Conceding that rabid fans know how to bloc-vote for their favorites anyway, "American Idol" will introduce a new voting system tomorrow that will allow viewers to cast 50 votes automatically for their choice.
Here, via Fox, are the specifics:
Viewers will be able to SuperVote -- cast multiple votes at one time -- via any of these AT&T AMERICAN IDOL VOTE destinations: americanidol.com, the AMERICAN IDOL mobile app (data and message rates may apply) and Facebook. To SuperVote, fans can allocate any number of votes for one contestant or multiple contestants, for a total of 50 votes (across all online voting destinations), and in a unique interactive experience, they can adjust their vote selections as performances happen during the show. When the voting window officially opens, fans can submit their final votes — all at once. [Only fans with a registered Facebook account in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to cast their vote(s) online.]
As you know, "Idol" introduced the Fan Meter last week -- the on-screen visual that lets viewers see in real time how their Twitter choices corresponded to the judges' evaluations.
This sort of bloc-voting however is especially unique and raises all sorts of questions -- notably, exactly how much will this actually change the results? The very old-fashioned one-call-one-vote phone lines and texting remain in place, but this places control more squarely in tech-savvy (and presumably younger) hands (Yes, "Idol" has been anxious to reverse the aging of its viewership.). Also, "Idol" voting has long been stronger in the south than the east and west; will this somehow tip the balance? Will it make someone like talented Zoanette Johnson (above) more likely to survive when -- in prior seasons -- she'd be voted out in some sort of "shocker" that would have judges and fans complaining bitterly the following week?
And finally -- the reapportioning of votes during a show...at the very least, this gives "Idol" producers a grasp of who is nailing it with the audience at home and who is not.
Needless to say, this is a big change -- and right on the eve of the final 10, starting next week -- that could change the outcome this season. Which is probably the whole idea.