'Idol' vote rings false for some

— Theories flew fast and furious Thursday after the "American Idol" viewer vote went against favorite Jennifer Hudson, ranging from racism to fateful weather to teenage puppy love.

Or maybe America just has a tin ear.

While Hudson and two others singers lavishly praised by the show's judges ended up at the bottom of the heap Wednesday night, contestants who gave marginal performances were top vote-getters.

Hudson, Fantasia Barrino and La Toya London -- "The Three Divas," as they've become known -- seemed to have the best shot at taking the Fox TV contest. But they were less popular than their competition, including redheaded crooner John Stevens, a 16-year-old whose highest compliment from the judges was that he was a nice guy.

With the lowest vote tally, Hudson was bumped from the show.

A storm that caused a power outage in the Midwest may have been a factor in Hudson's ouster, TV entertainment newsmagazine "Extra" said Thursday.

Others offered more cynical assessments.

"It simply seems inconceivable that the 'Idol' results would turn out this way," Sam Rubin, an entertainment reporter with local station KTLA, said on the air. "You would almost expect (boxing promoter) Don King to replace Ryan, it looked so fixed."

The New York Post reported it was deluged with calls complaining that the voting was racially motivated. Internet chatter included speculation that the female teen audience the show attracts in big numbers was skewing the vote toward male contestants.

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