Resembling nothing so much as a gigantic baby with facial hair and a bad attitude, Scott Savol always seemed a better fit for America’s Most Wanted than American Idol. So when week after week America voted for him over the likes of bright-eyed Anwar Robinson, people began to wonder just what was going on. Recent college graduate Dave Della Terza thinks the answer lies with votefortheworst.com, a site he started with some of his buddies from Northern Illinois University. During the show’s third season, the site has exhorted viewers to keep American Idol interesting by voting for the worst of the remaining contestants. In April, newspapers began touting the site as a possible explanation for Savol’s unlikely longevity. Is it possible, they asked, that such a tiny little website could foil the plans of the mighty star machine?
Well, not really. Since neither Savol nor the site’s subsequent pick, Anthony Federov, is heading into the finals, Della Terza and his followers are sort of the mopey Deaniacs of this year’s Idol. Radar Online called for a pre-finale debriefing.
RADAR ONLINE: Please defend the existence of your website votefortheworst.com.
DAVE DELLA TERZA: What drove us to do this was how blatant the producers are about what they’re doing. It’s so obvious they’ve brainwashed most of the people who watch their show. Simon [Cowell] just sits there every week and tells a contestant, “You’re going home,” and they get sent home. After American Idol 2 ended, Simon actually admitted that in the final three, Kim [Locke] had sung better than Ruben [Studdard], but because Simon wanted Ruben to win, he insulted her on that night and praised Ruben. And Ruben won. Whatever Simon says, whatever the producers want, is what’s going to happen. What’s the point in voting? If Simon can say, “Yeah, I manipulated the results. So what?” I thought, Why don’t we do that?
RO: Besides the obvious issue of it being a total waste of time, I guess I see your point. What do you think triggered your sudden, undeserved fame?
DDT: Probably Scott [Savol] sticking around. After Anwar [Robinson] and Constantine [Maroulis] got voted out, and Scott was just somehow hanging around, people started looking around for answers.
RO: American Idol gets around 30 million votes per episode. You’ve had 800,000 visitors to your site, total. Do you really think VFTW can take any credit for Scott’s longevity?
DDT: I think we helped. I receive e-mails from people saying, “I’m going to vote for the entire two hours.” I had coworkers throwing Scott Savol voting parties. Then all of a sudden Scott jumped to the top three that week. I did find it suspicious that the week after we first got attention, his numbers just dropped and he got kicked out.
RO: Are you implying there’s voting fraud on American Idol?
DDT: Yes. That very week Fox issued a statement saying that VFTW wasn’t going to have any impact on the voting whatsoever. And we didn’t.
RO: What was it about Scott that made him a VFTW favorite?
DDT: His voice, how he looked, his bad attitude, and all the allegations surrounding him. After a while we were just like, “Why is he still here?” We’re not just after the worst singer, but after finding the character who would be funniest to see sticking around week after week.
RO: If your movement had been remotely successful, who would you have crowned Idol this season?
DDT: Mikalah [Gordon]. Oh, man, we wish we could have kept her around—and we could have if we’d had the kind of attention back then that we do now. She was the worst, and we just loved her.
RO: If Idol sucks so much, why not just watch Gilmore Girls?
DDT: We don’t think it’s not entertaining; we just think it’s more entertaining with the bad people around. Really, all we’re doing is what American Idol tells us to do: vote for the person we like the best. And the person we like the best is the one that can’t sing as well.
RO: This past week you endorsed the Ukrainian cheeseball Anthony Federov. Do you realize that had you succeeded in keeping him around just one extra week, it would make you as aesthetically guilty as the guy who launched Menudo?
DDT: Anthony had fans like everybody else. They may be deaf…
RO: You seem to have an inordinate amount of idiots e-mailing your site, particularly those who claim that what you’re doing is illegal and that they plan to press charges. But they have feelings too. Do you feel bad about upsetting so many stupid people?
DDT: Not at all. Usually because the e-mails are meaner and nastier than I’ve ever been in my life. They usually are addressed “You cocksucking bastard.” And these are from 50-year-old mothers! One woman said her son was in tears after Anwar got kicked off, and she had to teach him that life wasn’t fair. First, it’s good to teach your kids that life isn’t fair. Second, if your kid is in tears because Anwar got kicked out, then you’re a shitty parent.