As “American Idol” gets down to business with its top 24, the show is rolling out yet another facet of, as Randy Jackson called it last night, “‘Idol,’ the remix.”This year’s competition marks the start of online voting.
Now, instead of having to call or text in for their favourites, viewers can simply log on to Facebook.
This will certainly have a bigger impact on the show than any of the other season 10 additions (which include a new stage, a more positive outlook and Steven Tyler’s penchant for profanity).
Don’t believe us?
This is just basic -- open up voting to another, easier medium, get more voters.
Who gets a bump? All of the contestants -- but also the producers, Seacrest and the judges, who will all look like geniuses if this turns out to be the year of the most votes cast.
'Idol' is now in its tenth year, and you could have made a pretty successful drinking game out of counting the number of contestants this year who said they'd been watching since they were in grade school. That means a good chunk of the viewing audience is now of the generation that doesn't do anything on the phone.
Who gets a bump? The two 16-year-old contestants, Brett Loewenstern and Scotty McCreery.
Here's another generational reality check: 'Idol' viewers who started watching in high school or college are now old enough to be mums and dads. And while they might be able to carve out an hour to watch 'Idol,' they probably don't have another 20 minutes to figure out phone-line voting. Luckily, this is the same generation that first joined Facebook -- so they can file their input in a few simple clicks.
Who gets a bump? If Jennifer Lopez's swooning is any indication of the mum vote, Stefano Langone's got it wrapped up.
The dirty secret of 'Idol' is that millions of viewers have never voted -- and this is a big reason why. Anyone who doesn't have AT&T (those subscribers can text) has been subject to busy signals for years. And most people don't sit around waiting. With Facebook, voters won't need to deal with phone fatigue -- and the number of votes will spike.
Who gets a bump? Middle-of-the-road contestants who have solid voices but don't inspire a rabid fan base (Jovany Barreto is headed for this category).
The fact that the online voting is taking place on Facebook sets up the contestants (and their loyal pals) for a slew of self-promotion opportunities. There'll be plenty of message blasts reminding people to vote, fanpages galore -- and, probably, people voting who didn't actually watch the show.
Who gets a bump? Contestants like Julie Zorrilla, who already has a fanpage with 2,396 fans -- and she hasn't even taken the stage yet.
Over 10 seasons, there have been a number of controversies surrounding faked phone calls, dropped calls and the like -- 'Idol' versions of hanging chads. The Facebook alternative should eliminate that trouble -- but it probably won't be long before we hear about someone finding a way to manipulate that system to stuff the ballot box a contestant.
Who gets a bump? Whoever turns out to have the most insane fans. That's anybody's guess at this point, but James Durbin sure inspired a lot of manic screams last night.
'Idol' judges have been praising indie-minded finalists for the past few years -- but voter support always seems to peter out early on. Online voting will help attract nontraditional voters to nontraditional candidates.
Who gets a bump? Paul McDonald, whose soft crooning voice has a style all its own.
The ease of voting, coupled with the formidable quality of this year's contestants, will definitely lead to smaller margins than ever. Who knows -- maybe Facebook will even crash the night before the finale.
Who gets a bump? Whoever stays in the competition til the end -- our early favourites include Karen Rodriguez and Jacob Lusk.
And speaking of WINNING... check out the 10 places you'll find Charlie Sheen when this chaos dies down.
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