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.
Here is the Top 3 tracker over time:
After finding himself the lowest vote-getter, Sam bounced back somewhat, regaining the #4 spot that he held two weeks ago, but just barely. The fight for the third spot is looking like a 3-way fight between him, Jessica, and Caleb. Both Jena and Alex remain in the top spots, albeit declining somewhat from their stratospheric highs last week. Both chose somewhat radical re-arrangements of 80s tunes, which were a bit polarizing on the voting public.
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. The black curve is the theoretical probability of making it to the Top 3 versus the model elimination probability.
Both Alex and Jena are no longer in a position where it would be historic if they didn’t make the Top 3. The biggest upset in that department still belongs to Siobhan Magnus. On the other hand, Dexter and C.J. would be setting a record if they did make it, as they are less likely than the biggest surprise Top 3 contestant, Syesha Mercado. On the plus side, C.J. did improve to a chance greater than 1%.
It’s hard to say whether Dexter’s position is as high as it should be, since we weren’t given the Bottom 3 this week. Instead, the producers chose to only tell us the Bottom 2, which I believe is a first for the show in the Top 8. I don’t understand the rationale here: surely the supporters of a person would like to know if he was in trouble, so that they could make sure to vote for him or her.
As far as Sam, I still think he’s probably more likely than Jessica but less likely than Caleb. There isn’t a direct historical analog for this group of people, so we don’t have much to go on.