Top 3 Tracker for the Top 5

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 still looks like Jena, Caleb, and Alex, though the race tightened somewhat this week. Jena has been above 80% for four weeks now, and is the only contestant to be above 80% in any week except Alex after the Top 8 redux. Caleb is steady, and Alex fell slightly—the model was worried about him this week, and so he was downgraded.

Jessica, down after last week where she was in the bottom 2, rose a little bit, as did Sam. Sam has been up and down all year, whereas Jessica has been quite consistent, but rated significantly lower than any frontrunner. She has work to do to catch up.

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Top 6 projection (final)

Name Song WNTS MJs VF Not-safe Probability
C.J. Harris American Woman / Whatever It Is 16.5 76.3 3 0.553
Alex Preston Animal / Always on My Mind 48.0 6.6 14 0.364
Jessica Meuse Somebody to Love / Jolene 62.5 5.2 14 0.354
Sam Woolf It’s Time / You’re Still the One 42.5 8.8 17 0.321
Caleb Johnson Sting Me / Undo It 69.5 1.1 22 0.240
Jena Irene Barracuda / So Small 68.0 2.1 29 0.167

Important!

The methodology for the finals model is described here (though some modifications have been made to replace Dialidol with MJsBigBlog’s poll). The model is 87% accurate on ranking within a margin of error of +/- 3%. Probabilities being what they are, somebody with a not-safe probability of just 0.25 will be in the bottom 3 one out of four times. Please do not comment that the numbers are wrong. They are probabilities, not certainties or even claims. Do not gamble based on these numbers.

Names in green are most likely to be safe. Names in red are considered most at risk for being in the bottom 2. Names in yellow are undecided. The most probable bottom 2 is C.J. and Jessica Alex. However, anybody on the list being in the bottom 2 would not be shocking.

Final update 3:12 PM EST. No changes to rankings. Still close between Jessica and Alex. Nobody is even close to C.J.

Updated 11:07 EST. Alex drops to 2nd most likely, but the bottom 2 call is still ambiguous.

Initial post 12:34PM EST. As always, these numbers will change somewhat as the day progresses. I will update.

At the time of this writing, a whopping 75% of the readership at MJsBigBlog thinks C.J. will be eliminated tomorrow. His WNTS scores were both through the floor, and he’s the least popular on Votefair. We’re getting into fairly shocking territory if he escapes the bottom 2, and quite surprising if he is not eliminated tomorrow. Even if he is, he’s now tied for the longest-surviving wildcard in Idol history* (joining Trenyce, George Huff, and Matt Giraud. Giraud, incidentally, had to also be saved, so maybe he only should count as 7).

Tonight we saw something of a stumble for Alex. His average WNTS score tonight is 48, the lowest he’s gotten since his misadventure with “I Don’t Want to Be” way back in the Top 12. However, it won’t take much movement in Votefair to push him back into third place in the model standings.

As of now, the model is too uncertain to make a call about the person most likely to join C.J. in the bottom 2. Jessica, Alex, and Sam all have values that are too close to one another for decent confidence. This is doubly so now that Dialidol is gone, and a new index, MJsBigBlog’s poll, has been incorporated. However, Caleb and Jena look safe.

*Clay Aiken (as pointed out in the comments) did last longer. Aiken was voted in by the public, rather than chosen by the judges, but nonetheless survived 10 votes. You be the judge.

Top 3 Tracker for the Top 6

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%.

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Top 7 Projection (final)

Name Song WNTS MJs VF Not-safe Probability
C.J. Harris Gravity 62 40.9 4 0.588
Dexter Roberts Muckalee Creek Water 46 22 6 0.579
Jessica Meuse Gunpowder and Lead 69 18.6 10 0.482
Sam Woolf Sail Away 52 14.3 14 0.433
Alex Preston The A Team 73 1.2 17 0.372
Caleb Johnson Family Tree 70 1.8 18 0.360
Jena Irene Creep 90 1.2 32 0.185

Important!

The methodology for the finals model is described here (though see below—some modifications have been made). The model is 87% accurate on ranking within a margin of error of +/- 3%. Probabilities being what they are, somebody with a not-safe probability of just 0.25 will be in the bottom 3 one out of four times. Please do not comment that the numbers are wrong. They are probabilities, not certainties or even claims. Do not gamble based on these numbers.

Names in green are most likely to be safe. Names in red are considered most at risk for being in the bottom 3. Names in yellow are undecided. The most probable bottom 3 is Dexter, C.J., and Jessica. However, anybody on the list being in the bottom 3 would not be shocking.

Final update 5:43 PM EST.

Updated 3:17 PM EST. No ranking changes, but Jessica and Sam are now too close to call.

Updated 11:15 AM EST. Caleb cedes the top spot to Jena.

As always, these numbers will change throughout the day. I will update. (Probabilities assume a bottom 3. If only a bottom 2 is revealed, multiply each number by 2/3).

This post content is definitely inside baseball, and some of it won’t make sense unless you follow this site or the Idolsphere in general. Sorry about that.

I’m calling it: Dialidol time of death is 4/16/2014. It was a good run, but phone voting is no longer relevant. The index is either non-responsive or anti-correlated with winner each week this entire year. A halfway decent way to guess who was eliminated would be to vote for whoever Dialidol says is best.

So far the only possibly suitable substitute I’ve found for Dialidol is a poll conducted at MJsBigBlog for “Who WILL go home?“. There are a few considerations here. If we look at the entirety of the history of this poll, it’s been relatively predictive of who’s gone home. If we do the logit of the percentage of votes that the person will go home versus whether they were not safe, we find a good fit:

Coefficients:
             Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(>|z|)    
(Intercept)  1.900010   0.625569   3.037  0.00239 ** 
MJWillInv   -0.032278   0.007569  -4.264 2.01e-05 ***

This says that each percentage point a contestant had in that poll increased her log odds of being in the bottom group by 0.03, and it’s quite statistically significant. (For more information, please see the model methodology post, which explains what these numbers mean.)

However, I’m not entirely comfortable with affirming such a high degree of effectiveness. You see, part of the time the data exists (starting in season 10) was when Dialidol was up and running. That means that likely a fair fraction of the people who voted in the poll read Dialidol and then voted in the poll. However, we can look at how the poll has done this year, when Dialidol has never functioned:

Coefficients:
            Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(>|z|)   
(Intercept)  7.80780    2.74607   2.843  0.00447 **
MJWillInv   -0.09734    0.02962  -3.286  0.00102 **

Although less statistically significant, it still certainly seems to be an ok indicator. To be conservative, I have discounted the weight of the index in the model projection relative to what this fit would say. I do this because the poll hasn’t really predicted this season’s huge misses very well. In fact, it missed as badly as the other indices when it came to Jena’s early trip to the Bottom 3, and predicted M.K. was certain to be gone when she was in fact safe in the Top 11.

I want to stress that this is partly guesswork. The safest thing any person can do is make his best guess, but hedge his bets. I know the full history of WNTS and of Votefair, so I know how seriously to take them to a high degree of certainty. But I do not yet have a good quantitative idea of well MJ’s poll does when Dialidol is gone—and neither does anyone else. That’s why I’ve reduced its contribution.