Market research firm the NPD Group thinks it might have an explanation for American Idol's apparent bias toward contestants from the south, pointing to the show's exclusive arrangement with Cingular for voting via text messaging. You see, Cingular is based in Atlanta, and the majority of the company's customers -- some 20 million -- are also from the south; of the 18 million Cingular customers that use text messaging across the country, more than half are (you guessed it) from the south. So, NPD suggests, since only Cingular users are able to vote by text messaging, it would stand to reason that they'd be more likely to vote for contestants from their own region -- and, wouldn't you know it, all five American Idol winners are indeed southerners (even though Cingular wasn't sponsoring the show during the first two seasons). We hope you'll understand if we don't get too worked up over this.

[Via RCRNews]