Posts Tagged ‘american idol’


Why Lee Won

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

After intense competition between Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox for the title of 2010 American Idol, Lee took home the title. It was a battle between reflective, general competence and quirky, stylistic competence, and general competence is what the American people wanted this time. Though an obvious majority of idol fans are delighted that Lee won, another group of people are wondering how could this possibly happen. Well, here is the final answer on Why Lee Won.

First, let’s have a look at how Lee and Crystal have been doing on a weekly basis. The chart shows the percentage of opinions that were positive towards Lee and towards Crystal. Since the beginning of March, they have shared the top spot, but Lee has taken that spot on a more consistent basis.

Lee: Emotions towards the two contestants were fairly similar. About 48% of people had positive feelings towards Lee (as opposed to neutral or negative) while about 47% of people had positive emotions towards Crystal.

Lee: Recommendations for the two contestants were slightly higher for Lee. 43% of recommendations for Lee were positive as opposed to 39% for Crystal.

Lee: Physical appearance played a role as Lee generated 43% positive opinions about his looks while Crystal only generated 37% positive opinions about her looks.

Crystal: It could have been Crystal’s wacky locks that pulled her down but it wasn’t. Opinions about her hair generated 39% approval while opinions about Lee’s hair, as ordinary as it is, generated 36% positive opinions.

Lee: Crystal clearly had an issue with her discolored teeth and this also contributed to her physical appearance scores. But, many people were able to get past that as 24% of opinions about her teeth were positive while 29% of opinions about Lee’s teeth were positive.

Lee: Regardless of how true, Crystals disheveled hair and discolored teeth contributed to an overall opinion about cleanliness. Crystal generated only 34% positive scores in this regard while Lee generated 43% positive scores.

Lee: Crystal’s unique personality did not go unnoticed as 20% of people approved of her quirkiness. But, the calm, even personality of Lee was more desired as 39% as opinions about Lee’s emotional stability generated positive scores.

Lee: Lee’s quietness was very appealing to people as he generated a 47% positive score compared to Crystal’s 30% positive score.

Crystal: Not surprisingly, Crystal generated much higher new and different scores, with 50% positive opinions compared to Lee’s 42% positive opinions.

Crystal: And, Crystal definitely owned the ‘cool’ factor as she generated 55% approval compared to Lee’s 47% approval in this area.

Crystal: Crystal was also felt to be far better at selecting songs with 69% approval compared to 51% approval for Lee.

Crystal: These unique Crystal characteristics led to her generating slightly higher anticipation scores. Crystal generated 50% positive opinions while Lee generated 47% positive opinions.

Given that these are the areas generating the most differences between Lee and Crystal, one thing becomes clear. You might think appearances don’t matter, but that is Why Lee Won.

Conversition: Your Source for American Idol Predictions

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

It was big news last week when various people tried to use Google trends to predict who the winner of American Idol 2009 would be. Using volume of searches, accounting for known demographic and geographic information, and considering the trends from prior seasons, they felt it was pretty much a sure thing that Adam Lambert would win. Perhaps you heard the news, though, that Kris Allen won the talent contest.

Those of you who have been following MatterMeter may have noticed that MatterMeter correctly predicted the outcome, giving Adam a rating of 67% and Kris a rating of 86%. Let’s just say that to remain focused on the issue at hand here, we won’t talk about sample sizes or confidence intervals associated with these numbers. That’s our little secret.


How is it that so many people predicted incorrectly? Surely, the sample sizes on which the Google trends analyses were based ran into the thousands and possibly millions. Surely, search terms are a reasonable proxy for interest in a topic. Statistically, it seemed to be a reasonable bet.

The missing link, not the Lemur link also discovered this week, is that Google trends does not evaluate feelings or sentiments. Were people searching so fervently for Adam Lambert because he could be counted on to deliver a stunning vocal performance or because he could be counted on to deliver a strange song interpretation that would certainly go viral. Were people searching for Adam Lambert not because they were excited to purchase his upcoming CD but rather because they couldn’t believe that his songs might actually end up on a CD? (For the record, our team thinks Adam and Kris are fabulously talented!)

I’d advise you to keep an eye on MatterMeter and EvoListen next year. We just might get it right again.