Did AT&T sway Idol win to Kris?

Are you suffering from Idol Withdrawal Syndrome (IWS)? For those who are not familiar with IWS, it's a seasonal disorder generally most intense in the week after the American Idol finale. Its primary symptom is a feeling of emptiness on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings that eventually goes away as people realize that there is more to do after dinner on summer nights than watch Ryan Seacrest & Co.

But not only do Idol fans get IWS, so do journalists. That's where news that AT&T (T) helped sway this year's Idol to Kris Allen comes in handy. AT&T's mobile phone network is the only way to cast text message votes for Idol contestants. And AT&T representatives provided free phones and power texting lessons -- showing voters how to send 10 or more text messages at the press of a single button -- at two parties in Arkansas organized by fans of Conway native, Kris, after Idol's final performance episode last week.

Here's how AT&T helped Kris win: it made no effort to provide the same free texting services to rival, Adam Lambert, supporters. Is this fair? Of course not. But if this news makes you feel that Adam was robbed of his richly deserved title, I think Adam may have been better off coming in second. After all, he does not have to record the horrible song, No Boundaries, that flat-stomached judge Kara DioGuardia foisted on Kris and Adam.

But just to balance the scales, maybe AT&T should chip in a million dollars to help Adam get his singing career off the ground. It won't cure IWS, but it will help those who believe Adam was robbed of his well-deserved victory.

Peter Cohan is president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates. He also teaches management at Babson College. His eighth book isYou Can't Order Change: Lessons from Jim McNerney's Turnaround at Boeing. He has no financial interest in AT&T securities.

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