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'Idol' Buzz: An unhealthy voting trend

Casey Abrams performs Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through

Casey Abrams performs Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through The Grapevine." (March 23, 2011) Credit: Fox

Could medical-issue-related voting blocs affect the outcome for "Idol" contestants James Durbin and Casey Abrams? Durbin, who struggles with both Asperger's and Tourette's syndromes, is featured on the home page of the Tourette Syndrome Association website, which urges readers, "So don't forget to tune in and watch James' next performance and vote as many times as you can to help him advance to the next round!"

Abrams, hospitalized twice for ulcerative colitis since reaching "Idol's" Top 24, is featured on an site on inflammatory bowel disease, where his condition is discussed and readers are asked, "What do you think? Are you more likely to vote for Abrams knowing that he has ulcerative colitis?"

NIGEL VS. SIMON As executive producer Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" gears up with auditions starting this weekend, the sniping continues between "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and the former "Idol" judge. Speaking to the U.K.'s Radio Times, Lythgoe said, "I don't class 'The X Factor' as a talent show," adding, "In a way, I'm delighted Simon's left 'American Idol.' He's given us the opportunity to refurbish it. Everyone said that it would be the end. And what's happened? The ratings are equal to last year's, we got 30 million votes the other evening, and if we lost 50 percent of our audience, we would still be the No. 1 show."

Meanwhile, when Celebuzz .com asked Cowell about "X Factor" being bigger than "Idol," he said, "Listen, I wouldn't have decided to bring it over here if I didn't think it would be a hit. I'm not doing this to be No. 3 or 4."

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