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Image: Derek Hough, Lil' Kim
Kelsey McNeal  /  AP
Lil' Kim and partner Derek Hough perform on "Dancing with the Stars" on March 9. Even if Kim's pals behind bars watched the show, they were not allowed to vote.
By The Scoop
msnbc.com
updated 3/10/2009 10:08:13 PM ET 2009-03-11T02:08:13

Only in America can an ex-con go on a reality television program and dedicate a cha cha cha set to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Girls” to the ladies she left behind in a Federal Detention Center.

Lil’ Kim’s March 9 shoutout to her former fellow inmates raised a question: Is it possible for inmates to vote for “Dancing With the Stars,” but not for the president?

“The inmates cannot dial toll-free numbers,” said the public information officer at the Philadelphia facility where Kim served out 10 months of her prison sentence for conspiracy and perjury. No toll-free numbers means the inmates cannot vote via phone.

And voting via the ABC Web site isn’t an option either. “The computers aren’t connected to live modems. They can send e-mails to approved recipients, but it has to be screened first,” said the officer.

The officer confirmed that the prison televisions, at least in the Philadelphia facility, do show network programming. “They can watch a major network show. Recreation provides a schedule.”

Unless Kim’s incarcerated fan base can rally friends and family to vote by proxy, it seems that, just like in the general election, there’s no way for their votes to count.

‘DWTS’ prods score sympathy vote with Melissa
She was engaged — then dumped — by “Bachelor” Jason Mesnick on national television, and as most of America knows, Melissa Rycroft is back on TV in “Dancing With the Stars.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t dancing potential that got Rycroft the gig. Instead, it was the potential to score a sympathy vote that caught the producers’ eyes.

Vote: How did ‘Dancing’ stars do?“It was necessary that the public feel sympathy toward whomever was stepping in at the last minute,” “Dancing” executive producer Conrad Green told Us Weekly. “Melissa jumped straight to mind.”

Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Rycroft had just two days to prepare before the March 9 premiere, but the audience seems to be on her side.

“We love you, Melissa!” fans cheered at the premiere.

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'Housewife' keeps it 'Real'
The “Real Housewives of New York City” are taking unscripted drama to a new level.

Cast member Kelly Bensimon was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, Nicholas Stefanov. Stefanov called the cops after Bensimon allegedly punched him, splitting his cheek open.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings

“He called her a whore and told her he had sex with other women,” an insider told Us Weekly. The source said Stefanov filed the complaint to draw attention to himself and cash in on Bensimon’s notoriety.

“The allegations are by a jilted lover saying she struck him during the course of an argument,” her lawyer, Stephen Turano, told the Daily News. “We deny the charges, and we are hopeful this will be resolved.” Bensimon is due in court March 31.

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More on "Dancing With the Stars" | Lil Kim

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.

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