It's the big question on fans' minds. When big-talent stars Jennifer Hudson and La Toya London were voted off, viewers were bewildered just as much as the judges themselves.
Sandy King, general manager with Telescope Inc., the company that tallies the votes, says they have the best system available. Programs are in place to prevent hackers from tampering with phone data, to prevent fans from voting outside their two-hour window, and prevents the votes from automated call-in programs from being counted. The problem is that many votes are not counted because the callers can never get through.
"The problem is that local exchanges not designed for Idol's quick surge of calls get clogged, resulting in busy signals. Votes that make it through those local pipelines connect to an AT&T network and are completed. The calls are astronomical. Only a certain number can be processed at the local level," says King.
Some fans in the tri-state say something needs to be done to make it fair. Others say it's not perfect, but it's as fair as it can be.
"If you get through, you get through. If you don't get through, you don't get through. But being as live as it is and only having two hours to vote, I think it's fair," says Monica Hill.