minutia press.
Idol Sampling

Apparently you can predict the placement of American Idol contestants by sampling the rate of busy signals on the phone lines used to vote. This seems fairly straightforward: the busiest line is getting the most votes, and the number you can always reach must not be seeing much action.

A way around this is to have a set of phone lines people can call, and then you punch a number on the keypad (or, speak the number or name) to vote. I wonder why they didn't do it that way?