LensCrafters says it isn't giving Danny Gokey free eyewear

Last week, as I reported here, the blogs were atwitter about American Idol contestant Danny Gokey. The Wisconsin music minister, who just made the final three of the show, was being accused of secretly plugging eyeglasses chain LensCrafters by using the same heart-from-fingers gesture that it uses in its "See what you love" ad campaign. Even the eyewear blogs (yes, they exist) were onto the story.

American Idol' Show Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fox

Gokey, who is known for wearing a succession of designer pairs on the show, must have been reading WalletPop, too. Because this week, he didn't make the sign at all, keeping his hands discreetly at his side this time when usually, he makes his symbol to the world. Did Gokey cave to suspicion? Maybe his Idol bosses told him to cool it.


Don't look at us, LensCrafters is saying. A rep told me that Gokey is not on its payroll and that he is in no way affiliated with the company. Its current ad campaign made its debut April 19, and marketers at the company noticed a few days later that Gokey was flashing its central symbol. LensCrafters has never given him free glasses, either (although a rep did helpfully tell me that many of the styles he wears are available at a store near you).

LensCrafters says it has never sent him free eyewear, either, but that doesn't mean Gokey isn't getting some. A Milwaukee TV station recently did a story about the independent mall-based optician who used to sell him his signature specs. This morning, that eye doctor went on-air at the same station to personally hand free pairs to Gokey, who is back in town for promotion. (Better claim those expensive specs on your taxes, Gokey, because the gift's on tape.)
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I wonder if any of them were from Randy Jackson's eyewear line.

Gokey could be flashing a coronary gang sign to try to get a job pitching LensCrafters later on, but I still doubt it, because the charity he set up in the name of his late wife, the Sophia's Heart Foundation, also uses a heart as its centerpiece.

Gokey may indeed be continually reminding audiences about his wife's death during the competition, but he's not selling eyeglasses for LensCrafters.

After the ear-shattering scream Gokey ended his song with this week, though, Sucrets might consider giving him a jingle.

Update: Minutes after being dismissed from the competition, Danny Gokey broke his silence on a TV show called American Idol Extra. He confirmed his hand symbol was not associated with LensCrafters and that it represents the foundation he set up in his wife's name. He did not explain why he did not feel free to say this when he was active in the competition.

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