UPDATED: Fox has officially announced its online voting plans that EW first reported yesterday. “We have been wanting to do online voting for several years, and now Facebook has offered us a secure solution and we are ready to go,” says American Idol creator Simon Fuller in a statement. “The show has always involved a high level of engagement with its viewers through texting and phone voting, and it’s great to expand on this tradition.”
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The Fox hit will soon announce that it’s adding online voting for the first time, sources tell EW. Here are the details: Users will be able to use their Facebook accounts to reach a dedicated Idol voting page that will include all the current contestants. Each fan will be able to vote 50 times during a telecast’s voting period. Viewers will still be able to vote via text messaging and toll-free phone calls as well.
The Idol plans have been in the works for awhile, though Fox hasn’t commented. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe leaked plans to introduce a form of online voting earlier this week, followed by somebody leaking plans to introduce Facebook voting for next fall’s The X Factor.
Idol creator Simon Fuller has been pushing for the show to embrace online voting as part of its widespread overhaul of season 10. With Idol still dominating in the ratings and viewers embracing Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez as judges, the industry consensus seems to be that the show has managed to pull off something that many thought impossible — soldiering on successfully in the wake of Cowell’s departure.
This latest change, online voting, is expected to go into effect during the performance show on Tuesday, March 1.