The debut of the new semifinals model went off without a hitch. The model chose 100% correctly, somewhat better than I had hoped. I’d like to just go over how the model thought things went down.
Below is reprinted the Men’s prediction:
As I wrote that night, the most probable Top 5 Men consisted of Lazaro, Devin, Burnell, Curtis, and Paul. At the beginning of the night, Charlie Askew occupied the 5th spot, with Paul in 6th, but with an update to the final Dialidol and Votefair numbers, that was reversed.
Notice that the various indices were divergent. WhatNotToSing ranked Nick Boddington as third best, but Dialidol showed him just above zero (9th place), and he was also 9th place according to Votefair. That, along with the fact that his audition was not shown, made him an unlikely finalist.
Dialidol, meanwhile, ranked Charlie Askew as being in first place. While this is often a strong indicator, it is less so in the semifinals. Last year, for instance, Dialidol thought Eben Frankewitz was a lock. But WNTS gave Charlie a 9 out of 100, dead last by a large margin, and Votefair showed him only as 4th most popular. Viewed in the aggregate, Charlie’s numbers were weak. That being said, the model, in my opinion, got lucky with this call. It could have easily gone to Charlie instead of Paul.
Lazaro was predicted most likely to advance based on decent to strong numbers on all indices. He was fourth on Dialidol, first on Votefair, and fifth on WNTS. Couple that with a high amount of pre-exposure, and the model assigned him a very high probability of advancing. That he was revealed last was possibly an indicator that he was way out ahead of the pack. At this point, he might be considered a front-runner among the men.
Finally, Burnell Taylor had a 0 on Dialidol. This was the kiss of death for the others with the same (Vince Powell, Cortez Shaw, and Elijah Liu). But Burnell had something those guys didn’t: he was third most popular according to Votefair and had the top WNTS score of the night. That, along with the pre-exposure considerations, made him favored to be included.
Now the women:
If Lazaro can be considered the front-runner among men, I think it’s fair to say that Angela (Angie) Miller is the same among women. In fact, she may be, at this point, considered the front-runner of the contest. Her ranking among the indicators was 3rd on WNTS, 2nd on Dialidol, and 1st to a large degree on Votefair. This should be closely watched, because Votefair has severely overrated contestants in the past, such as Jessica Sanchez. But assuming it’s not being juked by rabid fans, Angela seems to be positioned well.
Candice Glover was another cinch for the Top 10. Third on Dialidol, tied for third on Votefair, and with the top WNTS score of the night, her advancement was not doubtful. I retain a bit of skepticism as to her staying power, as some similar singers, such as Mandisa, started strong but didn’t go the distance.
The model was not confident enough to call the contest for Amber and Janelle instead of Adriana and Breanna. Their probabilities were below the threshold where most errors occur. Adriana Latonio had a very strong Dialidol score (both of Dialidol’s picks for the top spot were wrong), but a poor WNTS score and a small amount of pre-exposure.
Janelle squeaked by according to the model, benefiting from particularly low WNTS scores for her competitors. She had weak numbers on Dialidol and Votefair, and she is at a disadvantage going into the finals. Without some kind of game changer, look for her speedy departure.
When I watched the show, I had thought Aubrey Cleland was going to skate by, but the model correctly repudiated my view. She showed no real sign of support on Dialidol and Votefair, and had a decent but unspectacular WNTS score.
Finally, we come to Zoanette. I’ve been saying throughout these rounds that I thought Zoanette had no chance with the voters. She was a goof, much like Normand Gentle, more a laugh-at-her-not-with-her contestant than a real contender. The judges may have tolerated that, even venerated it, but my feeling was that the audience would have little patience for it, and I guessed right. Other than the fact that she had a lot of screen time in the auditions, there was no reason in the numbers to think she would advance.
The three positions that the model was not confident on could, of course, have gone another way. Probabilities don’t imply any kind of certainty, and the most probable events frequently don’t occur. Thus, inasmuch as I use that as an excuse when the model is wrong, I must point out the 100% accuracy of the model this year was a bit of a fluke. It could easily have been only 70% accurate.
The model represents conventional wisdom, in my mind, and as such this has been a very conventional year, so far. There were no real surprises, or anything that makes you just shake your head and wonder how it happened. That’s good for someone trying to predict it, but it’s not necessarily good for the show.