Danny Gokey: Heartbroken contender or LensCrafters shill? You be the judge

For the past two weeks, American Idol contestant and serial eyewear model Danny Gokey has ended his performance by putting his hands to his chest and making a heart shape with his fingers. The Top Four contestant is sending out the love... but to whom?

Some people think it's to his bank account.

American Idol' Show Photos

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Danny Gokey performs in front of the judges. Airs Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Matt Giraud performs in front of the judges. Airs Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Allison Iraheta performs in front of the judges. Airs Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Adam Lambert performs in front of the judges. Airs Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Anoop Desai performs live. Airs Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Danny Gokey performs live. Airs Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Kris Allen performs live. Airs Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Matt Giraud performs live. Airs Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Adam Lambert performs live. Airs Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

    Fox

    AMERICAN IDOL 8 Allison Iraheta performs live. Airs Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

    Fox



VoteFortheWorst.com, a popular website that began as an effort to sabotage the Fox show by asking followers to always place votes for the most untalented performer, has made an educated guess. The site posits that Gokey, who seems to be wearing a flashy new pair of glasses every time we see him, could be on the payroll of the national eyeglasses chain Lenscrafters. It's a mean-spirited but plausible accusation, because the chain so happens to have an ad campaign in which the exact same hand gesture is the central conceit. Check it out here.

The anti-fan site isn't the first to suggest a potential Lenscrafters hookup for Gokey, who changes glasses the way Elton John used to change platform boots. WeHateIdol.com has noticed it, too. One popular and delightfully snarky American Idol-themed blog, The Idolizer, has been suggesting, in jest, a Lenscrafters connection since mid-March. And opticians have actually been using Gokey's name to sell glasses.

So far, no one's been able to reach into the Idol sequester bubble to ask Danny Gokey if he's really slipping in some stealth product placement or if it's just some weird fluke. One thing's for sure, though: Homeboy's got a new pair of designer specs on every week, and they can't be cheap.

If Gokey, a Wisconsin church music minister, truly is secretly flogging the eyewear company, it's almost certainly a violation of his contract of the show, which pretty much owns him and everything he does for the next year. AI is mind-numbingly serious about its product placements. In 2007, Nielsen counted a dizzying 4,349 instances of product placement on the show, which is only a few numbers short of the number of notes the contestants sing in an average melisma.

You don't really think Simon and Paula are drinking those Cokes up there on the dais, do you? And Ford had contestant Scott MacIntyre endorse its vehicles when he can't see or drive.

Gokey fans, though (and I tend to agree with them), insist that the heart-on-chest move is merely a shout-out to his wife, who died at age 27 less than a year ago. Indeed, Gokey has set up the Sophia's Heart Foundation in her memory, so it's also plausible that he's merely promoting that cause with the same gesture that happens to be a focal point of Lenscrafters' campaign.

What do you think? You be the judge.

For more on American Idol, check out AOL TV!

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