MANILA, Philippines — Pinoys have been known as block supporters in various contests worldwide that require text and online votes to support a Filipino contestant. But can overeager Filipino fans of American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez do the same for the 16-year-old Filipino-Mexican?
Over the past couple of days, word spread around various social networking sites that Filipinos even outside the US could vote for Sanchez through various online means such as Facebook, Skype, and MagicJack.
Sanchez is in the running to become the next American Idol after making it to the Top 2 last week, joining 20-year-old Phillip Phillips in the finale.
“Pwede mo na iboto si Jessica Sanchez kahit nasa Pilipinas ka o saan man sa mundo (Voting for Jessica Sanchez is possible, even if you’re in the Philippines or anywhere around the world),” read one of the graphics being passed around on Facebook. “I-dial lang ang numbers ni Jessica gamit ang Skype (Simply dial Jessica’s numbers using Skype).”
Skype and MagicJack are US-based Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that function as if calls are being made from the US, which explains the possibility of making votes count for the Pinay contender.
Even the American Idol website acknowledged that viewers can vote using such VoIP services, but with a quick disclaimer: “Please note that digital phone and VOIP services often re-route outgoing calls to a different geographical location from which the call is being made,” the show clarified. “As a result, you may only be able to vote in the voting window to which your call has been re-routed.”
The show, however, also made clear that in all three modes of voting–toll-free, text, and online — only viewers residing “within the Continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands” could have their votes casted.
But there is still one method that could be used, which is the online voting using one’s Facebook account. According to one Facebook user InterAksyon.com talked to, however, the site can still detect the geographic location of the user, so he was not able to cast his vote.
The producers of American Idol have not come out officially regarding this matter.
Even if there are eager fans, there are also those levelheaded ones who pointed out that by employing such means to vote for Sanchez while in the Philippines, Pinoys would technically be “cheating” for her.
“That is why it is called “American” Idol. It is for people living in the West Coast. It is open to everyone in it, not anywhere else,” said one impassioned Facebook user in response to the viral graphic post.
“No one’s restricting votes here as long as they are legitimate. Doing the above is cheating no matter how you look at it,” the user added.
Another user chimed in: “If I were Jessica, I wouldn’t want to win because a bunch of cheaters from the Philippines used fraud for her to win. Shows how low you people are…. It is American Idol, not Filipino idol!”
Filipino-Americans in the US are already rallying and consolidating their efforts to help Sanchez achieve the coveted title, the farthest any contestant with Filipino blood had gone in the show.