Final 11 – Pre-game

The final 11 is the first round where men start to become vulnerable in the contest. Whereas women constitute 71% of Final 12 eliminated, in the Final 11 they constitute only 60%, so we can certainly have a man not only in the bottom 3 but actually kicked off. If I had to pick a man to worry about, it would most definitely be Paul McDonald:

Week Average Paul Margin
Final 12 46 28 -18
Final 13 51.7 42 -9.7

Not only did Paul under-perform the average, he was dead last among all men in WNTS rating.

Nevertheless, the odds still favor a lady leaving us on Thursday, and it’s not hard to figure out which one:

Week Average Naima Margin
Final 12 46 17 -29
Final 13 51.7 44 -7.7

Of the women who failed to make the Final 12 by vote, Naima is the only one remaining. It has happened quite frequently that a woman who was in the Bottom 3 in the first two final round made it through the third, but excepting in the case of Haley Scarnato and Camile Velasco, none has done so with a score quite as bad as Naima’s was. Naima needs probably at least a WNTS score of 30 to be safe.

The theme of the week, Motown, has historically probably not been advantageous to either men or women. Although women dominate the bottom 3 for Motown, it has only come up in the Final 10 and Final 12 episodes, when women tend to get the worst of it anyway.

I would, sight unseen, also assume Haley will be in the bottom 3, though I am significantly less sure of this than Naima.

The pimp spot effect: a definite advantage

How many times has the Idol singing last in the finals ever been eliminated? The somewhat surprising answer is that it has happened only once (and a half). It has never happened before the top 7 in any given season.

First, the exceptions to the rule. Siobahn Magnus was eliminated in the Final 6 of American Idol season 9, with a way-out-of-her-comfort-zone rendition of Shania Twain’s “Any Man Of Mine”. It scored a 43 on WhatNotToSing, an Idol ratings aggregator, the third worst score of that episode; but as a woman she had a built-in disadvantage, and a terrible performance by Lee DeWyze was given a pass by the voting public. In this case, even going last could not save Siobahn from going home. Continue reading

Clear gender bias in American Idol voting

If it seems like American Idol always turns into a sausage fest, it’s probably because it really does. If you’re a female singer, you have only slightly more than a 30% chance of reaching the top 2 under the current rules.

I compiled data from Wikipedia on the gender makeup of remaining finalists on all seasons excluding season 3 (more on that later). My feeling has been that women get hosed, but I didn’t really think it was this bad: Continue reading