Top 7 Pre-game: Anybody’s game

Now that we’re in the thick of it, any one of the remaining contestants could go this week. No result would be shocking. Based on prior years and based on the average of the previous 3 rounds, the pregame odds look something like this:

Contestant Sex PriorAverage Prob
Jacob Lusk M 44 0.203924
Stefano Langone M 46 0.185417
Casey Abrams M 51 0.144875
Haley Reinhart F 51 0.144875
Scotty McCreery M 57.5 0.103467
Lauren Alaina F 62 0.081281
James Durbin M 70.5 0.050831

Not even a James Durbin elimination would be a total shock. However, if things keep going like they have been, I expect Jacob to go.

We can take this analysis a bit further. Supposing that all the other contestants performed at their recent average, we can ask how much better a performance Jacob or Stefano would need to be predicted to be ranked higher than Casey and Haley:

Contestant Score Needed For Safety Prior Average Difference
Stefano Langone 61.0 46.0 +15.0
Jacob Lusk 65.0 44.0 +21.0

These scores are perfectly achievable. Many times in Idol history a contestant has managed a score on the order of 20 points above his average, or 20 points above his prior performance. It happens. However, I don’t think that this is the most likely week for it, as the theme (Songs from the 21st century) doesn’t particularly suit either contestant.

We can do the same thing in reverse for James and Lauren. How badly would they need to screw the pooch to be in danger?

Contestant Score Needed For Elimination Prior Average Difference
James Durbin 19.0 70.5 -51.5
Lauren Alaina 34.0 62.0 -28.0

Has a contestant ever had a week-to-week swing of 50 points? In fact, it has happened. Anthony Federov succeeded in this feat, getting a 64 in the Top 6 but a 12 in the Top 5. So I would not call James totally safe, but he’s pretty damn safe.

Lauren is another story. Many contestants have had a week where they underperformed by 25-30 points. I’m not ready to call this one safe, but I also wouldn’t put any money on Lauren.

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