Fox has formally announced American Idol viewers will be able cast their votes online in addition to via phone calls and text messages when the show's tenth-season performance shows begin next week. Each viewer will be limited to 50 online votes, according to the network.
While the online voting will take place on americanidol.com, it will require viewers to login to their Facebook account -- a requirement Idol producers feel will (perhaps naively, given the ability to create multiple Facebook accounts) keep the voting process secure and prevent viewers from casting more than their 50-vote limit.
"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," American Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said.
"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."
Only viewers with a Facebook account registered in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to cast votes.
Although he hadn't offered any specifics and an American Idol publicist had subsequently cautioned the decision wasn't final yet, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had revealed the show's online voting plans earlier this week.