Saturday, May 13, 2006

it's all in the placement, part 2...

It's always interesting when something that has been staring me right in the face finally makes sense.

I have to clarify my last entry with all the fun facts. Something was bugging me when I was writing it initially. When I finally realized my error, the complete picture emerged, though, so it is true that sometimes when we err it's for a reason.

[For the record, I transposed the order of the final three lineup for season four; it is now fixed.]

As I said then, so much has been said about the importance (or lack thereof) of the order of performance. The pimp spot guarantees survival, first in line puts a kid at risk, etc., has been much the topic of debate. There was even the interesting phenomenon of the second singer always getting axed on final five night, and I tried to make some sense if it, if it is indeed significant at all.

But after realizing I had screwed up the order of performance in last year's final three, fixed the order and it fully dawned on me that no one performing first on final three night had ever advanced beyond the three, it hit me.

Perhaps performance order on final three night tells a story. Personally, I think it does.

If you read that entry, you read that I speculated that Katharine would lead off, because she anchored the show last week. I further speculated that Elliott would close the show because Taylor had gone last just two weeks ago, and they are adamant about switching around the order.

I have changed my mind.

I have concluded, and you don't have to agree, of course, that the lineup on final three night is dictated by votes. The kid with the fewest going into the three will go first; the kid with the most goes last. That is why, in all four seasons, the kid who goes first on final three night always goes away the next night.

Season one

Nikki had just bumped off Tamyra in a boot that makes the Chris boot pale in comparison. She was an unlikely final three participant, alongside Justin and Kelly, both of whom were favorites throughout the competition.

The lineup that night: Nikki, Justin, Kelly. I do not doubt for one second that Kelly was the top vote getter going into that episode.

Season two

In the best final three EVER, Kim Locke had fought style issues, the wrath of Simon and Heatwave to emerge as the lone girl to challenge the Goliaths of Clay and Ruben. We know now, because it's been widely reported that, until the finale, Clay was outpolling Ruben consistently, with Ruben even visiting the bottom on top five night.

The lineup that night: Kim, Ruben, Clay.

Season three

Fantasia had visited the seal more often than any other Idol winner, and little Jasmine, with help from a faceful of tears and her home state of Hawaii, had just knocked off the perfect LaToya. We now know that Fantasia knocked off Diana in the finale by a well-mascara'd eyelash.

The lineup that night: Jasmine, Fantasia, Diana.

Season four

I would bet my checkbook that Bo and Carrie separately were outvoting Vonzell and fourth-place finisher Anthony together. And I have no doubt that Carrie had distanced herself from the field going into the Clive show.

The lineup that night: Vonzell, Bo, Carrie.

Once or even twice could be coincidental, but four times? So Tuesday night's lineup could indeed tell a story. And if this theory pans, and the lineup is determined by the vote on top 4 night, Katharine will go first, followed by the two men. But in what order our two men will be placed is anybody's guess.

While I think it's dangerous to use DialIdol as anything more than what it's supposed to be, last week's results showed a rather significant margin between second and third. And the margin between first and second was statistically insignificant, it was so close.

So I don't know who will go second. Or last.

But I don't think it will have anything to do with simple protocol. Again, you can call me crazy, but it makes sense.

I knew all this trend stuff would come in handy eventually.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's very interesting Jen, and it makes a LOT of sense. If indeed it's by vote totals, the first singer on top 3 night would have to hit a grand slam while one of the other 2 got stuck in a Don's Jon. hahaha.

So, here's a suggestion to test your theory. go look at Top 4-6 weeks each season, and see where the Top3 were singing those weeks. If your logic holds, it's likely someone was last on weeks 3 and 5 or 3 and 4 maybe. It would definitely be worth a look for all you love of trends :)


9:55 PM, May 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting theory, and quite possibly correct. Although I imagine they would probably make exceptions if it ended up giving someone the pimp spot in the final four and final three nights. I am not sure though if, by itself, this would be a good predictor of what will happen this season. Mainly because I think there isn't as big of a spread between the top four as there likely was in previous years. Many have said that this is the strongest top five ever. Of those, Paris never seemed to translate that into a large enough stable fan base but I think the others may be relatively closer than in the past. I only started watching part way through last year so I may be wrong, but from what I have read and talking with other people who watched earlier seasons that there generally was one or two that had broken further away from the pack at this point.

If we look at what we know from the last few shows there does seem to have been movement between various performers. In the final seven they were broken into two groups of three and Taylor. Taylor could have been in any spot from 1-4 that week, but probably had the most votes. If that was the case then we had Taylor at number one, Elliott, Kat and Kellie in the two to four spots and Chris Paris and Ace in the bottom three. Next week we had Chris and Kat in the top two, Elliot and Taylor in the middle two and Kellie and Paris in the bottom two. Final five week we had Taylor, Chris and Kat as the top three, then Elliott and Paris in the bottom two. Then this week we had Taylor and Elliott as the top two, Kat in third, with Chris in fourth and going home.

So Taylor seems to have been the most stable, with his position going from (presumably 1,3-4,1-3,1-2). Kat was (2-4,1-2,1-3,3). Elliott was (2-4,3-4,4,1-2). Finally Chris was (5-6,1-2,1-3,4). It seems likely that the die hard fan bases are maybe closer than in the past, or the amount of swing votes relatively larger, or a probably a little of both.

So as I said before, I don't know if the past years trend in this case will be that good of a predictor. It may end up going the same way, but I don't think for necessarily the same reason as in the past. More on this in the next post (going to break this apart into two chunks).

- Allen

10:35 PM, May 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, looking at the chances for the final three. Now I am certainly somewhat biased in this, as Katharine has been my favorite since the semi-final rounds this year and I would love to see her win it. However, I will freely admit that I think she has the toughest job next Tuesday trying to break into the final two. Her last two weeks have been viewed as weak. Personally I don't think is was as bad as many said, but there certainly was some inconsitency. "Against All Odds" I think was a poor song choice and not the best performance. On the other hand, her "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" was one of my favorite performances from her this year. I also really liked her Elvis medley (other than the flubbed lyric). I think Simon had something of a point in "Can't Help Falling in Love" was somewhat overdone, but I thought it was decent. Still, there were some weaker performances in there at a time when everyone left is good and Elliott in particular was seeming to gain support. Combine this with the potential at least that some Chris voters may not want to switch to her from feeling that she should have been the one to go last week and she is going to have to work hard to get the extra votes needed to advance.

Given that there has been some movement in placings, I don't think it is impossible for her to advance though. She needs to have all three songs be at least good performances, with at least one or two (preferably all three) be great performances. Taylor and Elliott can probably afford to have one of their three songs be somewhat weak and possibly still get away with it. Looking at where Kat has had trouble in the past, almost all of them have been were she went at least somewhat into power ballad territory. Early on "The Voice Within" dropped her into the bottom two. And in my opinion at least, her trouble that last couple weeks were mainly with "Against All Odds" and "Can't Help Falling in Love", the latter not necessarily being a power ballad but the arrangement she did tending that way. Arguably you could even say that about her performance of "I Have Nothing". Even though it boosted her into the top two, I think it was more a case of reaction to a good performance that was raked over the coals by the judges than of a great performance. She can do ballads, like "Someone to Watch Over Me", just the power ones not being her strong suit. I saw at least one report from someone that she had mentioned she was going to stay away from them next week and try to get back to her roots so if true, she may have come to the same conclusion. Personally, my favorite stuff from her has been the more bluesy edged performances like "Since I Fell for You","Think","Come Rain or Shine" and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" but my own musical tastes are not necessarily the same as the rest of America's :).

Prior to any performances, I think the most likely final two is Taylor and Elliott, followed by Taylor and Katharine with Elliot and Katharine being the least likely. But I do think it is close enough that I wouldn't be suprised, given the appropriate performances, to see any of those combinations where as I would have been pretty shocked to see anything other than Carrie and Bo come out of the final three show last year.

However it works out, I really hope that all of the top five (and hopefully some of the others) get signed by someone and are able to put out their own CDs. Hopefully with people that can give them good material for their various styles. I think they are all deserving of that.

- Allen

10:39 PM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger Sunny said...

I just found another weird thing which might be a coincidence or just me noticing stupid stuff.

Remember last week how we saw yahoo articles on every contestant except Chris? And that was before Tuesday's show had even aired. Well, this week yahoo has done articles on Taylor and Kat, but no Elliott. I know that it's probably just because it's still early, but who knows. I hope it's not, because I want to see Elliott in the finale.

All I'm hoping is that Paula's choice doesn't screw him over. She's a bad bad song picker.

11:05 PM, May 13, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

There is an article on Elliot. Here is the link.;_ylt=AkxgSYKl_zOzXtYG2iowsoeuGL8C;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA--

1:35 AM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Good suggestion, JJ. I went back through top 5, because Nigel says that's the length of time between repeated positions, and the theory either holds up or falls apart, depending on one's perspective. :D

Seasons three and four are the most telling, because in the S3/F4, if you factor out LaToya, it's the identical order on both weeks - Jasmine, Fantasia, Diana. And in S4/F5, when you factor out Scott and Anthony, the lineup is identical with Vonzell/Bo/Carrie. In S2/F5, Clay is the last singer, just like Taylor was this year in that round.

The more I think about the reasoning behind this, the more fair it becomes, because when it's at three it really is the last hurrah, because there is only one tomorrow, so to take the subjectivity out of the lineup and leave it in the hands of the vote totals really doesn't give, arbitrarily, an advantage to any one of them. The first singer goes because the first singer didn't have the votes to advance in the first place, not because of any perceived crappy positioning.

Makes total sense to me.

8:10 AM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

See what you can accomplish on a rainy day!
Great entry and it makes perfect sense. This same practice is used in many individual sporting events (snow skiing, figure skating come to mind). In the final round, the person with the slowest time or lowest score goes first and the person leading the event goes last.
When it comes to idol, if you couple being third place vote getter, with two bad song choices from your judge and Clive, you're done. I do think the only thing that will save Katharine this week will be absolutely brilliant performances from her, and the complete collapse of one of the guys. While Katharine is capable of brilliance, I don't think either of the guys will tank. On that note, I will watch Katharine's farewell tour Tuesday night, be sad for awhile and then get ready for a Taylor vs. Elliot finale which should be a regular shoot at the OK corral. The winner could very well be determined by where the Kat voters go.

Later all,

8:17 AM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

This would also explain why it was necessary not only to give Jasmine Trias a lethal injection with her judges pick but to have Clive shoot her in the head with his, because her vote totals (remember Hawaii was turning this into a civil war of sorts...) were probably tipping on the others' heels and they couldn't take any chances of her picking up the casual voters, so they made certain she would implode.

I hope they all have good nights, so that the final two get there because they earned it when all of them were at their best. That's why this is always my favorite episode.

8:24 AM, May 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AT this point, I don't think voters change from one person to another. I think the great majority of Chris Daughtry fans will stop watching the show or just not care enough to vote for anybody.

11:05 AM, May 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Julie for the Elliot Link - Sounds like he had a "Good Day" so much better than a "Bad Day" - He deserves all the recognition he gets - His town loves him and have alot to be proud of


11:45 AM, May 14, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Oh I wouldn't count out anger as a motivation for the Chris voters to pick up the phone.

1:13 PM, May 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon, I'd have to disagree. in past years, I've tended to have favorites, but I also decide on whom I think should have stayed and gone based on the weekly performances, so when I do vote, it's rarely based on who I prefer, but whom really did sing the best. and a lot of times i vote for 2 or 3 kids.

At this stage, it'll only be 1, but even though Taylor is my favorite all season, I've liked Kat the whole time as well (though she might not deserve to be here after last week's demolition) and Elliot has always been an oddity, and I can't say I fully comprehend his vocal specialness, but I know when Simon makes comments about how good a person can sing difficult songs (I wouldn't know a difficult song if it cut my tongue out :)), I need to respect that opinion. After 5 years, I basically ignore every word that comes from Paula, except for comical value, and Randy can't make sense of. About 50% of the time he hears what I hear, and the other 50% my wife and I wonder what planet he's from :)

So while there are some people who pick a person and stick with them the whole time, I think there are more casual listeners, especially at this stage, who will tune in and vote on who performs the best. Reuben beating Clay and the closeness of the Fantasia/Diana vote I think support the idea that at this stage and next week, people start voting more for the best performer. Not everyone, but a lot of us I would suspect.


2:01 PM, May 14, 2006  
Anonymous JB said...

Just for the record, my whole office (which, admittedly, isn't very big) liked Taylor first and Chris second. Had Taylor been voted out, I would have voted for Chris. It's hard for me to believe that there isn't a whole lot of similar people out there, with just a switch in priorities, who might now become Taylor fans.

Actually this whole thing has thrown me for a loop, because I never really expected Taylor to win, but I was ok because I thought Chris would win. Now I'm actually starting to believe that my pick might just win... (this coming from a Clay, LaToya, Bo fan of seasons past...)

9:32 PM, May 14, 2006  
Anonymous JB said...

Or at least I was, before I read this article that uses political theory to predict an Elliot win...

9:47 PM, May 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha that's a good read jb!


12:52 PM, May 15, 2006  
Anonymous YaminionFormerlyKnownAsChrisROCKS said...

Anonymous said...

"AT this point, I don't think voters change from one person to another. I think the great majority of Chris Daughtry fans will stop watching the show or just not care enough to vote for anybody."

Not least in my case. Chris is gone? No problem! Elliot is my man! And if Elliot goes this week, then Taylor will benefit from my speed dialing!

7:33 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous YaminionFormerlyKnownAsChrisROCKS said...

By the way, Jennifer:

I LOVE your trend theories! And if you're correct (which I think you are), I will predict that this week's No. 2 performer will go on to win the whole shebang. I just hope the order is Kat/Elliot/Taylor. ;)

7:35 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:36 AM, May 20, 2006  

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