American Idol will have online voting to select 15 finalists

Viewers will apparently be able to vote to select American Idol 10‘s finalists online, two reports and a Twitter page reveal. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe previously revealed that the semi-final rounds would be dropped, and this news explains how the show will go from hundreds in Hollywood to 15 finalists. (Yes, 15.)

A Twitter account for “AI 10 Contestants” says “Voting begins Thursday, February 24 at“, as the blog AI Now noticed. That URL doesn’t work, but interestingly, it redirects to a directory on their server (/entertainment/idol/) that is not yet accessible and/or live.

Vote for the Worst reported last week and added to its report yesterday to say that viewers will select the top 12 finalists, who will be joined by three wildcard picks, from around 40 or 50 people who will be featured during the Hollywood episodes. The site’s tipster describes the beginning of the season like this:

“The online voting will take place at AT&T’s website. Auditions will take place for the first 6 episodes (California, Nashville, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Austin, New Orleans in that order). There will then be 5 Hollywood episodes, a live voting kick off episode that highlights the eligible contestants, a reveal episode to announce the top 12, and a wildcard episode to let 3 more people into the finals. The online voting may stay in place until the finals are down to 12.”

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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, 37, 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.