Thursday, April 20, 2006

Text massaging

So how do we fill the week until we have another American Idol show?


This year has been numbingly weak for controversies, and I'm getting a little fed up with it. This show used to be the polestar of sleazy, silly tabloid fodder. Poor Paula's been carrying the burden of generating outrageous buzz for years, and though she's trying really hard this year with her "assault" and all, it's just falling flat. It's time for Randy to step it up and do something explosively stupid and disgustingly inappropriate. Yeah. The only thing that'd one-up Paula's tawdry Corey Clark affair would be if Randy would have a sordid liason with a contestant. Makes you suddenly sorry that Ace has been hustled off now, doesn't it? Now that, my friends, would've been entertainment!

Anyhow, we don't have anything near that juicy. Text messaging outrage is all we can muster this week. I can't completely untangle how this one works, because I'm just not knowledgeable about the intricacies of reselling of phone services. And, I just don't care, because I don't have a cell phone so I don't think about my provider or scour my bill or upgrade my service or whatever else goes on in that world that I'm clueless about.

That said, the following strikes me as odd, because doesn't SOMEBODY have to be footing the bill to Cingular here? What I'm talking about is this:

Kellie Pickler's phone bank

On the surface -- so fucking what, right? But, if you're Ace and you just got booted, maybe those free text messages that Kellie's fans sent out impacted the thing. And maybe your fans would've sent more text messages, except they can't afford to do so. Well. That sucks and life's not fair, but it's still not a big deal, right?


Except --

Cingular is a major sponsor of American Idol. If this store, CT Communications, is somehow, for some reason, footing the massive text bill and paying Cingular out of their own pocket -- good on them for supporting a hometown girl. However, if Cingular is allowing these text messages to go through free of charge, that's complete and utter bullshit, unless they'd offer the same perk to all the remaining contestants in their hometowns. Otherwise, they're pretty much helping to fix the results. Scandal? This could blow bigger than the 1951 CCNY college hoops point-shaving scandal of 1951! (Oh. Wait. Did I just go Dennis Miller with too arcane of a reference, there? Then how about this cheating scandal from pop culture past?)

This is Fox's statement regarding the matter:

A store in Albermarle, NC (owned by CT Communications) has set up a text messaging phone bank where people can vote for Kellie for free. This company (CT Communications) is a telephone provider in west-central North Carolina. Their cellular stores are RESELLERS for Cingular, like Best Buy and other stores.

Cingular does not control them. They do not control Cingular. The store where the Kellie Pickler voting is taking place is owned by CT Communications and no one else.

There is no conflict of interest, just a retailer using this to drum up business and support their hometown idol.


Okay. Call me Kellie Pickler, but I still don't understand. Or, perhaps it's because, you know, I'm an accountant, so I'm still trained to follow the money. Maybe Cingular doesn't own this company. But if this company is a reseller of Cingular's service, I still need to know who's picking up the tab for this whole thing. If CT is footing the bill, well then, alright. Or do they have some sort of deal with Cingular where they get so many discretionary text votes per month to piss away or something? Do all resellers have that perk? Or has Cingular donated those messages to them only?

Really. I'd much prefer something more colorful and sexy to get all riled up and pissed off at Kellie Pickler about. Like, I'd love for us to get "shocking" backstage pictures of her snorting coke off of married Chris Daughtry's naked chest. (Though I bet all the guys would prefer to get pictures of her snorting coke off of Katharine's naked chest.) But if the best we have to get indignant about is some free text messages being dumped her way, I'll do my part to help stir the pot and spread the slander. And, if that all bottoms out and leads nowhere, it's okay and we can still malign her because she still can't sing for shit.

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