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Web Site Gives Tech-Savvy American Idol Fans An Edge

Fans can download free software that correlates the number of busy signals for each contestant, providing a good idea of who's getting the most votes.

Laurie Sullivan

May 23, 2006

3 Min Read

Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks will face the last round of competition in the fifth "American Idol" tonight (Tuesday, May 23), with the winner announced Wednesday.

At 9:03 PM EDT Tuesday, predictions for the winner will begin streaming into the DialIdol.com Web site. The software will automatically calculate and post the estimates, said Jim Hellriegel, a 30-year-old network engineer from Cleveland, Ohio,

Hellriegel developed a program last year to help him speed-dial votes for his favorite "American Idol" contestants. Then he realized busy signals correlated to votes, and most busy signals on Tuesday night turned out as top vote-winners on Wednesday.

This year, Hellriegel bought the DialIdol.com Web site URL and posted the software application. Now fans can download free software he wrote that sends statistics on busy signals directly to his Web site, which ranks contestants in real time. The software is free and available on the <a = http: www.dialidol.com target="_blank">site.

Hellriegel estimates about 50,000 "American Idol" fans have downloaded the software.

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