Thousands of idiots still misdial American Idol’s phone numbers

Years ago, deceptive marketers took advantage of idiots who dialed the wrong phone numbers to vote for American Idol contestants, and the producers sued to stop them, and the FCC later shut down and fined the scammers. But five seasons later, viewers are still misdialing. One person who owns a phone number similar to a voting number received more than 10,000 calls last week.

The New York Times reports that “the number of complaints had fallen since the show began” in 2002, according to a FremantleMedia rep. But there are still “repeated calls to residents whose own phone numbers begin with the 866 exchange” because people forget to press 1 and therefore end up dialing local numbers, and others use 800 instead of 866 even though Ryan Seacrest tells them not to.

At “a telemarketing business in Blakeslee, Pa.,” there has been “an uptick in phone calls on Tuesday evenings,” and “the number of calls spiked to more than 10,000 [last] week,” according to the paper. Another business owner “she said she receives ‘thousands’ of calls each Tuesday, beginning just after ‘American Idol’ goes off the air on the East Coast,” and because her cell phone gets those calls, “each call uses a portion of her allotted monthly minutes; she estimates the misdialed calls have cost her ‘a couple hundred bucks’ this year because they pushed her over her allotment.

Therese Burgueno told the paper, “I now believe that half of America is dyslexic.”

As Callers, ‘Idol’ Fans Often Lack Real Talent [New York Times]

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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.