Idol votes can be traced to prevent fraud; DialIdol called “useless”

Individual American Idol votes can be traced to ensure their authenticity, the show’s executive producer Ken Warwick revealed in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

He says that has never happened, however, nor has anyone ever tried to vote using nefarious methods. “‘There’s never ever been a situation where by any technical advantage [helped a contestant," he said, according to USA TODAY's Idol Chatter.

"All this rubbish is just not true. ... There's an apparatus in place immediately to trace any single call out of the 30-40 million we get (64 in the final), trace it back, and if any number comes back as an anomaly they are pointed out to Telescope (the company that manages the voting process) and they take the appropriate action. But it's never ever been used," he said.

On a semi-related note, the blog A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago says that DialIdol, the site that offers an autodial application that tracks busy signals to predict results, "has become entirely useless." That conclusion is hard to argue with, considering the site's predictions for last night had Phil as receiving the second-highest number of votes. But he was marked as "in danger of being voted off"--but so was every other contestant except Melinda; that's been the cast a lot this season. Thus, DialIdol's scores are not exactly a valuable resource right now.

Finally, The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley suggests in an essay that people like American Idol as a result of the 2000 presidential election. "It cannot be a coincidence that television voting rights arose so soon after the 2000 election left slightly more than half the voting population feeling cheated," she writes.

"Those who didn't go to the polls and fear that their abstention inadvertently made possible the invasion of Iraq may feel even worse. 'Idol' could be a displacement ritual: a psychological release that allows people to vote -- and even vote often -- in a contest that has no dangerous or even lasting consequences."

'Idol''s Warwick on Sanjaya, phone scams, and malevolent websites [USA TODAY]
Did Tony Bennett Have a Heart Attack Last Night? [ALOTT5MA]
Voting Rights Drive ‘Idol,’ Not the Abuse or the Hair [New York Times]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.