West Coast Viewers Slam 'American Idol' Over Voting

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Fans of American Idol on the U.S. west coast are complaining they didn’t get a chance to vote for the winner on Sunday night.

By the time the season finale aired in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, voting was closed and the winner’s name had already been announced and shared on social media.

“I guess this should be called East Coast American Idol,” tweeted Lori Holman, a viewer in Puyallup, Washington.

Notably, the Top 2 finalists – Dibesh Pokharel (aka Arthur Gunn) of Wichita, Kansas and Samantha Diaz (aka Just Sam) of New York City – are from the Central and Eastern time zones respectively, where Idol aired live. Just Sam was named the winner.

Three of the five finalists – Francisco Martin, Jonny West and Dillon James – are based in California.

“Boy did @americanidol do the west coast dirty,” tweeted Cole Stratton of San Francisco. “Why not just have a separate results show tomorrow and let everyone vote? … Contestants with west coast ties really drew the short straw.”

Former race car driver Leilani Münter, who lives in the Eastern Time Zone, asked on Twitter: “Why is the west coast not airing the finale at 5pm PT so they can vote for the winner? This makes no sense!”

Idol viewers in the Mountain and Pacific time zones were, in fact, able to vote after the names of the Top 5 were announced shortly after 8 pm ET by watching the performances on Instagram.

MORE: American Idol Season 18 Winner Announced

Preparations for the live shows shut down in March due to COVID-19. Instead, finalists recorded performances from their homes each week and judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan weighed in from their respective homes.

“You totally dropped the ball by rushing the finale & the voting,” opined Anthony Martorina on Twitter. "West Coast not even included. Wow! You had a chance to really entertain America but instead kicked off large groups weekly. The saddest part was all of the talent you had and wasted.

“I believe the production costs were too much with all of these remote locations and they rushed it to save money. I feel like 2020 idol needs to be a redo. Top 20 competes 4 real in 2021.”

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