Thursday, March 14, 2013


So for the first official post of AI12, we're going to analyze the forward momentum of the contestants with a heavy emphasis on song choice/creativity. In other words, do an old song? Get docked off. Do a song that has been done a bajillion times on the Idol stage? Get docked off. Performing the song well is only one part of the equation. 

Now, I've done this before in a different variation, as you can see in Idolmetrics for last year's AI11, but I've made a few modifications to perhaps reflect momentum a little better. Namely, if you choose a song that's sung well in Idol, you get rewarded for being bold and ambitious, rather than being docked off for yielding comparisons to past Idols who have done that song well. This is partially the reason, as you'll see below, why Candice regains some points--she chooses more ambitious songs (albeit very old ones, where she gets docked off again)--while Lazaro chooses songs like Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson that while current, have been performed poorly on stage, so he's taking the easy way out (or TPTB is making him take the easy way out).

Let's start out with the contestant's song picking abilities:

This chart is a lot to digest, but the bottom chart is the most meaningful one: it shows that Kree has the best song picking ability of all the contestants, and in fact she chose the best songs during the semifinals and with her victory song compared to the others. Burnell Taylor is a close second, in fact having the 3rd-5th best songs in all four weeks, so at least he's consistent. Rounding out the bottom of the pack are Paul Jolley, who really suffered in the top 10 with that Lonestar "Amazed" song, which is one of the worst songs for this competition, and Amber Holcomb, who is really consistent in choosing old AND overdone songs. The worst is Lazaro Arbos, who is showing his admitted lack of musical knowledge by choosing a lot of overdone Idol staples and singing them poorly, which hurts him.

Arguably, this is the relevant chart, since the Idol audience loves to see creativity. It doesn't necessarily have to be about singing well, which is what the next several charts will show. In fact, last year, Jessica Sanchez had the higher overall momentum score at the end, but had a far lower creativity than Phillip Phillips, as seen in the above link. So this might be the more relevant chart. For those who think the "WGWG" Paul Jolley would win, his complete inability to choose songs will do him in. Past WGWGs always reined supreme in the song choice rank category.

Now let's move to the overall momentum rank:

And this is what makes Kree so impressive: that she has the highest creativity and the highest current momentum. They don't necessarily go hand in hand, but Kree excelled at Vegas and with her victory song, because she can sing those songs. You could make the case that because she's leading these two categories, she's the frontrunner by a clear mile. Candice Glover lands second here, because she's been consistently able to sing her songs to offset a relative lack of creativity, and Angie Miller rounds up the top three--she's also creative and can sing, but at this stage she's a poor version of Kree on both fronts. The best bet for the guys' side is Burnell Taylor--2nd in creativity, 4th in momentum, and as we mentioned the audience tends to appreciate creativity more than overal momentum. Devin Velez (4th, 5th) isn't that far behind. As mentioned with Amber Holcomb, her serious lack of creativity is really stymieing her forward momentum. Paul Jolley is also near the end of the list with his mediocre singing and tendency to choose poor songs. Lazaro Arbos, as with his lack of creativity, and is a horrid singer and is easily at the very end. If it weren't for his sob story, I bet this guy would have been cut at Hollywood.

So that's the analysis for now--1 week into the liveshows. With my old algorithms, there was a lot of turbulence week by week--contestants did end up shifting places quite often. But with this cleaner algorithm, hopefully we'll see if this could maintain better and make better predictions.

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