In its 10th season, "American Idol" has added a voting booth that does not require a telephone. Viewers will be able to cast votes on "Idol's" Facebook page beginning Tuesday when the 12 male semifinalists take the stage for the first time.
Fans will be allowed to cast up to 50 online votes per episode. It is the first time "American Idol" has opened its voting process to the Internet and the first time the show has placed a cap on the number of votes an individual may place. Phone lines have had a two-hour window after each show; Facebook voting will also have a time limit.
Pre-teen fans, however, will have to continue to use phone calls and text messaging. To vote via Facebook, the voter must have a Facebook account, which are not available to anyone under the age of 13. The choice to go with Facebook is move against integration within News Corp., which owns Fox and, since 2005, MySpace. Facebook is MySpace's chief competitor.
The move by "American Idol" will ramp up the show's producers direct access to many of its most-engaged fans. "Idol's" Facebook page already has more than 4.6 million "friends."