American Idol and intentional data


Blake is the favorite to win American Idol in our house but we thought he was going to lose out last night based on last week’s performances. Not so. I was interested to read the comment on the Yahoo! TV blog about why Melinda did not go through:

Over the last week, Blake Lewis pulled down five times as many searches as Doolittle. Fellow diva Jordin Sparks outranked Melinda in Buzz by a factor of four. In another important popularity indicator, Melinda only drew 20% of her searches from teens. Compare that to the 31% notched by Jordin or the amazing 55% brought in by Blake, and you’ll see that Doolittle needed to do more to connect with that all-important voting bloc. [American Idol – Yahoo! TV]

However, this is an observation in hindsight: they did not trust the buzz enough to make a prediction.

That said, we weren’t going to bet against Melinda’s amazing voice and predict an early ouster based solely on Buzz. But according to search interest, this result was a long time coming. And we should know better than to be shocked by the tendencies of a fickle voting public. [American Idol – Yahoo! TV]

I will be watching the Hitwise blog closely over the next eighteen months or so. They have already begun looking at volume of searches for the presidential candidates. It will be interesting to see how that ‘buzz’ fluctuates, and how good a predictor of the final result it is.
To link this to the post about social software the other day, Buzz is popularity acceleration or ‘hotness’.
To link it to the post about the ‘so not you generation’ …. Commentary on the result points to generational differences. So for example an article in Slate talks about Melinda’s niche as the adult contemporary crowd. I did not think that Blake’s version of Roxanne was strong enough to escape the shadow of Sting’s, and this view was echoed in some of the judges’ comments. However, for my children this is a non-issue: Sting? The Police? Who are they? It was just a good performance.




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