'American Idol' Is Tearing a Washington State Pizzeria Apart

An Italian restaurant in Washington state is getting swamped with phone call votes meant for American Idol and no one knows why.

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Gordy's Pizza & Pasta has been serving up Italian food to Washington state's North Olympic Peninsula for over 45 years. It has had the same phone number that entire time, and not once did someone call that number trying to vote for his favorite American Idol contestant.

That changed last Wednesday. Phone votes for the show were, for reasons still unknown, routed to Gordy's

When the phone lines opened for viewers to cast their votes for their favorite Idol, Gordy's phone rang off the hook for several hours as people tried to voice their approval of Malaya Watson and Jena Irene (but probably not so much Kristen O'Connor, since she got voted off). Seventy-one million votes were cast that night through the appropriate, non-pizzeria channels.

Restaurant owner Randy Sexton, "who welcomes customers seeking pizza, pasta, and other goodies," according to the Peninsula Daily News, did not welcome calls from American Idol fans. Unfortunately, he might be getting a lot more of them because neither the show nor the company that set up its phone voting system know what went wrong or how to prevent it from happening again next week, nor any of the 12 remaining episodes this season.

A spokeswoman for the show, who "refused to give her name," told the Daily News: "We apologize to Gordy's Pizza & Pasta." That's nice, but it's not super helpful.

Sandy Bennett, who works at the company that set up the American Idol lines, wasn't sure if the culprit was a routing error or "misdials," even though Gordy's phone number is 360-457-5056 and the American Idol line is 855-443-6411. That's quite a misdial.

A woman purporting to be the manager of Gordy's provided further insight into the mess, writing in the comments: "I was the manager this night and it sucked dealing with the abundance of calls and still maintaing [sic] the orders."

Another commenter wondered if the show's outcome was affected, since the votes for a contestant went to a pizzeria instead of to the show.

"I have three months of potential challenge if they don't figure out how to reroute or unroute calls in a different way," Sexton sighed to the Daily News.

"Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick," he added.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.