So, you've never voted for an "American Idol" contestant before, and you think you'd like to give it a try.

You're feeling hometown pride. And it would be great if young David Archuleta proved that nice guys can finish first.

You don't have to register for this vote. Heck, you don't even have to watch the show, if you can get somebody to tell you what numbers to call.

Here are the answers to your "American Idol" voting questions:

Who can vote? Anybody in any of the 50 United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How do I vote? There are two ways. You can call your vote in to toll-free numbers provided during the telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox/Ch. 13. (There will be separate numbers for finalists David Archuleta and David Cook).

David Archuleta

1-866-43657-02

1-866-43657-04

1-866-43657-06

David Cook

1-866-43657-01

1-866-43657-03

1-866-43657-05

Or, if you subscribe to AT&T Mobility, you can text in your vote. (Four-digit numbers will be provided on the telecast.)

You can't vote from pay phones. (If you can even find a pay phone these days.)

And there is no Internet voting.

Will it cost me to vote? Not if you call from a land line. If you use a cell phone, you will expend minutes even though the call is toll-free.

And if you text in your vote using AT&T Mobility, there will be standard texting charges for both the texts you send and the confirmation texts you receive

When can I vote? For at least two hours after the show ends in your time zone. That's 8 to 10 p.m. (MDT) If you call when the show ends on the East Coast (7 p.m. MDT) but hasn't ended in your time zone, say, from area code 801 or 435 — your vote won't be counted.

Remember: If you're using a cell phone with an area code from another time zone, time your call to coincide with the show's conclusion in that time zone.

And, apparently, some digital phone services reroute calls through other geographic locations, which might cause you trouble.

Will I get a busy signal? Almost certainly. There were, after all, more than 56 million votes registered last week alone. You just have to keep dialing.

According to Fox, the worst time to call is right after the show ends. If you call later in the two-hour window, your chances of getting through increase dramatically.

How many times can I vote? As many times as you're physically able. This is by no means one-man, one-vote. It's more like one teenage girl, dozens of votes.

However, we're assured that everything possible is being done to eliminate "power dialing" — technical enhancements used to generate large numbers of calls.

How will I know if my vote was counted? If you're calling one of the toll-free numbers, you'll hear a "thanks for voting" message.

If you're an AT&T Mobility subscriber, you'll receive a confirmation text message. If your vote didn't go through, your handset will read, "Message not sent."

And, of course, you have to have faith that all of this is working.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com