Unlucky 13? ‘Idol’ Dials Up Phone Sex

by | March 10, 2009 at 2:56 PM | American Idol

If Anoop Desai thought he was surprised to be named the 13th American Idol finalist, imagine how surprised viewers might be if after tonight’s performance show, they call 1-866-IDOLS-13 and discover it’s a phone-sex line.

That’s the predicament “Idol” producers face today after the discovery that the 13th contestant means using a phone number that’s never been used before — and it’s one that the show doesn’t own. Normally, as you know, fans dial 1-866-IDOLS-01 or 02 or 03, depending on which order in the rotation their favorite singer sang. But the pesky 13th finalist tonight will throw a wrench into those plans.

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I dialed up the line just to confirm the situation. The message began, “Hey there, sexy guy….” And it went on to offer various telephonic services for $1.99 a minute, or even less describable features for $3.99 a minute.

Host Ryan Seacrest did the same, posting on Twitter, “crap, were gonna have a problem on Idol tonight – just dialed 1-866-IDOLS-13 and its not quite (safe for work).”

What’s worse? One possible solution, 1-866-IDOLS-00, goes to the same message.

“oh man…1-866-IDOLS-00 is dirty too, lol,” Ryan tweeted next. “Just talked to one of the Idol producers and they have a plan…*crossing fingers* – ryan.”

While you can’t help but admire the foresight on the part of the phone-sex line people to buy up the two (and probably more) phone numbers closest in sequence to “Idol’s” voting lines, whatever solution the producers come up with is sure to cause some major confusion on tonight’s show.

UPDATE:
Ryan called Fox President Peter Ligouri on his radio show this morning, and Ligouri said the phone number situation is resolved, but they will be using a different phone number for the 13th contestant. I think this could cause confusion, but Ligouri seems to think everything will be alright as long as Seacrest can explain it during the show.

Interestingly, though, Ligouri admits that Fox already knew it didn’t have the 13th phone number available when they decided to go with 13 finalists. He said “some people” knew exactly what the phone number actually went to, but he personally did not.