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:
The Top 3 is looking very much like Jena, Caleb, and Alex. Jena has, with her last couple of performances, put her back above a 90% chance. Caleb got out of a rut this week and improved, and Alex is steady. Jessica, long occupying the space around 30%, still finds herself there. And previous lowest-vote-getter Sam continues his see-saw by falling to about 40%, and 4th most likely. C.J. remains the lowest, although he more than doubled his chances from 2% to 5%.
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.
Jena is in the territory where it would be historic if she failed to make the Top 3. Her score is better than the best person who failed to make the Top 3, Siobhan Magnus.In fact, only five people in history have had a better score in this round: Angie Miller, Crystal Bowersox, Taylor Hicks, David Archuleta, and Adam Lambert. Note that that list includes only one winner (Hicks), so this is not a statement about whether Jena will win, only whether she will make the Top 3.
Three people historically have been better than Alex and Caleb and still not made it: Siobhan plus Amber Holcomb and James Durbin. It would be shocking if neither made it, but only mildly surprising if only one did.
On the other hand, five people with scores worse than Sam made it: Katharine McPhee, Lauren Alaina, Kris Allen, Haley Reinhart, and Syesha Mercado. Nobody has ever made it with a score as bad as C.J.’s.