Elton John says 'American Idol' vote is 'racist'
British Rock star Elton John, a guest judge this month on the U.S. talent hunt TV series "American Idol," said on Tuesday that he found the voting by the national viewing audience "incredibly racist."
John, who heard the wannabe pop stars perform his songs during an appearance on the FOX TV show, added his voice to a chorus of dissent that followed last week's shock exit of black vocalist Jennifer Hudson, considered one of the top talents among those vying for a recording contract.
"The three people I was really impressed with, and they just happened to be black, young female singers, and they all seem to be landing in the bottom three," said John, commenting on the tally in which the lowest vote-getter is eliminated.
"They have great voices. The fact that they're constantly in the bottom three -- and I don't want to set myself up here -- but I find it incredibly racist," John said at a news conference promoting his Radio City Music Hall concert backed by an orchestra of students from London's Royal Academy of Music and The Juilliard School of New York.
The show often gets more than 20 million people voting.
The other two singers grouped in the bottom three of the seven remaining "American Idol" finalists last week were black divas La Toya London and Fantasia Barrino.
The results moved show host Ryan Seacrest to remind viewers that the series was a talent hunt and not a popularity contest.
"America, don't forget you have to vote for the talent," Seacrest said before closing the show. "You cannot let talent like this slip through the cracks."
FOX Television declined to comment.
Black crooner Ruben Studdard won the top prize last year.
FOX Television is part of the Fox Entertainment Group Inc., controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd.