Category: music

American Idol: What went wrong?

Back in March I predicted that Angie Miller would win American Idol 2013 (Season 12). I reaffirmed my prediction two days ago. My prediction was based on two assumptions: 1) There is strong correlation between American Idol contestants’ Twitter popularity and their TV popularity. 2) The show is not rigged — i.e., the show’s outcome is indeed determined by viewers’ vote alone.

Last night Angie was eliminated from the show, rendering my prediction wrong. The simplest explanation is that Twitter popularity does not guarantee TV viewer votes. But that explanation doesn’t satisfy me. I will do some digging, and may speculate in a future post about what might have gone wrong with my prediction.

Angie Miller American Idol 2013 Twitter followers
Angie Miller was eliminated from American Idol 2013 despite having more Twitter followers than the other two contestants combined

Why Angie Miller will win American Idol 2013

Angie Miller will win Season 12 of American Idol simply because , by far. She has been so, consistently, since March 22, 2013, when I started keeping weekly tabs on the contestants’ Twitter following.

There is no conspiracy. The show is not rigged (for Angie to win, anyway; it might be rigged in other ways and for other purposes).

See for yourself in this aggregated chart (below):

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers composite chart
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers composite chart

Can Twitter predict the American Idol winner?

Or why American Idol is NOT rigged for Angie Miller

[UPDATE May 10, 2013] This is the final update to this article. See my latest post “American Idol: What went wrong?”. Alternately, scroll down to review a weekly log of the contestants’ Twitter following, dating back to March 22, 2013.

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This article is being updated continuously, with recent updates showing on top. Scroll down for earlier entries and charts from previous weeks. New chart every Thursday morning.

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Let the record show that back on March 22 (scroll all the way to the bottom), when there were still nine contestants left on the show, I predicted two things:

  1. Angie Miller is the viewers’ favorite, and will likely be the American Idol 2013 (Season 12) winner
  2. This clear indication of who the winner will be would take the suspense out of the show, resulting in decreased viewership (confirmed by the show’s )

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[UPDATE May 9, 2013] Below is a chart of the contestants’ Twitter followers as of this morning, Thursday, May 9, 2013.

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers May-9-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers May-9-2013

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[UPDATE May 2, 2013] Below is a chart of the contestants’ Twitter followers as of this morning, Thursday, May 2, 2013. Need I say anything? I do, actually. Possibly seeking to even the score somewhat, last night the judges came down on Angie, hard. As a result, Angie added the most Twitter followers ever, both as an absolute number, and as a percentage of total. Talk about unintended consequences.

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers May-2-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers May-2-2013

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[UPDATE April 25, 2013] Below is a chart of the contestants’ Twitter followers as of this morning, Thursday, April 25, 2013. The chart leaves little doubt that Angie Miller will be the 2013 (Season 12) American Idol winner, as I predicted back in March. Scroll down for earlier posts and charts.

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-25-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-25-2013

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[UPDATE April 24, 2013] . So much so, that the producers are reportedly mid-season to bring back Jennifer Lopez. While many factors are likely contributing to this state of affairs, I submit to you that the phenomenon described in this blog post surely has hurt the show. Having gone out of their way to publicize the contestants’ large Twitter following, the producers unwittingly eliminated the element of suspense.

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[UPDATE April 18, 2013] Below is a chart of the contestants’ Twitter followers as of this morning, Thursday, April 18, 2013. As Hercule Poirot would say: “The prediction it is obvious, mon ami.”

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-18-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-18-2013

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[UPDATE April 12, 2013] Last night’s results showed that the answer is “no”. Twitter following can’t predict American Idol contestants’ fate on the show. It could be that my model is wrong. Or just that my assumptions are wrong. Maybe I’ll try to find an explanation, but I’ll probably put the whole thing to rest. This is just a TV show, after all, and the producers can do whatever they want. I am sure they will do whatever they think is best for the show, “viewer voting” being part of the overall script.

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[UPDATE April 11, 2013] As an American Idol fan I want Lazaro Arbos to go home tonight. As a data analyst and modeler I predict that he will hang around for a few more weeks, and Janelle Arthur will be voted off the show.

Candice and Amber are on fire. Angie is so far ahead, she is untouchable. But what about Lazaro?

According to my prediction model Lazaro has the numbers to make it to the finale. He also sucks. It will be interesting to see whether the producers will intervene and eliminate Lazaro earlier despite the viewer support he apparently enjoys.

Let me again state clearly that my prediction model is based on two important assumptions: 1) There is strong correlation between American Idol contestants’ Twitter following and their TV popularity. 2) The show is not rigged — i.e., the show’s outcome is indeed determined by viewers’ vote alone.

Below is a chart of the contestants’ Twitter followers as of this morning, Thursday, April 11, 2013.

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-11-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-11-2013

[UPDATE April 10, 2013] No change since yesterday. Angie and Lazaro are in a category of their own, having surely solidified their place in the finale. Of the remaining four contestants Amber has the fewest followers, but the strongest momentum. I stand by my earlier prediction that Janelle will go home this week.

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[UPDATE April 9, 2013] No change in pattern since yesterday. Amber continues to add Twitter followers at double the rate of everyone else. Janelle will go home this week.

There is little doubt as to how this show will unfold: Angie Miller is the runaway winner, Lazaro Arbos is the runner-up. Third is Kree Harrison, fourth — Candice Glover, fifth — Amber Holcomb, sixth — Janelle Arthur.

Keith Urban, no doubt following producers’ instructions, tries to maintain the suspense by only predicting that ““ But he knows as well as we do who that girl is going to be.

A YouTube comment from user explains why Lazaro will continue to do well:

GODDAMNIT AMERICA!!! You fucking vote for Lazaro??? REALLY?!? THAT’S FUCKING BULLSHIT!!!! Lazaro SUCKS!!!!! Lazaro took Devins spot. Now he takes Burnells spot. ITS FUCKING BULLSHIT!! HE SUCKS!!! THIS IS A SINGING COMPETITION!!!! The only reason he’s in the top 3 is because of his stutter, and his life story how he had no friends growing up, and every gay man and straight woman thinks hes hot.

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[UPDATE April 8, 2013] Little change since yesterday. Amber has the momentum, followed by Candice and Lazaro. Janelle is a goner.

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[UPDATE April 7, 2013] Amber‘s momentum continues, which will likely keep her safe for another week.

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[UPDATE April 6, 2013] Amber, while still at the bottom, has picked up momentum, adding Twitter followers at more than twice the rate of Janelle. If Amber’s momentum continues, Janelle will likely go home next week.

Bookmark this page and come back for daily updates.

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[UPDATE April 5, 2013] Predictions recap: Minor upset, major win. The upset: I predicted that Burnell would go home next week; he was voted off this week. Barely significant, and paling in comparison to my major score, the Lazaro call. While everyone — including uber producer Jimmy Iovine — thought Lazaro ought to go home this week, I predicted that he would face Angie in the finale. Lazaro was in the top three last night, solidifying my confidence in my model. Come back next week for more American Idol predictions.

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[UPDATE April 4, 2013] Prediction: Amber, facing elimination, will get saved by the judges tonight.

I know, this doesn’t make sense. Amber had a great performance last night, and she shouldn’t be facing elimination. Lazaro — who had an abysmal performance last night — should go home. But Lazaro continues to rank high in my model, and the model has been accurate so far, so I’ll stick with it.

It is important to know that my prediction model is based on two important and (hopefully) safe assumptions: 1) There is strong correlation between American Idol contestants’ Twitter popularity and their TV popularity. 2) The show is not rigged — i.e., the show’s outcome is indeed determined by viewers’ vote alone.

If either of the above assumptions is false, my predictions would be baseless. On the other hand, if both 1 and 2 above hold true, then the chart below paints a clear and self-explanatory picture of what to expect.

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-4-2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers April-4-2013

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[UPDATE April 2, 2013] This is getting so easy to predict, it’s not even a challenge any more. It looks like Amber has thrown in the towel already. It is a near certainty that she will go home on Thursday. It is also a near certainty that Angie will win the whole thing, in a face-off finale with Lazaro. So let’s raise the challenge and try to predict who will go home NEXT week. Janelle is a strong candidate, being second from the bottom. However, she keeps adding Twitter followers at the highest rate of all contestants. She seems to have kicked her campaign in high gear. So my prediction is that Burnell will go home on April 11.

Next chart on Thursday morning — April 4, 2013.

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[UPDATE March 28, 2013] Who will go home tonight? Based on Twitter following alone, it has to be Devin Velez. He added the fewest followers since last week (2,231), which does not bode well for his current position near the bottom. Angie Miller is still the runaway favorite, although her rate of adding new followers (8.74%) is the lowest.

American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers March 28, 2013
American Idol 2013 contestants Twitter followers March 28, 2013

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This year (AI Season 12), the TV show contestants have serious social media presence. Each of the top ten contestants have dedicated (and verified) and . Which begs the question: If the American Idol winner is indeed determined by viewers’ votes alone, can the contestants’ social media following be an indicator of how the competition will unfold and whom the voters will favor to be the winner?

Below is a chart of the top nine contestants’ Twitter followers as of today, March 22, 2013. If this chart is any indicator, there is little doubt that Angie Miller is the viewers’ favorite. I’ll keep weekly tabs on the numbers, and will post my findings here. I also wonder whether social media will take the suspense (and surprise) out of the show.

There is strong indication that it may. For example, Paul Jolley, Devin Velez, and Amber Holcomb were in the bottom three as per the “nation-wide vote” announced during the March 21 show. This corresponds perfectly with the Twitter chart below.

American Idol Season 12 Twitter followers
American Idol Season 12 Twitter followers

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