For those just hitting the site (now defunct), here is a compendium of the knowledge I’ve derived from American Idol. Much of the code used in making the models is found on Github, as is the data in the database.

First, the models:

I am also particularly proud of the Statistical Snapshot of American Radio (methodology here, see all posts here), a large data-mining effort to quantify what songs are predominantly played on radio by format, time-period. I built some fairly sophisticated data visualization tools for these, also on Github, along with all the data.

On more Idol related issues:

It wouldn’t be a website in the 2010s without some listicles:

Finally, I spent many hours compiling video retrospectives of the first three seasons. You can watch them all here.

Technically Minded – Episode 3: Pathological science

Video of Stanley and Pons’ 1989 press conference

The New Scientist article pitting Physics versus Chemistry

Full text of the paper Calorimetry of the palladium deuterium heavy water system
Also of  Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium

Shameless plug: My book is on Amazon

Just a quick off-season note: I haven’t been blogging much at all, but I did put all the finishing touches on my book, Thermo for Normals: Everyday Thermodynamics for non-scientists. If you are a regular reader of this site, you have the technical expertise to read and understand it, as it takes a look at thermodynamics from an accessible perspective. Here’s the link: Thermo for Normals

Top 3 Tracker for the Top 8 (redux)

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.

Sam Woolf continues to drop, and is now in 5th place. Malaya also took a big hit, though she is still ranked third least likely. Caleb Johnson fell somewhat. All of these gains went to Jena Irene and Alex Preston. Jena is now basically considered inevitable by the Top 3 Tracker, at about 98%; she has nowhere to go but down. Alex Preston, at 86%, is also extremely likely.

Caleb remains in 3rd place. Prior to this week, he had been steadily gaining, but that momentum halted this week. Jessica Meuse is steady, and Dexter and C.J. remain extremely unlikely. Malaya’s hit arguably puts her into extremely unlikely territory as well, which she already had been after the Top 10. Her recent gains with renditions of, e.g., “The Long and Winding Road”, have been erased by recent forgettable performances.

Regarding Sam’s ability to be in the Top 3 given that he was saved, it can certainly happen, though I believe the only instance of it was Jessica Sanchez, who made it to the finale. Michael Lynche made it to the Top 4, Matt Giraud the Top 5, and Casey Abrams the Top 6. We have fairly limited data for this set.

Programming note

Just a quick note to people who follow the site—we had to make some big technical changes last week because the site was getting hammered (the site actually went down on Thursday for about an hour … sorry about that). This included removing the Liveblog feature and the Polls to allow for supercaching. My crack technical team (Jessica) may get either or both working again by Wednesday, but if she doesn’t, that’s why they aren’t there.