NEW YORK – American Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken (search) says phone- line snafus were so bad last week that even his own mother couldn't vote for him.
"My mom sat on the phone for three hours straight" without getting through, Aiken said yesterday on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends (search).
Aiken lost to Ruben Studdard by the tissue-thin margin of 134,000 votes -- one-half of one percent of the 24 million votes cast by viewers at home phoning into a special 1-800 AT&T number.
"A lot of people said they couldn't get in, couldn't vote," Aiken told Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade.
"That's one of the reasons the numbers were higher for Ruben," Aiken said. "A lot of my friends said they couldn't get through in the first half hour so they just gave up. They stopped voting and waited until 9:30."
Aiken also admitted for the first time that he knew ahead of time Studdard had won the final showdown.
Idol judge Simon Cowell said last week that Clay caught a peek of the winner's name on a card held by Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
"Right before we went out [onto the stage] Ryan was looking at his card and I kind of glanced over and I saw there was a name on there that was this long instead of this long," Aiken said, using his hands to indicate the greater length of Ruben's name compared to his.
"So I had an idea. I kind of put two and two together," he said. "I thought it was maybe, probably Ruben [who won]."
Kilmeade then asked Aiken if that's why he was staring at Ruben while Seacrest announced the winner.
"We both just got into it -- all of the sudden I couldn't move," Aiken said. "I looked at [Ruben] for a second and decided I couldn't move."