Fantasia and Diana are Idol 3 finalists; voting company says the problem is local.

Fantasia and Diana are Idol 3 finalists; voting company says the problem is local.
Georgians, you can stop rioting now and get your rotary dial phones ready; Hawaii, get ready to secede from the union. Jasmine Trias left American Idol 3 last night, leaving Fantasia Barrino, 19, and Diana DeGarmo, 16, to battle it out for the title next week. Meanwhile, the voting drama continues: USA TODAY interviewed, exclusively, the company that counts the votes. Telescope Inc.’s Sandy King said the problem is local, not national: “The call figures are astronomical. Only a certain number can be processed at the local level.” Using technical jargon designed to confuse and bewilder lay persons, she explained, “We’ve got the biggest, best and fairest system available.” The Associated Press got into the middle of the action, calling furiously from different locales. Their reporters only managing to make four successful calls out of more than 100 tries. They didn’t really discover much, except in Georgia, where “the second call went through and a vote for DeGarmo was placed. But after hanging up, the phone went dead for 17 minutes.”

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.

Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.