Misdials blamed for Port Angeles pizzeria’s deluge of ‘American Idol’ phone calls; no repeat performance expected tonight
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Brian Green, manager of Gordy’s Pizza & Pasta in Port Angeles, pulls a pizza from the oven Tuesday. — Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Gordy’s Pizza & Pasta owner Randy Sexton is anticipating a business-as-usual Wednesday evening after Fox TV representatives assured him he won’t see a rerun of last Wednesday’s deluge of calls from “American Idol” fans.

“We are ready for Wednesday to come again, and I am confident everything has been done on their part to correct the situation,” Sexton said Tuesday.

The problem was not routing, as was first reported to Sexton; it was “American Idol” callers who dialed the wrong number to cast their votes for their favorite contestants, according to Sexton and a Fox TV representative.

A combination of callers misdialing the restaurant’s unused — and unknown until now to Sexton — toll-free number caused the snafu, they said.

“It was a situation where people misdialed the phone number,” network spokeswoman Alexandra Gillespie said Tuesday.

Both Gordy’s and the show had toll-free numbers that confused voters into dialing Gordy’s instead of the correct number, Sexton said.

The restaurant’s number “was only two digits away from one of our show phone numbers,” she said.

But a large enough portion of the 71 million votes cast overall last Wednesday for the show’s 13 contestants dialed the wrong number and reached the restaurant at 1123 E. First St.

Employees were inundated for about two hours with “American Idol” votes instead of orders for pizza and pasta.

Sexton said the restaurant’s toll-free number has been disconnected to avoid another flood.

The restaurant’s local number is 50 years old.

“They had to get a unique number that was not the number that was televised nor our direct line that someone in our 50-year history with that number assigned to us,” he said.

The phone numbers Fox uses for “American Idol” voting remain viable and active, Sexton added.

“The human error of the callers trying to get their votes counted was the error on their part,” he said.

Sexton was getting a chuckle out of the incident a little more than 24 hours before the show was scheduled to air again.

The problem made news in media outlets across the globe.

A Seattle TV reporter interviewed Sexton on Tuesday afternoon about the incident.

“This whole story is funny, a twist of fate and something for America and the world to laugh at,” Sexton said.

He did not understand how enough people could dial the same incorrect 10-digit number to so dramatically disrupt his restaurant’s order-taking routine.

“It’s amazing that they dialed the wrong number, but I’m going to say I’ve dialed the wrong number, too.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 04. 2014 6:52PM
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