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Assemblies of God church accused of influencing 'Australian Idol'

UPI News Service, 10/09/2007 

Controversy is brewing over claims Assemblies of God church groups are influencing the results on "Australian Idol."

The Daily Telegraph's "Australian Idol" blog has been a forum for the debate about the impact block voting has had on contestants Matt Corby, Tarisai Vushe, Ben McKenzie and Daniel Misfud -- all allegedly members of Assembly of God pentecostal church groups.

Non-member Jacob Butler was voted off the singing competition show Monday night.

The Australian current affairs show "Today Tonight" has aired a two-part series about the way AOG church Hillsong allegedly has been pressuring members to vote for finalists who are AOG church members.

The expose also dealt with allegations Hillsong has been stacking auditions with members, the British newspaper said.

"There's been a lot of talk this week about our top eight and what they chose to believe," Monday night's edition of "Australian Idol" host Andrew G said. "Using the latest investigative journalist research methods available to me, guys, can I have a show of hands. How many of you here are members of Hillsong?"

Although nobody raised a hand, critics argue the question was misleading because it mentioned only Hillsong and no other AOG churches.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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