It was apparently news today that White Guy With Guitar (WGWG) winner #2, Kris Allen of season 8, thinks that another WGWG will win this year. He’s referring to Phil Phillips, who would indeed by the fifth such winner in 5 years. I happen to agree with Kris Allen that Phil will probably win. That is not an endorsement, just a thing I think is true.
You know what else is true? It isn’t just American Idol voters: Americans in general like WGWGs.
Take any metric you like. Above is the demographic breakdown of the Rolling Stone Top 100 Artists. About half of them are WGWGs. The lion’s share of the remainder is black guys with no guitars (think James Brown) and black guys with guitars (think Jimi Hendrix). That leaves only 20% for women of any kind.
Maybe you think Rolling Stone isn’t indicative of American Idol (I disagree, since the judges and producers are of that ilk). Fine, then look at the Billboard charts. As I pointed out previously, about 65% of the Top 10 at any point are men. If we expand to the Top 100, the problem gets far more lopsided in favor of men. It’s not pretty, but it appears to be true.
Yes, it could be that Phil is winning because he’s got a PR blast. He could be winning because the judges are obsequious. He could be winning a pity vote due to his chronic illness. And, maybe he could be winning because of VFTW tomfoolery. But my hypothesis is that Phil is going to win because, in the end, Americans just prefer their singers male, white, and strumming.