Top 3 Tracker for the Top 9

The Top 3 tracker is a long view of the contest, trying to figure out who will end up in the Top 3 based on the current standings. It works in a similar way to the finals model, but rather than week-to-week, it looks at historical information to decide who most looks like a Top 3 contestant.

Majesty Rose, once so highly rated, has plummeted, and is now considered a long shot. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen anything quite like it. Meanwhile, Malaya Watson has had something of a resurgence, gaining for the first time since the finals began.

Alex Preston and Sam Woolf are now in a virtual tie for first place, as Sam bounced back from a really bad night last week. Alex, along with Jessica and Caleb, is one of only 3 contestants who’ve not yet been in the bottom 3. He continues to improve his chances, up 5 points from last week. Jena maintains her spot in third place.

Here is the Top 3 tracker over time:

You can see Alex rising from an initial 27% to his current 65% chance. Majesty’s fall is quite prominent.

To visualize the historical data, I have plotted as points the model elimination probability versus whether or not the person made the Top 3. If the person is near the top, he or she made the Top 3, and if that person is near the bottom, he or she did not make it. Some vertical jitter has been added so that points can be easily seen. Mouse over a dot to see which person in Idol history it corresponds to.

Both Sam and Alex have better scores than anybody who didn’t make the Top 3 (the record goes to Pia Toscano, who had a probability of only 0.135 in the Top 10, but did not make the Top 3), meaning that it would be a new record if they failed to make it. C.J. and Dexter have scores worse than the worst who did make it (Syesha Mercado), meaning that it would be quite (perhaps extremely) surprising if they did.

The black curve is the theoretical probability of making it versus how likely someone was to be voted off in the Top 10 (called Round 4). At this point, it’s still very uncertain who will make it, and the Top 3 tracker hasn’t yet been able to start averaging the data to get a better picture (averaging the data begins having an effect next week). As the season goes on, the system becomes more sure of itself, as averaging the data gives a much better fit.

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