FOX correction: Ruben Studdard won 'American Idol' by about 130,000 votes, not by 1,335 or 13,000
By Reality TV World staff, 05/22/2003
First host Ryan Seacrest said over 24,000,000 votes were cast and Ruben Studdard defeated Clay Aiken by only 13,000 votes. Then later in the broadcast he apparently tried to correct himself and say Ruben actually won by 1.335 votes with 50.28% of the vote. At this point the more analytical viewers at home probably did the 50.28% of 24,000,000 math themselves and figured out that would actually come up to a difference of about 130,000 votes.
Of course many media outlets apparently didn't... and as a result depending on what news story you might have read today, you might see figures of 1.335, 13,000, or even possibly 130,000 mentioned.
The actual spread was about 130,000 votes, said Fox spokesman Scott Grogin on Thursday. "It's simply a case of someone misspeaking on live television," said Grogin. According to Grogin, out of more than 24 million votes cast, Studdard received a total of 50.28 percent while Aiken got 49.72 percent. Shortly after Seacrest gave the first inaccurate figure, a publicist for the show told reporters at the Universal Amphitheatre about the error and notified them of the correct 130,000 figure. But apparently far too many media folks were either already too busy partying it up at the post-show party to learn of the correction or not careful enough to catch the faulty math on their own, because news reports with all three figures have been reported today.