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updated 2/24/2011 2:52:18 PM ET 2011-02-24T19:52:18

As has been previously rumored and nebulously reported, "American Idol" is going to leap into the 21st Century next week with the introduction of an online voting component.

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Online voting will begin following the completion of Tuesday (March 1) night's performance show. Fans will be able to visit americanidol.com and log into an "American Idol" voting page through their Facebook accounts, assuming they're eligible "Idol" voters. Each fan will be able to cast a total of 50 online votes following the evening performance, a total we're sure can't be tampered with or doctored in any way, shape or form.

"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," states "Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. "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."

The NBA thought the same thing until Yao Ming kept being voted in as All-Star starter.

Don't worry. You'll still be able to vote via toll-free phone lines and without restriction via text message (standard text-messaging rates may apply).

"American Idol" began announcing its Top 24 on Wednesday (Feb. 23) night and will complete the process on Thursday. Next week's expedited semifinals process will see the 12 male semifinalists perform on Tuesday and the 12 female semifinalists perform on Wednesday. The finalists will be revealed on Thursday night in a two-hour live show.

Copyright 2012 by HitFix.com

Discuss: What do you think about giving each person 50 online votes? Is it enough? Too much?

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