When all the votes were tallied on Sunday night (May 17), Just Sam emerged victorious after one of the most unusual seasons of American Idol ever. There were no group singalongs or superstar collaborations on a big Hollywood stage, no fireworks raining down around her as she was swamped by her fellow finalists. And if you believed some disgruntled Idol-izers on Twitter, no way for West Coast fans to vote for their favorite contestant.
“I guess this should be called East Coast American Idol. Show just started and voting is closed What’s up with that?” wrote one viewer.
Another noted, “Francisco, Jonny & Dillon are all from California, but VOTING IS CLOSED during West Coast Airing??? SMH.”
While their frustration is understandable, they actually could vote for their favorites, but may have been confused by the changes to the way voting was handled this year due to the interruption caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
Unlike last year’s show, which aired live coast to coast, this year’s finale opened voting when the top five were revealed at the beginning of the East Coast feed (shortly after 8 p.m. ET). At that point, all the contestant performances were posted online as they aired on the East Coast, allowing fans in all time zones to watch and vote for their favorites, according to a spokesperson for the show. (After moving to ABC, the show aired live coast to coast in 2018 and 2019, giving viewers the chance to all vote in real time in all time zones.)
While West Coast voters couldn’t watch the full show before it aired in prime time out west, they could watch all 10 performances before voting closed around 9:15 p.m. ET. Check out tweets from some of the upset fans who claimed they didn’t get a chance to cast their votes:
I guess this should be called East Coast American Idol. Show just started and voting is closed!? What's up with that? #AmericanIdol
— Lori Holman (@LoriLholman) May 18, 2020
— Team Pajamas (@kfairwrites) May 18, 2020
#AmericanIdol again mountain and pacific times did not get to vote so is the voting really fair!!!
— Cathy A Jochems (@a_jochems) May 18, 2020
What! We on the west coast can’t vote😦 #AmericanIdol
— Denise M (@DeniseMc68) May 18, 2020