagaries of the telephone voting system, or a teenybopper audience that finds London too mature and aloof, or complacent voters thinking that La Toya would be safe this week, or even racism? But maybe the simplest and most likely explanation is that she was knocked out by a Hawaiian punch, coming from island fans of the Oahu-bred Jasmine Trias, who voted in unusually high numbers for their homegirl.

Fox continues to decline to release any kind of breakdown on ''Idol'' voting, but phone company Verizon logged more calls Tuesday night from Hawaii than from any other state save New York and California, a company spokesman told the Associated Press. Some 1.23 million calls went through (out of 5 million attempted calls) from Hawaii, which has a population of 1.25 million. Two teens have told the Honululu Advertiser that they took advantage of the time difference and logged numerous telephone votes before the show was over after learning Jasmine's phone voting code from contacts on the mainland. In Hawaii, where Trias returned for a visit on Thursday, the 17-year-old has the endorsement of local TV newscasters and politicians like Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who declared Thursday to be ''Jasmine Trias Day.''

Fox did issue a statement Thursday insisting that the voting was all fair and square. ''The producers and network have gone to great lengths to insure the integrity of the voting process on 'American Idol,''' the network said. ''America votes, an independent company calculates the tally, and the show reports those results.''

For her part, 25-year-old London told ''Entertainment Tonight'' that Trias consoled her after she was voted off the show. ''She called me 'mommy' because I was the one holding everyone else together,'' London said. ''I have always been like that.'' In any case, fans have not heard the last of her, as she'll be accompanying the other finalists on ''Idol'''s summer concert tour. Then there's that record offer that Elton John dangled in front of her a few weeks ago. ''Do you have his phone number?'' she asked the ''ET'' interviewer.

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Originally posted May 14, 2004
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