Studdard-Aiken Race Disputed... Again
07/14/2003 AT 11:00 AM EDT
A large group of "Idol" worshipers has gathered online to bombard FOX and the Federal Communications Commission with e-mail alleging that the talent contest was fixed in Studdard's favor, the Smoking Gun Web site reports.
Studdard, 24, garnered only 130,000 more votes than Aiken, 25, to become the "American Idol" second-season winner in May -- and, despite Aiken's good nature over the outcome, the contest has been disputed ever since.
A long-distance carrier even chimed in at one point to suggest that perhaps the decision process confused call-in voters.
Among the latest complaints, the Smoking Gun reveals, are allegations that FOX provided fewer lines for Aiken voters, that the usually hypercritical judge Simon Cowell deliberately refrained from picking on Studdard's girth and that FOX producers outright lied about the number of votes received.
The FCC is said to be looking into the situation.
Despite the rocky road, the one-time rivals appear to be faring well in their careers. Both Studdard's and Aiken's debut albums, originally set for an Aug. 19 face-off, have been rescheduled to separate September dates.
In early June, Aiken topped Studdard when their singles were simultaneously released. In the first week, Aiken's "This Is the Night/Bridge Over Troubled Water" outsold Studdard's "Flying Without Wings/Superstar" by 107,000 copies.