Top 6 pre-game

Contestant Prior Average Prob
Jacob Lusk 41.0 0.217113
Scotty McCreery 48.0 0.158728
Casey Abrams 51.7 0.133645
Haley Reinhart 59.7 0.090357
Lauren Alaina 61.3 0.083084
James Durbin 69.0 0.056084

The Top 6 is going to be an entertaining show. Not that I think the performances will be good (I really don’t), but we can see that the rankings are getting very narrow. A bit of handicapping, though, should perhaps be entertained at this point. Looking at last week‘s prediction, we can say that Scotty McCreery appears to be overperforming by perhaps 6 points, and Haley underperforming by about 5 points. I expect this effect to diminish over time, but assuming it is still present, the rankings would be Jacob Lusk first, and then Casey and Haley essentially in a dead heat.

Continuing the practice from last week, I’ll give the approximate caliber performance needed to keep a contestant out of the Bottom 3 for those at risk, and the score that would put the a contestant in the Bottom 3 for those predicted to be safe.

Contestant Prior
Safe Score/
Not Safe Score
Change from
recent average
Jacob Lusk 41 78 +37
Scotty McCreery 48 77 +29
Casey Abrams 51.66 72 +21
Haley Reinhart 59.66 39 -20
Lauren Alaina 61.33 37 -24
James Durbin 69 25 -44

Jacob Lusk is unlikely to be able to overcome that deficit. Although I would put him at a slight advantage this week, that advantage still requires a level of performance that we haven’t seen from him in many weeks. If Scotty persists in overperforming like he has been, he would need only a 60 to be considered safe according to the model.

In sum, there is a large gulf between the projected bottom 3 (Jacob, Scotty, Casey) and the top 3, if this year is like past years. Whether or not it is like past years is another matter.

As to this week’s being a duet, I don’t know that it changes things much. Last year’s contest saw Michael Lynche go home in what many considered a long-coming elimination. That was in the Top 4, and each contestant did a duet and a song by themselves. Even with the Top 6 doing duets, I would think they will do one by themselves and one in a duet, as only three songs during a show would be fewer than any other episode.

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