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Governors pull for their ‘America Idols’

As the season finale of “American Idol” drew near, the governors of Georgia and North Carolina campaigned to bring the title home.Gov. Sonny Perdue urged Georgians to support Diana DeGarmo of Snellville by watching Tuesday’s live broadcast and casting a vote for her by telephone.North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley encouraged Tar Heel viewers to vote for Fantasia Barrino of High Point. Clay Aiken
/ Source: The Associated Press

As the season finale of “American Idol” drew near, the governors of Georgia and North Carolina campaigned to bring the title home.

Gov. Sonny Perdue urged Georgians to support Diana DeGarmo of Snellville by watching Tuesday’s live broadcast and casting a vote for her by telephone.

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley encouraged Tar Heel viewers to vote for Fantasia Barrino of High Point. Clay Aiken, a Raleigh native, narrowly lost to Ruben Studdard in last year’s final “American Idol” voting.

“I think history will judge me as a man who was neutral in ‘American Idol’ competitions when decorum called for it, but now the rubber is hitting the road. I am standing by Diana DeGarmo,” Perdue said in a statement Monday.

He signed a proclamation declaring Tuesday as “Dial for Diana DeGarmo Day.” The proclamation was accompanied by detailed voting instructions.

DeGarmo and Barrino will sing three songs each on Tuesday’s show. Fans will have four hours after the show to cast votes by phone. The winner will be announced Wednesday night.

Easley wrote 19-year-old Barrino last week, inviting her to visit Raleigh regardless of the outcome. On Monday, he asked North Carolinians to help her win.

“He encourages people to watch the show and vote for the best talent — and that’s Fantasia,” said Ernie Seneca, a spokesman for Easley, who is a fan of the popular Fox TV talent show.

Easley’s letter praised Barrino for her “amazing talent” and a “larger-than-life personality” that has made her a star to millions of North Carolina residents.

Some members of DeGarmo’s family will be at the governor’s mansion in Atlanta with about 200 friends and neighbors to watch Tuesday’s broadcast, said Dan McLagan, Perdue’s spokesman.

DeGarmo, 16, has enjoyed strong local support throughout the competition.