April 22, 2004

american idol 0wnz0red

American Idol is one of those guilty pleasures here at fredshouse. Yep, we're watching it, in Tivo mode of course, but we're watching it. In case you hadn't heard, there's a big flap over last night's voting results. The three performers with the least talent were "safe", and the three with arguably the greatest talent got the fewest votes from those legions of Idolizers out in American TV land. Lots of head scratching going on about how such an unfair, outrageous thing could have happened. Well if you're shocked, baffled and confused, let fredshouse be your guide, because, well, the Truth is Out There.

First, have a look at this: "power dialing" by phone phreaks was seen even in the show's first season. Did it have an impact on the results? No one at Fox will admit it. Now the Idol FAQ says:

What's being done about power dialing? Production will have in place weekly monitoring procedures designed to prevent individuals from unfairly influencing the outcome of the voting by generating significant blocks of votes using technical enhancements. The producers reserve the right to remove any identified 'power dialling' votes.

Phew, I'm sure Fox has top people on the job, and they will be smart enough to outwit any so-called l33t hax0rz that might find it humorous to try to play Idolmaker with that geeky red-haired kid!

Oh, but have a peek at this: the online bookies are making odds on the Idols. I have no idea of how much betting volume there is for the show, but there is clearly some money on the table (for example, in the Survivor insider betting scandal, the biggest acknowledged payoff was $8000).

Okay, it doesn't take Fox Mulder on a grassy knoll to imagine what's going on here, right? Late one night on IRC, someone proposes a dare...not long after, a loose global confederation of phreaks concocts a distributed wardialing hack that looks random to the Fox stat monitors and covers its tracks well. Millions of calls and a few well-placed bets later, and everyone's expenses to the next DefCon are covered, along with serious bragging rights. And John Stevens is the next American Idol.

Well, don't you think so?

Posted by Gene at April 22, 2004 02:01 PM | TrackBack

dats a load of crap, he may not be the best singer, but obviously some groip of ppl liked him. i reapeat wot i just read was a total load of crap

Posted by: Dayne McGuane at September 12, 2004 02:46 AM
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