The Fox TV show - which has 13 finalists this season instead of the usual dozen - had to choose another voting line besides 1-866-IDOLS-13 because that number is owned by a phone sex operation, promising to connect listeners to a "nasty girl" for up to $3.99 a minute.
Ryan Seacrest dialed the number on his radio show Tuesday morning. Bemused and appalled, the "American Idol" host said it's as if the show "tried to script some kind of joke."
Seacrest got producer Megan Michaels on the line, and she explained that Tuesday's show will unveil a special G-rated number for the 13th performer. The show owns 1-866-IDOLS-01 to 1-866-IDOLS-12.
Said Michaels: "We will not allude to the fact of the 1-3, because we don't even want to endorse that."
While "American Idol" straightens out its telephone number issue, there is one "American Idol" winner, who has been dedicated to dialing in - Fantasia.
Being an "American Idol" winner herself, Fantasia knows one when she hears one, and Danny Gokey is her pick to win this season.
Fantasia says she's been voting for Gokey, the 28-year-old from Milwaukee, whose wife Sophia died of a congenital heart defect only seven months after he made the final 13.
Fantasia says she loves singers who can "take a song that's not theirs, but make it their own." And Gokey moves her every time she hears him sing.
A winner in 2004, she votes regularly and says she gets upset if her favorite doesn't make it.
And she has some do's and don'ts for contestants. She says don't "be mouthy to Simon. We just have to learn to take the blows." The best thing a contestant can do, she says, is to be him or herself.
Fantasia was in Washington to announce that she will tour in the stage version of "The Color Purple," in which she starred on Broadway. She'll revive the role of Celia, who she played for nine months on Broadway to rave reviews. The tour opens June 30 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.