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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
Elton calls US Idol vote 'racist'
Sir Elton John
Sir Elton's songs were performed by contestants when he was a guest judge
Sir Elton John has branded the public vote for TV musical talent show American Idol "incredibly racist".

The UK star's comments follow the shock exit of black vocalist Jennifer Hudson, who was one of the favourites to win.

"The three people I was really impressed with, and they just happened to be black, young female singers.

"And they all seem to be landing in the bottom three," said Sir Elton at a news conference on Tuesday. Programme maker Fox Television declined to comment.

Sir Elton, who was a guest judge on the show earlier this month, said Jennifer Hudson, La Toya London and Fantasia Barrino all had " great voices".

Talented

"The fact that they're constantly in the bottom three - and I don't want to set myself up here - but I find it incredibly racist."

The show eliminates the contestant who gets the fewest votes each week.

The Jennifer Hudson result prompted the show's host Ryan Seacrest to remind viewers that the series was a talent show, not a popularity contest.

Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson had been one of the favourites

"America, don't forget you have to vote for the talent. You cannot let talent like this slip through the cracks," he said at the end of last week's show.

Black singer Ruben Studdard won American Idol last year.

Meanwhile, Sir Elton has announced five New York concerts backed by a symphony orchestra and a student choir from The Royal Academy of Music in London and New York's Juilliard School.

Proceeds from the opening night on 13 July at Radio City Music Hall will fund scholarships at both the Royal Academy and Juilliard.

Sir Elton attended the Royal Academy on a scholarship more than 30 years ago.

"My time there was absolutely invaluable to my career," he said.

"Now 34 years on, I wanted to do something to show I appreciate all the things that they taught me. Young musicians deserve the chance that I had, to go and live their dreams and become great musicians," he added.




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