Top 4: The winner may already be locked in

The Top 4 continues the trend of being much less about how somebody sings that week, and much more about how they’ve already done. It would be reasonable to say that America has already picked its favorite, and is just eliminating the others one by one until the finale.

This is not to say that it does this indiscriminately. In fact, it probably still eliminates its least favorite quicker. Nonetheless, even if James Durbin screeches out a tone deaf version of a Bee Gees song, my guess is he’ll still make the finale.

The above chart shows the WNTS approval rating for the 4 previous rounds and the outcome (safe or eliminated) that was the result. The points hew relatively close to the logistical regression curve, though the statistical significance leaves something to be desired. Here are variables that are even less well-correlated, though:

  • The contestant’s Top 4 average approval
  • The contestants Top 4 best approval or worst approval
  • Gender
  • Dialidol score

The chart also shows two regions, one that is “generally safe”, above 55, and generally in danger, below 55. There are certainly contestants who were doing well in the previous rounds and got booted. The 3 most prominent ones (the points in the upper right-hand part of the chart) were all women (Tamyra Gray, Latoya London, and Allison Iraheta). However, I wouldn’t read too much into that, as it’s likely statistical noise.

More than half of the people eliminated in the Top 4 fell below this dividing line.

Haley Reinhart is a bit of a puzzle to me. She has seriously underperformed her numbers in the voting, ending up in the Bottom Group when she clearly didn’t deserve it. However, this hasn’t happened for the past couple weeks, and she may have benefited disproportionately from the elimination of Casey Abrams. Scotty McCreery, on the other hand, has consistently overperformed his scores. Were he pulling the votes he deserved, Scotty would have been in the Bottom 2 last week instead of Lauren Alaina. Lauren and Scotty are the two that fall below the line. That being the case, Lauren is probably the contestant in the most danger.

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