VoteFair!

VoteFair  ranking

Voting ID:

VoteFair American Idol poll

American Idol voting, the VoteFair way

The poll here correctly identifies the most-popular and least-popular contestants.  How?  It uses all your preferences — and all the preferences of other voters — in VoteFair ranking calculations.  (For reasons explained, it does not predict who will win.)

(Also on this page: cross-season poll through season 12, season 12 poll (finally a superb singer), cross-season poll through season 11, season 11 poll (the close-race season), cross-season poll through season 10, season 10 poll (the Country-music season), cross-season poll through season 9, season 9 poll (with its crazy results), cross-season poll through season 8, season 8 poll (and why text messaging tipped the balance), cross-season poll through season 7, season 7 summary, cross-season poll through season 6, season 6 summary, season 5 summary, earlier cross-season polls, and Jennifer Hudson's early elimination)


The Creative Problem Solver's Toolbox

The ebook version of
The Creative Problem Solver's Toolbox:  A Complete Course in the Art of Creating Solutions to Problems of Any Kind
is now available exclusively on the Amazon Kindle.

Published around the world in 9 languages,
the printed editions have helped — and inspired — tens of thousands of readers.


Season 13   (2014)

VoteFair Ballot

Top 6

Current Results

(Links to each week's results are in
the summary table column headings)

You can vote just once!
Non-U.S. votes and multiple votes from the same voter will be removed,
but you can tell other fans of your favorite to vote here.

 

Top 7 results

This week's elimination of Dexter Roberts reveals that Country-music fans are either not terribly impressed by his singing, or they have lost the voting advantages they had back when AT&T sent a text message to AT&T cellphones telling them when the American Idol voting had started and telling them the contestant numbers, and back when Country-music radio stations announcing relevant contestant numbers provided a big networking advantage.  Now, voting by text message can be done from any cellphone carrier, the timing is not as limited, and the contestant numbers remain the same (from week to week).  Also, the addition of voting through Google Plus is more likely to benefit pop singers than Country-music singers.

Jessica Meuse ending up in the bottom two in spite of having a gender advantage — only two females and five males — is not surprising after she sang off-pitch (according to the judges) and after she claimed (even if just “joking”) that she might have been adbucted by aliens.  The latter claim would alienate both people who believe in science and people who believe in religion, which is lots and lots of people.  Also she says she wants to be perceived as a “badass,” yet she failed to channel that kind of personality into her performance.

This week the “Washington DC ballot stuffer” stuffed fewer ballots — 30 ballots — so she is slowly learning to get less greedy.  Only when she stops casting more than one ballot will her efforts have any influence on the results.  As a new development, a ballot stuffer in Boston stuffed at least 16 ballots this week, and a fewer number last week.  As usual, the final results are posted in a link on the elimination table; for your convenience here is an additional link to this week's results.

Cluelessness in Washington DC

The ballot-stuffing attempts from the person (woman?) in Washington DC continue.  She has realized that she was getting too greedy.  Specifically she has learned that when she casts so many ballots that her favorite (Sam Woolf) gets to the top of the ranking, the ballot stuffing is obvious, and her ballots are soon removed.  Next she tried casting enough ballots to get her favorite to the top of the first-choice ranking.  That too is easy to see.  Her latest attempt was to cast 15 ballots earlier in the week, apparently hoping that the less-greedy change in results would not be apparent.

This is so funny because it matches what goes on in Washington DC politics.  Members of Congress (from both political parties) have passed laws that favor the businesses that are owned by the people who contribute the most money to congressional election campaigns.  They — the politicians and the people who bankroll them — think that those favors are not being noticed by the voters.  Hah!

Members of Congress seem to believe their corruption is not being noticed.  In particular, they seem to believe their own faulty statistics about employment and inflation.  The official unemployment rate is about 9%, but that only counts people who are currently getting unemployment benefits.  Anyone who has friends and relatives anywhere outside of Washington DC and New York and similar areas knows that unemployment is actually around 20%, which is what it was during the great depression.  The official inflation rate is around 3%.  But that number is partly based on the faulty consumer price index (CPI), which has been “adjusted” to exclude food items that are rising in price and include new (indexed) technology prices that are declining — such as the per-pixel price of digital cameras, even though consumers don't buy low-pixel-count cameras.  (The official inflation rate is also based on how much of a discount the U.S. Treasury has to give to buyers when treasury bonds/bills/notes are auctioned off, but currently the biggest buyer at those auctions is the Federal Reserve ....)  Anyone who buys their own groceries knows that the real rate of inflation is more like 10% per year.  In short, members of Congress think that the effects of their favors (to the biggest campaign contributors) are going unnoticed.  Hah!

Anyone who spends any time learning about history knows that governments are as greedy as they think they can get away with.  Fortunately the technologies of the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, and now Internet communications have successively increased the flow of information about what goes on in government — and about what goes on in warfare, which is always between governments.  As a result, citizens have become less willing to tolerate the excessive levels of greed, blatant corruption, and foolish wars that used to be commonplace in Europe.  Nowadays the biggest kinds of corruption in the United States involve documents and legal proceedings.  These kinds of corruption are not as bad, and not as noticable, as what Russia and China and North Korea still do to the people who publicly call attention to corruption in their governments.

Yet the funniest part is that the people who bankroll both political parties in Congress have shot themselves in the foot by causing the economic downturn we are now suffering from.  They are losing lots of money as a result of this “recession,” and they are clueless that they are the ones who created it.

And they don't realize they are the people who are sustaining it.  How? Each big business has pushed through subsidies and tax reductions and non-free-market advantages that give them a bigger piece of “pie” — which is the take-home pay of the average employee — and the result is that there is no remaining “pie” with which consumers can buy the products that those businesses produce.  Instead voters/consumers have to save their money to buy food, the cost of which is increasing dramatically.  Marie Antoinette saying “let them eat cake” is an historic example of this kind of cluelessness.

Those biggest campaign contributors also fail to realize that the shareholders who co-own (through mutual funds, IRA stock investments, etc.) their corporations are the same people who oppose them in political elections.  And frequently the people being fleeced are the employees of those politically active businesses.  In other words, civilization has progressed beyond less-civilized times when one group of people lived (and hid) in a castle and the other group of people grew food and maintained the castle walls.  Now we are intimately interconnected (whether we like it or not).

The recent ballot-stuffing attempts by a Washington DC resident serve as a reminder that the people in Washington DC are clueless.  They fail to understand that their own unethical behaviors are causing harm to themselves — because we are all connected in ways that did not exist before communication technologies linked us together.  In the case of the ballot-stuffer, she is calling attention to the fact that Sam Woolf is not a popular candidate, which is the opposite of helping to promote him.

Fortunately the same technology that makes it hard for governments to hide unethical behavior also makes it easy to conduct elections using 1-2-3 ballots and pairwise counting.  This simple change will transfer the puppet strings of Congress from the biggest campaign contributors to the majority of voters.  Then we, the majority of voters, can elect problem-solving leaders, instead of getting stuck with special-interest puppets.

Problem-solving leaders will be willing and able to dramatically strengthen the U.S. economy.  How?  By implementing reforms such as:

  • Taxing The Takers More Than The Makers, which would also help to stop the “brain drain” of the best university graduates working for businesses that just shuffle documents (or the digital equivalent), instead of working for the kinds of businesses that bring money into the United States from foreign nations — which has always been the basis for sustained economic prosperity.
  • Truly reforming the patent system — which would not be as important to economic strength if large corporations knew how to employ inventors, which they don't, partly because managers do not know how to recognize the difference between a rebel and an innovator.  Speaking of this topic, is Jessica Meuse a rebel, or is she “creative” and (if people like her choices) “innovative”?  Rebels are so anxious to stop something they don't like that they fail to give enough attention to whether they are headed toward something worse.  Rebels attract fewer fans compared to innovators and creative thinkers.
  • Reforming the educational system to teach creative-problem-solving skills.  As the author of a well-known book on this topic I'll take this opportunity to say that in a few days the ebook version of this book will become available on the Kindle!
  • Ending the blatant corruption on Wall Street, such as stopping insiders from being able to “cut in line” ahead of average investors — with full knowledge of what trades the average investors are waiting to execute.

Looking much farther into the future, the fight between the Republican party and the Democratic party will continue to fade in importance, just as the fight between Protestants and Catholics has faded in importance.  New fights will gain importance.  Soon, there will be international governmental fights over gold.  Yet even those fights also are not important.  So what is important?  Trust.

The actions of Congress have undermined trust in the U.S. dollar, which will soon lead to even heavier inflation.

And the actions of Congress have undermined trust in the United States as a peacekeeper between excessively greedy governments that try to take over corruptly run smaller regions.  In particular, our lack of trustworthiness limits our ability to help protect the corrupt Ukrainian government against a power grab from corrupt Russia, to help protect corrupt Taiwan from being taken over by corrupt China, to help corrupt South Korea fight off aggression from corrupt North Korea, and (what is especially important to some of the biggest campaign contributors) to help protect corrupt Israel from being wiped out by its surrounding anti-Jewish neighbor nations.

Fortunately trust can be regained.  How?  We can ban the use of single-mark ballots in all governmental elections — especially U.S. primary elections.  In the meantime we can keep our sanity by laughing at the cluelessness going on in Washington DC.

Top 7 commentary

Based on the information below, it's difficult to predict who will be eliminated next week, except to say that although Jessica Meuse is somewhat vulnerable, she benefits from the vote splitting among the remaining 5 males.  The only singers who are relatively safe are Caleb Johnson, Alex Preston, and Jena Irene; they have remained out of the bottom three, except for Jena six weeks ago.

Top 8 results

This week's results, after removing 94 ballot-stuffing attempts from the “Washington DC ballot stuffer” and a few other invalid ballots, are shown below.  The traditional vote count reveals that Malaya Watson, Dexter Roberts, and CJ Harris are somewhat equally unpopular.  Dexter Roberts is supported by well-networked Country-music fans, and apparently CJ Harris is protected by dedicated voters, so Malaya Watson was eliminated.

The three most popular singers, according to the VoteFair poll (based on both VoteFair ranking and the traditional first-choice counts), are Caleb Johnson, Jena Irene, and Alex Preston.

Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Caleb Johnson  Ranking score is 66 for Caleb Johnson 45 voters marked Caleb Johnson as their first choice
Second-most popular Jena Irene  Ranking score is 57 for Jena Irene 53 voters marked Jena Irene as their first choice
Third-most popular Alex Preston  Ranking score is 50 for Alex Preston 46 voters marked Alex Preston as their first choice
Fourth-most popular Jessica Meuse  Ranking score is 41 for Jessica Meuse 31 voters marked Jessica Meuse as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Sam Woolf  Ranking score is 26 for Sam Woolf 29 voters marked Sam Woolf as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Malaya Watson  Ranking score is 17 for Malaya Watson 7 voters marked Malaya Watson as their first choice
Seventh-most popular Dexter Roberts  Ranking score is 9 for Dexter Roberts 12 voters marked Dexter Roberts as their first choice
Eighth-most popular CJ Harris  Ranking score is 0 for CJ Harris 7 voters marked CJ Harris as their first choice

 

Results of non-contestants poll

Here is a summary of the popularity of non-contestants from this week's extra-questions poll:

  1. Keith Urban
  2. Harry Connick, Jr.
  3. Ryan Seacrest
  4. Jennifer Lopez
  5. Rickey Minor and the Band
  6. Randy Jackson

Keith Urban is the most popular, although Harry Connick, Jr. got the most first-choice votes.  This means that Keith is not the first choice of as many voters, but most voters have a higher regard for Keith.

The relevance and wit of the judges' comments is an important factor in their popularity.  The comments from Jennifer tend to be focused on how much she likes the performance, which is something we, as viewers, tend to have our own opinions about.  In contrast, Keith and (especially) Harry are more likely to point out what we might not have noticed.

It will be interesting to see if the popularity of Harry Connick, Jr. changes over time.  Until a few weeks ago Harry had the advantage that his less-interesting comments would have been edited out, but now that the shows are live we are seeing him make some comments that focus more on himself than on the contestants.  Also, he has not yet learned to resist interrupting the other judges, which is a skill that Keith and Jennifer have learned from previous seasons.  This factor could contribute to his high ranking because the overall pattern is that the people who talk the least tend to be closer to the bottom of the poll results.

It's worth noting that the sound engineer makes the mistake of completely turning down the volume of Keith Urban's microphone when either of the other two judges are speaking, and this can make it hard to hear Keith's less-loud speaking voice when he interjects a comment.  In contrast, we hear nearly all of what Harry says when Jennifer's microphone is turned up.

Top 8 results

Sam Woolf getting the fewest votes should be no surprise to people who follow the VoteFair poll.  Aside from his nervous smile, he doesn't show much of any emotional response, and that along with not being one of the best singers accounts for his low ranking in the VoteFair poll.  As pointed out last week, vote splitting among the males made it likely that the singer with the fewest votes would be a male.

The judges may later regret their early use of their one “save”.  Sam is unlikely to win (unless he quickly learns to become more personable), whereas it's still possible that one of the better singers could end up with the fewest votes because of the unpredictability of the new official voting methods — especially in terms of which singer's fans sign up to cast an extra 50 votes through Google.

Washington DC ballot stuffer

This week the “Washington DC ballot stuffer” tried to stuff 89 ballots!  No one else came close.  (Those ballots were removed both earlier in the week and at the end of the poll.)  Ironically the ballots implied that she reads the commentary here, which indicates a willingness to lie in addition to having no shame about being greedy.  The guess about her gender is based on her preference for Sam Woolf as her first choice.

Thanks for reading

It's heartening to learn that almost half (46%) the voters say they read this commentary.  Thank you for your interest!  And especially thank you for learning how voting should be done.  Please share with others what you learn.

Top 9 results

No surprise this week.  The weak singers are getting eliminated one by one.

As for next week, the clear gender imbalance — 3 females and 5 males — increases the likelihood that next week's elimination will be a male.  This is how vote splitting works.  The voters who prefer a male winner are splitting their votes across more choices, while the voters who prefer a female winner are concentrating their votes on fewer choices.

This week “the big ballot stuffer” in Washington DC was “outstuffed” by someone in Boston, although only by two ballots.

Top 10 results

Caleb Johnson is demonstrating that he can sing more than just rock songs.  Alex Preston and Jena Irene are emerging as the other best singers.  The remaining contestants are, by comparison, struggling.

Dexter Roberts ending up in the bottom three may trigger the Country-music network to increase their votes for him.  However, they would need to offset voting from young pop-music fans, who can now quickly vote using both Facebook and Google accounts.  (Does anyone vote by calling the phone lines anymore?)  The departure of AT&T as a sponsor, with their special-priority text-messaging access, might have weakened the Country-music voters, who are less likely to have both Facebook and Google accounts (compared to having AT&T mobile phones).

This week “the big ballot stuffer” tried to “sneak in” 28 votes.  Want a laugh?  He or she lives (or works) at the northern outskirts of Washington DC!  That place seems to think that cheating and corruption are acceptable.  Yet, no one else came close to trying to stuff as many ballots.  Even the votes coming from outside the United States (which are also removed) no longer involve that much cheating.

Top 11 results

The competition finally started.  The singers who overcame their stage fright (by becoming more comfortable onstage and sharing more of their personality), and who made wise song choices, are rising to the top in popularity.  As usually happens at this stage in the competition, physical appearance is becoming less important.  And Caleb Johnson demonstrated some versatility.  Fortunately the less-interesting personalities were eliminated before reaching the top 10, who will be on the tour.  In other words, the VoteFair poll results are basically matching the officially “measured” popularities, with the expected exception that Dexter Roberts gets lots of official votes from Country-music music fans, but not as much support in the VoteFair poll.

BTW, if you post a link to this VoteFair poll, this link has contestant photos, whereas this link does not have the photos.

Top 12 results

The show's in-progress vote counts on Wednesday night revealled that Dexter Roberts is already getting the votes of well-networked Country-music fans — who vote officially, but mostly do not watch the show.  Presumably social media and Country-music radio stations provide reminders to vote, and instructions on how to vote for him.  Very few Country-music fans vote in this VoteFair poll, so this poll shows him to be less popular than the official vote counts.

As for this week's elimination of seventh-ranked Emily Piriz, it's not really a surprise because all the contestants — except Caleb Johnson — are struggling to get comfortable in front of the huge audience, and — as the judges point out — none of them are wowing us.  The drop in TV ratings reflects this disappointment.  The VoteFair poll results also show us that (based on who votes here) the most popular singer, Majesty Rose, is not the most “popular” according to the first-choice vote counts.  If this were a horse race, all the horses would be tightly packed together.  (Caleb Johnson won't be a front-runner unless he can sing pop music well.)

If nothing changes, Dexter Roberts is the likely winner.

(A personal note to the person who tried to cast 21 ballots: Do you really think your ballot-stuffing attempts are working?)  (And to the voters outside the U.S.: Please read the notification that out-of-country ballots are removed.)

Top 12 commentary

This week all the contestants can fit within the 12-choice limit, so we get to find out how Dexter Roberts, who was omitted from last week's poll (for reasons explained below), fits into the overall ranking.

Top 13 results

This week's bottom three were females, which fits with the general results from the VoteFair poll (after removing a few dozen out-of-country votes and a few stuffed ballots), which shows the males to be more popular than the females, although there are specific exceptions.  Specifically, the most popular females are Majesty Rose and Jessica Meuse, and the least-popular males are Ben Briley and CJ Harris.

Top 13 commentary

This week, although there are 13 singers, there are only 12 singers in the pollDexter Roberts is not included.  Why?  Only 12 choices can be handled here, and it's more important to discover the balance between females and males than to discover the balance between an authentic Country-music singer and the other singers.  If you have followed previous-seasons commentary here, you know why.  Otherwise, within a few weeks, the commentary here will explain why a talented and authentic Country-music singer is different from the other singers — in terms of likelihood of winning.

Season 13 summary table

For poll results, click on the column headings in this summary table.

Photo Contestant Top 13 Top 12 Top 11 Top 10 Top 9 Top 8, First week Top 8, Second week Top 7 Top 6
Jena IreneJena Irene62223121?
Caleb JohnsonCaleb Johnson56131212?
Alex PrestonAlex Preston45312333?
Jessica MeuseJessica Meuse3444 (tie)4444?
Sam WoolfSam Woolf1364 (tie)56
Saved
55?
CJ HarrisCJ Harris1010579887?
Dexter RobertsDexter Roberts(omitted)9888776Out
Malaya WatsonMalaya Watson121196656Out
Majesty RoseMajesty Rose21757Out
MK NobiletteMK Nobilette812119Out
Ben BrileyBen Briley9810Out
Emily PirizEmily Piriz77Out
Kristen O'ConnorKristen O'Connor11Out

 


Cross-season poll, Seasons 1 through 12

Kelly Clarkson continues to be the overall most popular American Idol.  Next, because of lots of her fans voting here, is Haley Reinhart.  Next are Carrie Underwood, Angie Miller, and Candice Glover.

     
Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Kelly Clarkson (season 1)  Ranking score is 64 for Kelly Clarkson (season 1) 24 voters marked Kelly Clarkson (season 1) as their first choice
Second-most popular Haley Reinhart (season 10)  Ranking score is 50 for Haley Reinhart (season 10) 31 voters marked Haley Reinhart (season 10) as their first choice
Third-most popular Carrie Underwood (season 4)  Ranking score is 49 for Carrie Underwood (season 4) 21 voters marked Carrie Underwood (season 4) as their first choice
Fourth-most popular Angie Miller (season 12)  Ranking score is 38 for Angie Miller (season 12) 17 voters marked Angie Miller (season 12) as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Candice Glover (season 12)  Ranking score is 35 for Candice Glover (season 12) 22 voters marked Candice Glover (season 12) as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Jessica Sanchez (season 11)  Ranking score is 29 for Jessica Sanchez (season 11) 16 voters marked Jessica Sanchez (season 11) as their first choice
Seventh-most popular Jennifer Hudson (season 3)  Ranking score is 24 for Jennifer Hudson (season 3) 2 voters marked Jennifer Hudson (season 3) as their first choice
Eighth-most popular Adam Lambert (season 8)  Ranking score is 18 for Adam Lambert (season 8) 9 voters marked Adam Lambert (season 8) as their first choice
Ninth-most popular Phillip Phillips (season 11)  Ranking score is 14 for Phillip Phillips (season 11) 8 voters marked Phillip Phillips (season 11) as their first choice
Tenth-most popular David Cook (season 7)  Ranking score is 9 for David Cook (season 7) 9 voters marked David Cook (season 7) as their first choice
11th-most popular Kree Harrison (season 12)  Ranking score is 5 for Kree Harrison (season 12) 0 voter marked Kree Harrison (season 12) as their first choice
12th-most popular Amber Holcomb (season 12)  Ranking score is 0 for Amber Holcomb (season 12) 0 voter marked Amber Holcomb (season 12) as their first choice

Detailed results of VoteFair cross-season poll, Seasons 1 through 12

 


Season 12   (2013)

Broader patterns

What do the following have in common?

  • The backstage friendship between Candice Glover and Kree Harrison (and earlier, among the top four)
  • Who gets voted off quickly (when the voting starts) if they got through Hollywood week's “group night” without getting along with other members in their group
  • Keith Urban getting ranked at the top of the recent “judges” VoteFair poll (see below)
  • The feud between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, and these two getting ranked at the bottom of the recent VoteFair poll
  • Jimmy Iovine's ego getting in the way of working comfortably with others
  • Why Simon Cowell's “X-Factor” show fails to live up to his dreams

They demonstrate how the music industry is shifting.  Now that we, the fans, can vote on who progresses and who gets eliminated, we are able to express our desire for singers who have spirit and soul.  This contrasts with the past when the way to reach the top of the music industry was through aggressive competition (which the X-Factor glorifies).  It matters because aggressive competition undermines a person's spirit and soul.

The fact that Candice Glover won demonstrates that what we want goes beyond just “heartfelt” renditions of songs.  And that we don't want “divas” in the negative sense, with their egos undermining their interpersonal skills.  Ultimately we, the audience, can feel these differences in the songs.  And interpersonal dynamics are at the basis of “connecting”, which is what the judges repeatedly encourage.

What does cooperation and getting along with others have to do with voting?  Everything.  Voting enables everyone to have a voice without yelling.  Voting weighs preferences without personal bias.  Voting resolves conflicts without fighting.  In short, voting is what makes us civilized.  And a key part of civilization is reaching higher levels of artistic acheivement.

May the future soon arrive when we use better voting methods, instead of the primitive voting methods we now use.  That will take us to yet higher levels of acheivement — including a return to real ecomomic prosperity.

For more details about the links between voting fairness and ecomomic prosperity, please read the last chapter of Ending The Hidden Unfairness In U.S. Elections, which will be available soon.

Thank you for voting in this VotFair poll, and for reading the comments here!

Thanks Randy!

Thank you Randy Jackson for your excellent contributions to American Idol.  We'll miss you next season.

Final results commentary

We are grateful to Candice Glover for overcoming adversity — including harsh criticism from a past-season judge — and reaching a level of singing skill that is quite rare, and quite exceptional, and oh so wonderful!  To simply say that Candice will be an inspiration to others is an understatement.

Top 2 commentary

With only two singers, vote splitting cannot happen this week.  Last week there was no evidence of vote splitting causing an unfair result, so the final two really are the most popular (within the limitations of the show's flawed voting method, and within the limits of the songs they were asked to sing last week).  If Kree Harrison were more clearly a Country-music singer, the well-networked Country-music fans would be a more significant factor.  Another factor is that teenage girls might identify with Kree's struggles to deal with losing her parents at an early age.  Yet Candice Glover is the better singer.  This week's not-very-good song choices from Simon Fuller affected both singers, so that did not upset the balance.  Regardless of who wins, both Candice and Kree will have hugely successful singing careers.  And because the winner will have to battle Jimmy Iovine's not-always-wise musical choices, the runner-up might be in a better position to create a better first album.

Judge ranking results

Among the judges, whose opinions do you like to hear?  (That was the stated question, but the results suggest that voters considered other factors too.)  Based on 787 ballots, below are the results of this special poll.  (Details of judge-ranking poll.)

Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Keith Urban  Ranking score is 67 for Keith Urban 280 voters marked Keith Urban as their first choice
Second-most popular Jimmy Iovine  Ranking score is 42 for Jimmy Iovine 216 voters marked Jimmy Iovine as their first choice
Third-most popular Randy Jackson  Ranking score is 25 for Randy Jackson 53 voters marked Randy Jackson as their first choice
Fourth-most popular Mariah Carey  Ranking score is 11 for Mariah Carey 70 voters marked Mariah Carey as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Nicki Minaj  Ranking score is 0 for Nicki Minaj 93 voters marked Nicki Minaj as their first choice

 

Top 3 results

The elimination of VoteFair-poll first-ranked Angie Miller was not a significant surprise because many ballots in this poll were cast before the performance night when Candice Glover gave especially great performances, and because presumably Kree Harrison got lots of official votes from Country-music fans who do not vote in this poll.  Fortunately this week we finally got to see Angie Miller rock out when she wasn't at the piano.  And fortunately some lousy song choices from Jimmy Iovine and the producers didn't hurt Kree Harrison.  As another factor affecting the results, Jimmy Iovine chose an Elton John song for Angie Miller without realizing that she needed more than a few days to learn to simultaneously play the piano and sing the song he picked (on top of visiting her home town and learning two other songs).

Top 3 commentary

It's a tough choice again this week.  And some odd results are possible because runoff voting, which this show uses, can produce unfair results — because it mistakenly assumes that the choice with the fewest first-choice votes is least popular.

Probably Candice Glover will get more of the votes that previously went to Amber Holcomb, with most of Amber's remaining votes going to Kree Harrison.  Because this show uses not-always-fair runoff voting, this vote shift could boost Candice Glover into the finale even though she was in the bottom two last week.  Based on the VoteFair poll, Candice Glover is more popular than Kree Harrison, but remember that, unlike the official voting, this poll does not allow duplicate votes, and (as said many times) it is impossible for any poll to duplicate the demographics of the official voting.

Based on her ranking at the top of the VoteFair poll more weeks than any other singer, Angie Miller is the most likely singer to be in the finale.  Yet Kree Harrison was at the top for two weeks, and Candice Glover was at the top for two weeks.

This week the judges and producer will choose the songs.  Probably Angie Miller will be asked to sing her original song, and if she duplicates her earlier performance of it, she will get into the finale and have a good chance of winning.  Angie being in the finale is not a sure thing because the other two singers are close enough in popularity that there is no room for any weak performances.

As a final reminder, if extra Country-music fans get inspired to vote for Kree Holcomb, then Kree is likely to be in the finale.

Rank the judges!

For the final two weeks you also get to indicate your order of preference for the judges: Jimmy Iovine, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson, and Mariah Carey.  This is not about who you agree with, but rather how much you enjoy listening to what each judge has to say.  Your lowest-ranked choice should be the judge you wouldn't mind not seeing next season.  If you don't want to participate in this ranking, you can leave them ranked at the same level, and that means you are leaving it up to the other voters to determine the results.

Top 4 commentary, second week

Here we go for another week with the same top 4.  This gives us more time to decide who really deserves to go home next week.  With all four singers being incredibly talented, it's a tough choice.

Based on the poll results here, Amber Holcomb may have gotten the fewest official votes, and because the show had an extra week built into its schedule the producers decided to give voters another chance to “get it right.”  Plus, the show doesn't want the voters to again be accused of racial prejudice.

As explained in the Top 6 commentary section below, the bias is not racial.  The bias is in favor of singers who have entertaining personalities.  Angie Miller seems to have the most entertaining personality.  Amber Holcomb's personality is becoming more interesting, but there is still a bias from when she showed less personality.  Candice Glover's personality has been undermined by being sick on this week's performance night and by her toe being in pain in a previous week, and that has hurt her popularity.  As explained many times in this commentary, the winner doesn't simply need to be the best singer.  The winner needs to be someone who lots of people want to see perform at a concert, and personality is a very important part of making a concert fun.

Next week we get another chance to see who is the most fun!  May the “funnest” of next week's superb performances help to decide who should win.

The greediest voters this week

This week's greediest U.S. voters (whose multiple votes were removed) were in: Torrance California, Denton Texas, Fort Bragg North Carolina, Sammamish Washington, and Miami Florida.

Top 4 commentary

Based on the VoteFair poll results, Amber Holcomb is the most vulnerable.  She and Candice Glover are superb singers, but they lack the entertaining personality of Angie MillerKree Harrison is difficult to categorize, and some people appreciate her personality while others aren't drawn to her, so her popularity goes up and down depending on her performance and song choice (such as being more strongly appreciated by Country-music fans when she sings a song in a Country-music style).

Next week's results are very difficult to predict.  Mostly it will come down to their song choices and their performances.  Whoever has the weakest performances will be the most vulnerable, regardless of who that is.

A related factor is that excessively high-heeled shoes seem to distract Angie, Kree, and (especially) Candice from being able to express the music through dance-like moves.  And in Angie's case playing the piano allows her to express the music through her movements at the piano, which distracts her from posing for the camera (or posing for a wind machine, or posing on a pedestal without falling off).  Whoever can immerse themselves in feeling the music, and un-self-consciously expressing the music through (unconstrained) movements, is more likely to sing with the passion that the judges want.

Top 5 results

No surprise that Janelle Arthur was eliminated.  Kree Harrison was in the bottom two, which suggests that Country-music fans were splitting their votes between her and Janelle Arthur — which will not happen next week, so that will help Kree Harrison.

This week's greediest voters

This week's greediest voters (whose multiple votes were removed) were in San Jose, California, and Selangor, Malaysia, and Fairfield, California.  Also eliminated were votes from outside the United States, especially from Canada and the Philipines.  Why are votes from outside the U.S. removed?  Non-US votes are not allowed in the official voting, so they are not allowed here.

Lazaro's delayed elimination demonstrates what happens in politics

The delayed elimination of Lazaro Arbos demonstrates why money has an excessive influence in politics.

When a disliked money-backed politician runs for election in a primary election, and there are two more-popular (reform-minded) candidates also competing for that party's nomination, the splitting of votes makes it easy for the disliked politician to win.  This unfairness happens because the voters can only mark a single candidate on their ballot, and because the majority of voters are tricked into splitting their votes between the two better candidates.  That vote splitting lowers the number of votes that it takes to win.  The disliked politician gets lots of expensive advertising, and that advertising advantage is enough to give that candidate the few extra percentage of votes that it takes to win.  The win is not because a majority of voters prefer the winner.  The win occurs because the disliked politician receives a few more votes than either (but not both combined) of the better candidates.  Expressed another way, the candidate wins with the most votes, but not with the majority of votes.

If you're thinking that you seldom see any meaningful competitors in a primary election when a disliked candidate runs for re-election, you're right.  The party's biggest campaign contributors (which, as proven at www.OpenSecrets.org, are basically the same people for both parties) control the nomination process, so they do not allow any real competition in the primary election.

If somehow a popular reform-minded candidate gets signed up to appear on the primary ballot, money quietly appears to support yet another reform-minded candidate.  The result is vote splitting.  Advertising (which is no longer controlled by the candidates themselves) influences some voters to shift votes away from the first reform-minded candidate to the quietly-money-backed candidate.  That shift produces a balance between the two reform-minded candidates, and that balance reduces the number of votes needed for the disliked candidate to win.  If the second reform-minded candidate gets too popular (as happened with Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary when he was backed as a spoiler to defeat reform-minded John Edwards), the financial backers can use their control of mainstream media to spin a story to undermine the too-popular reform-minded candidate.  Although the term “spoiler” candidate is often used, that term is misleading because it's the vote-counting method, not the addition of another candidate, that is the source of unfairness.

If this explanation seems to imply some kind of “conspiracy”, that's not what's going on.  What's going on is that people with lots of money can, and do, hire people who understand the mathematics of voting.  And the hired experts know how to take advantage of the fact that few voters bother to “do the math” behind vote splitting.  Most of the biggest campaign contributors don't themselves understand the mathematics of vote splitting.

How can this election unfairness be stopped?  Simple.  Whenever you are in a group of people who is voting on something, maybe even just choosing where to eat, make sure you do not use the flawed voting method that limits each person to indicating their preference for just one choice.  In the simplest of cases, allow each voter to approve of as many choices as they like, and choose the choice with the most such “approval” votes.  For more important voting situations, use the free VoteFair ranking service here at VoteFair.org.  In other words, educate others that much better vote-counting methods are available.

Getting back to the American Idol situation, a majority (more than half) of the voters were casting votes for females.  But with five females and only two or three males, the splitting of votes among the females made it easy for the supporters of Lazaro Arbos to give him more votes than some of the females, which is why he was not always in the bottom two or three.  If his singing kept improving, he might have stayed in the competition even longer.  But, as with politicians, when the gap between the “good” and the not-so-good grows too big, even vote splitting can't save the not-so-good choice.

Top 6 commentary

Update: This week's performances from Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb elevated their first-choice ranking to the extent that they are less vulnerable.  Keith Urban's comment that he expects Kree Harrison to make it to the Grand Ole Opry, combined with Kree's revealing that she loves rodeos, may shift the votes of Country-music fans to her, which makes Janelle Arthur quite vulnerable this week.  Lazaro Arbos gave such bad performances this week that if he doesn't go home this week, then he is likely to go home next week, because abandoning the obviously weakest singer usually occurs when a dramatically better singer ends up with the fewest votes.  If needed, the judges would be wise to save Candice Glover or Amber Holcomb or Angie Miller or Kree Harrison.  At this point Kree Harrison or Amber Holcomb look like they could be the winner because they are likely to get the votes of people who are now voting for Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur, who are likely to get eliminated sooner.  Under these conditions of there being four superb singers of the same gender and the show using first-choice-only voting, the results are especially difficult to predict.

Most people would be surprised that Lazaro Arbos was in the top three.  Yet remember that now there is vote splitting among the five females and vote concentration on a single male.  As explained previously, this makes the weakest female, Amber Holcomb, the most vulnerable for elimination.

The fact that Janelle Arthur was in the bottom two means that Country-music fans were assuming that other Country-music fans were giving her plenty of votes.  Next week they are not likely to make the same mistake.  Yet getting so close to being eliminated early, when she is a possible winner, once again reveals the unfairness of using first-choice-only votes.  And it reveals the importance of continuing to announce more of the ranking than the show usually reveals.

This close call for Janelle Arthur also clarifies why using the Judge's save too early, as Randy Jackson wisely avoids, is so important.  It needs to be available when it's really needed, as it would have been if Janelle had received the fewest votes this past week.

Amber Holcomb and Candice Glover are now the most vulnerable.  Do either of them deserve the Judge's save next week?  Candice yes, but Amber no.  Based on the first-choice votes cast in this VoteFair poll, neither of them has a chance of winning.  Yet saving Candice would remind viewers that this is a singing competition, and would deservedly help Candice's singing career.

The most likely winner is either Janelle Arthur or Angie Miller or Kree Harrison.

Is this a racial bias?  No, it's a bias in favor of entertaining personalities and in favor of at-least-somewhat-dance-like movements, which are important for selling concert tickets.  (Bobbing up and down, as Candice does, is movement, but not dance-like.)  Recall that two seasons ago this same bias was against a white woman, Pia Toscano.

Top 7 results

No surprise that Burnell Taylor was eliminated.  See above for comments about other announced results.

Top 7 commentary

Last week's trio performance by the three males was so bad that now the remaining two are both more vulnerable than all the females, in spite of having an advantage because of vote splitting among the females and vote concentration on the males.

Based on last week's results (after removing ballots from greedy and out-of-country voters), Kree Harrison is currently the most popular.  Her popularity changes enough that this may not be meaningful.

Angie Miller is losing some popularity, probably because of her excessively polished, beauty-contest-like movements.

That makes Janelle Arthur the most likely winner.  The 39% popularity of Country music in one of the Twitter polls reveals that Country-music fans are watching and they are well-networked in their voting.

Yes, Candice Glover is the best singer, but she doesn't have an entertaining personality, and she doesn't have particularly entertaining dance-like moves, and she is overweight, which together probably account for why she has not risen to the top of the VoteFair ranking.  But she may get sweet revenge if her songs become more popular on the radio compared to any of the other contestants.  Remember that the official voting basically measures how many concert tickets each singer will sell, which is quite different from how many people will download their songs and enjoy hearing them sing on the radio.

Top 8 commentary

Next week there will be vote splitting among the 5 females and vote concentration among the 3 males.  This makes the weakest female, Amber Holcomb, the most vulnerable for elimination.

Yet Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez are also vulnerable.  If one of these two males gets eliminated next week, the other male has a chance — because of even greater vote splitting among the females — to last for another two weeks.

Top 9 results

No surprise this week.  Paul Jolley was the most vulnerable contestant.

Interpreting the survey results

A fan of this VotFair survey has suggested that Amber Holcomb may be vulnerable as a “surprise” elimination, so this would be a good time to explain how to interpret the survey results.

In the results summary area, look at the length of the horizontal bars in the (right) column labeled “traditional vote count”.  The length indicates the relative number of “votes” the contestant would get if each VotFair survey participant cast one official vote for their top favorite.  Of course these count comparisons will not match the official results because each viewer gets to cast lots of votes for their favorite.  Yet this information has been quite successful for predicting so-called “surprise” eliminations.

Usually a contestant is not vulnerable unless the “traditional vote count” is close to the counts of the contestants who have the shortest such bars.  On this basis Amber Holcomb is not vulnerable — yet.  Of course that will change in another week or two, after one or two of the most vulnerable contestants — Paul Jolley and Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez (in that order of vulnerability) — have been eliminated.

As always, we'll see what elimination night actually brings.

Top 9 commentary

Update: At 120 ballots cast in this poll, Paul Jolley and Devin Velez are still the most vulnerable.  Yet Burnell Taylor could be a possible “surprise” elimination.  He is the most popular male, and therefore the most likely male who could win (assuming he does not stop improving).  However, it may be too early for the judges to use their single save on him (unless his performance this week is fantastic) because bigger surprises are likely to come (because there are still so many singers).

Least-popular Lazaro Arbos gets lots of first-choice votes, probably because of both his story (stuttering) and having an entertaining personality, so he is safe for at least a few more weeks.

The very early results (with just 12 votes) suggest that Paul Jolley and Devin Velez are the most vulnerable.  This assessment agrees with the official top-10 results.

The show now reveals the official vote-count order!

Finally!  The show is revealing its vote-count “ranking” for most of the singers.  This will help to prevent the most dramatic “surprise” eliminations, which have occurred because voters didn't know which singers needed more votes and which singers were getting more than enough votes.  This concept was explained last year in the section titled Vote splitting is like out-swimming a shark.  (This change is even better than the change that was recommended in that commentary.)

The official “ranking” numbers now appear in the table below, so you can directly compare the VoteFair poll rankings with the official vote counts.  Notice that the VoteFair poll rankings closely match the official vote-count order except that Devin Velez is 5th in the VoteFair poll and 9th in the official vote count, and Lazaro Arbos is 9th in the VoteFair poll and 4th in the official vote count.  This (plus past evidence) suggests that teen voters — who don't strongly participate in the VoteFair poll — are supporting Lazaro Arbos but not Devin Velez, while older-than-teen voters — who more typically participate in the VoteFair poll — have the opposite preference.

Remember that the official vote counts are not popularity rankings!  The singer with the most "single-mark" (official) votes is not necessarily the most popular, and the singer with the fewest such votes is not necessarily the least popular.

Top 10 results

No surprise that Curtis Finch, Jr. was eliminated.  At least it's not a surprise if you are following this commentary and these VoteFair poll results.  (Yes he is a very superb singer, but this contest is about personality too, and simply being nice is not entertaining.)

As a minor point, the VoteFair poll results changed slightly after this week's performances.  Specifically Kree Harrison dropped one place, and Candice Glover moved up one position.

Top 10 commentary

Although overall the males are less popular than the females, the concentration of votes supporting Angie Miller might cause vote-splitting among the remaining females.  Although Janelle Arthur is the least popular female according to this poll, last week's results reveal she is getting the votes of well-networked country-music fans, so she is not vulnerable (and even has a chance of winning the competition).  That means that Amber Holcomb and Candice Glover are the most vulnerable females.

Among the males, Paul Jolley and Curtis Finch, Jr. are the most vulnerable, based on the current poll results.

Thank you for voting here!  Your 1-2-3 votes in this VoteFair poll make it possible to help identify which singers are the most vulnerable, which is sometimes different from which singers are the least popular.

Top 20 results

As predicted, the elimination of so many singers in a single round made it likely that there would be an unfair result at the middle of the ranking.  Fifth-ranked Aubrey Cleland was eliminated, while sixth-ranked Janelle Arthur stayed in the competition.

Also as predicted, Cortez Shaw was eliminated even though, prior to his performance, he was overall ranked above the halfway point.  As explained, he didn't have enough fans willing to vote for him as their first choice.  He did slip down in the VoteFair poll after his performance.  Alas for him, as others have discovered, a single mistake results in a quick elimination.

Now that only one singer will be eliminated each week, it is less likely (for the next few weeks) that a could-win contestant will get eliminated.

Top 20 commentary

This week's elimination of half the contestants in just one round of voting could easily produce very unfair results.  As always, the contestants who get the fewest votes (of the type used on American Idol) are not necessarily the least popular.  And the contestants who get the most such votes are not necessarily the most popular.  Doing the eliminations more slowly, using more rounds, is fairer.

To dramatically increase fairness, this week the judges should be allowed to choose between the two males who are ranked at positions number five and number six (the middle positions), and the same should be done for the females.  This approach could compensate for the possibility of two can't-win contestants (one male and one female) getting into the top 10, and two possible winners getting eliminated.

Update: Apparently the judges will get to do two “wild card” picks.  That will put 12 contestants into the Hollywood rounds, which makes the number of weeks for the show match the number of weeks that are scheduled.

Among the guys, Cortez Shaw is vulnerable as a possible “surprise” elimination.  He is liked, but few people like him enough to rank him as their first choice.

Among the girls, the only ones who appear to be “safe” are Angie Miller and Zoanette Johnson.

These predictions are based on the poll results as of Monday (mid-day) and Tuesday (just after the show started on the West coast), without yet removing duplicates.  As always, remember that the people who vote here do not necessarily have the same preferences as the people who vote officially, and this poll does not match what the official voting does, which is to allow a person to vote many times.

Welcome

Voting is now open!  To get more votes for your favorite, tell other fans of your favorite to vote here.

But remember, only one ballot per person is allowed.  Multiple ballots from the same person will be removed before the official results are calculated.

Season 12 summary table

The asterisks (*) below indicate and the delayed elimination of Lazaro Arbos and the slightly early elimination of Aubrey Cleland.  (The elimination of first-ranked Angie Miller was not a significant surprise because many votes in this poll were cast before the performance night when Candice Glover gave especially great performances, and because Kree Harrison got lots of official votes from Country-music fans who do not vote in this poll.)

For poll results, click on the column headings in this summary table.  The ranking information in parentheses is the official vote-count order that was announced on the show.

Contestant Top 10 females
Top 10 males
Top 10 Top 9 Top 8 Top 7 Top 6 Top 5 Top 4,
first week
Top 4,
second week
Top 3 Top 2 Finale
Candice Glover3 (f)2
(in top 3)
3221
(top 2)
12
(bottom 2)
221Winner
Kree Harrison2 (f)3
(in top 3)
211
(in top 3)
2
(top 2)
3
(bottom 2)
3
(top 2)
332Runner-up
Angie Miller1 (f)1
(in top 3)
133
(in top 3)
321
(top 2)
11 *Out
Amber Holcomb4 (f)4
(in 5th)
4444
(bottom 2)
44
(bottom 2)
4Out
Janelle Arthur6 (f)6
(in 6th)
555
(in bottom 2)
55Out
Lazaro Arbos2 (m)9
(in 4th)
9 *8 *7 *
(in top 3)
6Out
Burnell Taylor3 (m)7
(in 7th)
666Out
Devin Velez1 (m)5
(in 9th)
77Out
Paul Jolley5 (m)8
(in 8th)
8Out
Curtis Finch Jr.4 (m)10Out
Aubrey Cleland5 * (f)Out(on tour
as 11th)
Charlie Askew10 (m)Out(in 12th
place)
Nick Boddington6 (m)Out
Breanna Steer7 (f)Out
Vincent Powell7 (m)Out
Adriana Latonio8 (f)Out
Cortez Shaw8 (m)Out
Tenna Torres9 (f)Out
Elijah Liu9 (m)Out
Zoanette Johnson10 (f)Out

 


Cross-season poll, seasons 1 through 11

Here is a link to this cross-season poll results

On June 6 more than half the ballots (55%) in this cross-season poll had been cast by voters who are outside the United States.  Those ballots have been removed.  The results did not change much.  Jessica Sanchez is still in first place.  That does not necessarily mean that she is more popular than Phillip Phillips; rather it means that her fans vote here more than the fans of Phillip Phillips vote here.

 


Season 11   (2012)

Link to Season 11 commentary

 

Season 11 summary table

The asterisks (*) below indicate the very early elimination of Colton Dixon, and (in the preceding week) the early near-elimination (and judges' saving) of Jessica Sanchez.  The numbers in parentheses indicate a different ranking based on re-calculating the results with a more-rigorous removal of non-US voters (from many countries around the world, but especially from the Philipines).

Contestant Pre-singing Top 25 Top 13 Top 12 Top 10 Top 9 Top 8 Top 7,
first week
Top 7,
second week
Top 6 Top 5 Top 4 Top 3 Top 2 Winner
This row has results
with non-US votes removed:
    Top 13 Top 12 Top 10 Top 9 Top 8 Top 7,
first week
Top 7,
second week
Top 6 Top 5 Top 4 Top 3 (same)  
Phillip Phillips3 (m)1 (m)1 (m)2 (3)22 (1)232 (1)23422Winner
Jessica Sanchez1 (f)1 (f)1 (f)1 (tie) (2)11 (2)11* Saved1 (2)11 (2)111Runner-up
Joshua Ledet6 (m)2 (m)3 (m)3 (4)567 (6)5 (6)5 (6)543 (2)3Out
Hollie Cavanagh2 (f)2 (f)2 (f)1 (tie) (1)3 (4)56 (7)77 (5)42 (1)2 (3)Out
Skylar Laine3 (f)3 (f)3 (f)5 (6)7 (6)754435Out
Elise Testone7 (f)4 (f)5 (f)76 (7)446 (5)6 (7)6Out
Colton Dixon1 (m)3 (m)2 (m)4 (5)4 (3)3323*Out
DeAndre Brackensick4 (m)10 (m)5 (m)8998Out
Heejun Han2 (m)4 (m)4 (m)9108Out
Erika Van Pelt6 (f)8 (f)4 (f)6 (8)8Out
Shannon Magrane5 (f)6 (f)6 (f)10Out
Jermaine Jones5 (f)6 (f)6 (f)10Kicked
out
Jeremy Rosado7 (m)8 (m)6 (m)Out
Reed Grimm5 (m)5 (m)Out
Jen Hirsh4 (f)5 (f)Out
Creighton Fraker8 (m)6 (m)Out
Aaron Marcellus9 (tie) (m)7 (m)Out
Hallie Day9 (f)7 (f)Out
Adam Brock10 (m)9 (m)Out
Chelsea Sorrell11 (f)9 (f)Out
Haley Johnsen8 (f)10 (f)Out
Baylie Brown10 (f)11 (f)Out
Chase Likens11 (m)11 (m)Out
Eben Franckewitz9 (tie) (m)12 (m)Out
Brielle Von Hugel12 (f)12 (f)Out

 


Cross-season poll, Seasons 1 through 10

Many fans of Haley Reinhart found, and voted in, this cross-season poll.  They ranked James Durbin, Scotty McCreery, and Lauren Alaina "insincerely" low, which is an attempt to vote "strategically".  Fans of those and other singers failed to vote in this poll.  As in any poll, the results are controlled by who votes, and who doesn't.

     
Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Haley Reinhart (season 10)  Ranking score is 63 for Haley Reinhart (season 10) 171 voters marked Haley Reinhart (season 10) as their first choice
Second-most popular Carrie Underwood (season 4)  Ranking score is 61 for Carrie Underwood (season 4) 57 voters marked Carrie Underwood (season 4) as their first choice
Third-most popular Kelly Clarkson (season 1)  Ranking score is 57 for Kelly Clarkson (season 1) 52 voters marked Kelly Clarkson (season 1) as their first choice
Fourth-most popular David Cook (season 7)  Ranking score is 46 for David Cook (season 7) 84 voters marked David Cook (season 7) as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Adam Lambert (season 8)  Ranking score is 36 for Adam Lambert (season 8) 43 voters marked Adam Lambert (season 8) as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Kris Allen (season 8)  Ranking score is 30 for Kris Allen (season 8) 20 voters marked Kris Allen (season 8) as their first choice
Seventh-most popular Jennifer Hudson (season 3)  Ranking score is 24 for Jennifer Hudson (season 3) 8 voters marked Jennifer Hudson (season 3) as their first choice
Eighth-most popular Siobhan Magnus (season 9)  Ranking score is 18 for Siobhan Magnus (season 9) 30 voters marked Siobhan Magnus (season 9) as their first choice
Ninth-most popular James Durbin (season 10)  Ranking score is 14 for James Durbin (season 10) 23 voters marked James Durbin (season 10) as their first choice
Tenth-most popular Scotty McCreery (season 10)  Ranking score is 9 for Scotty McCreery (season 10) 34 voters marked Scotty McCreery (season 10) as their first choice
11th-most popular Lauren Alaina (season 10)  Ranking score is 5 for Lauren Alaina (season 10) 10 voters marked Lauren Alaina (season 10) as their first choice
12th-most popular Lee DeWyze (season 9)  Ranking score is 0 for Lee DeWyze (season 9) 5 voters marked Lee DeWyze (season 9) as their first choice

Detailed results of cross-season poll

 


Why is there no VoteFair poll for the X-Factor show?

A fan of this site has asked "why is there no VoteFair poll for the X-Factor show?"  Here is the answer:

For the American Idol show, the role of the VoteFair polls is to assist voters, who in turn are meaningfully helping their favorite singers.  Note that on American Idol the judges do not win or lose.

In contrast, the X-Factor show amounts to four music producers being the contestants.  The show calls them "judges", but they aren't.  They control the singers.  And each producer/"judge" favors "his" or "her" singers.  That's too much intervention for the voters to feel like their votes are the only factor in determining who wins.

For a similar reason there are no VoteFair polls for shows in which the "judges" get to vote; that makes it difficult for audience votes to override the judges' votes.  TV producers who try to replicate the success of American Idol are failing to realize that the popularity of American Idol is due to the fact that the voters are the only people who determine who wins.

(The So You Think You Can Dance show does handle the voting reasonably fairly, but a VoteFair poll for that show did not get enough voters here to justify offering a VoteFair poll in later seasons.)

 


Why not vote for the worst?

A website visitor has asked "why not vote for the worst?" There are several reasons, including these:

  • Most voters would pretend that their most-disliked choice is the contestant who is the biggest competitor to their favorite, and they would try to "bury" that competitor in an attempt to protect their favorite.  Even with first-choice-only voting such a strategy is unlikely to put the competitor into the bottom.  If this kind of voting were used officially, it would lead to bigger surprises than what now occur.
  • In the VoteFair American Idol poll, anyone can start at the bottom of the ballot and mark their most-disliked choice, and work upward toward their favorite choice.  The voting and the counting method are symmetrical.  As for the results, usually they would come out about the same, particularly in terms of who is most popular and who is least popular.
  • Perhaps the most important reason for not voting for the worst is that it fosters hatred, which is already in excessive abundance around the globe.  Contests are intended to be entertaining, and mean-spiritedness detracts from the enjoyment.  Remember that enjoyment is more important than who wins and who loses.  (Part of the reason the American Idol TV show is so popular is that it is fun to watch, and fun to talk about.)

This topic brings up an interesting question.  When you are in an audience clapping for performers, and the loudness of the clapping is being used to determine who is most popular, is it ethical to clap loudly for your favorite choice and then only pretend to clap (with very little sound) for all the other contestants? That's an ethical question for you to consider.  Fortunately the antidote to that technique is to recognize that measuring the loudness of clapping usually does not produce fair results when there are more than two choices, just as using first-choice-only ballots (and "plurality" counting) usually does not produce fair results when there are more than two choices.

 


Season 10

Below is a table that summarizes the main causes of Season 10's early and delayed eliminations.

Contestant Early or delayed
elimination
Vote splitting
or concentration
AT&T text-
messaging issues
Phone
voting issues
Online
voting issues
Country-music
voting bloc
Haley Reinhart Early
(slightly)
Vote splitting
(slight, three ways)
Non-viewers
voting
Saturated lines
(texting advantage)
  Disliked
(versus Lauren)
James Durbin Early Vote splitting
(James/Haley/Lauren)
Non-viewers
voting
Phone-system
failure
(Reports of
failures)
Disliked
(relatively)
Jacob Lusk Delayed Concentration Power voting?
(demographic unknown)
     
Pia Toscano Very early Vote splitting (not
first choice of enough fans)
       
Casey Abrams Early
(then saved)
Vote splitting (not
first choice of enough fans)
       
Thia Megia Delayed Concentration
(online votes)
    Votes from
Philipines
 

 

Link to Season 10 commentary

 

For poll results, click on the column headings in the summary table below.

Season 10 summary table

The asterisks (*) below indicate the early elimination of Haley Reinhart and James Durbin, the very early elimination of Pia Toscano, the almost-elimination-and-saving of Casey Abrams, and the delayed elimination of Jacob Lusk.

Contestant Top 12 females
Top 12 males
Top 7 females
Top 6 males
Top 12 Top 11
First Week
Top 11
Second Week
Top 9 Top 8 Top 7 Top 6 Top 5 Top 4 Top 3 Top 2 Winner
Scotty McCreery2 (m)3 (m)23311222221Winner
Lauren Alaina3 (f)2 (f)55563334432Runner-up
Haley Reinhart4 (f)4 (f)101064544331*Out--
James Durbin3 (m)2 (m)322221111*Out----
Jacob Lusk4 (m)6 (m)998 (tie)9*8*7*6*5Out------
Casey Abrams1 (m)1 (m)44*4
Judge's save!
5455Out--------
Stefano Langone6 (m)
(wildcard)
5 (m)677766Out----------
Paul McDonald5 (m)4 (m)888 (tie)87Out------------
Pia Toscano1 (f)1 (f)1113*Out--------------
Thia Megia2 (f)3 (f)769Out----------------
Naima Adedapo7 (f)
(wildcard)
5 (f)121110Out----------------
Karen Rodriguez5 (f)6 (f)11Out--------------------
Ashthon Jones9 (f)
(wildcard)
7 (f)Out----------------------
Lauren Turner6 (f)Out------------------------
Robbie Rosen7 (m)Out------------------------
Tim Halperin8 (m)Out------------------------
Julie Zorrilla8 (f)Out------------------------
Brett Loewenstern9 (m)Out------------------------
Jovany Barreto10 (m)Out------------------------
Kendra Chantelle10 (f)Out------------------------
Clint Jun Gamboa11 (m)Out------------------------
Rachel Zevita11 (f)Out------------------------
Jordan Dorsey12 (m)Out------------------------
Ta-Tynisa Wilson12 (f)Out------------------------

 


Cross-season poll, Seasons 1 through 9

Below are the final results (and detailed results) for the cross-season poll (after removing multiple votes from the same voter).  Lee DeWyze is ranked insincerely low by the more-numerous (in this poll) Siobhan Magnus fans, but he is not popular enough compared to Kris Allen to become the second-most-representative choice.  As usual, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are near the top.  The popular non-winners — Siobhan Magnus, Jennifer Hudson, and Clay Aiken — who are (here) more popular than their season's winner reminds us of the unfairness caused by vote splitting — and voting irregularities.

     
Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Kris Allen (season 8)  Ranking score is 53 for Kris Allen (season 8) 50 voters marked Kris Allen (season 8) as their first choice
Second-most popular Siobhan Magnus (season 9)  Ranking score is 51 for Siobhan Magnus (season 9) 84 voters marked Siobhan Magnus (season 9) as their first choice
Third-most popular Kelly Clarkson (season 1)  Ranking score is 50 for Kelly Clarkson (season 1) 24 voters marked Kelly Clarkson (season 1) as their first choice
Fourth-most popular Carrie Underwood (season 4)  Ranking score is 40 for Carrie Underwood (season 4) 42 voters marked Carrie Underwood (season 4) as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Adam Lambert (season 8)  Ranking score is 35 for Adam Lambert (season 8) 29 voters marked Adam Lambert (season 8) as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Jennifer Hudson (season 3)  Ranking score is 30 for Jennifer Hudson (season 3) 25 voters marked Jennifer Hudson (season 3) as their first choice
Seventh-most popular David Cook (season 7)  Ranking score is 25 for David Cook (season 7) 26 voters marked David Cook (season 7) as their first choice
Eighth-most popular Lee DeWyze (season 9)  Ranking score is 18 for Lee DeWyze (season 9) 44 voters marked Lee DeWyze (season 9) as their first choice
Ninth-most popular Casey James (season 9)  Ranking score is 12 for Casey James (season 9) 20 voters marked Casey James (season 9) as their first choice
Tenth-most popular Clay Aiken (season 2)  Ranking score is 8 for Clay Aiken (season 2) 33 voters marked Clay Aiken (season 2) as their first choice
11th-most popular David Archuleta (season 7)  Ranking score is 4 for David Archuleta (season 7) 15 voters marked David Archuleta (season 7) as their first choice
12th-most popular Crystal Bowersox (season 9)  Ranking score is 0 for Crystal Bowersox (season 9) 22 voters marked Crystal Bowersox (season 9) as their first choice

 


Season 9

Link to Season 9 commentary

The asterisks (*) below indicate the early eliminations of Lilly Scott, Alex Lambert, Katelyn Epperly, Lacey Brown, Didi Benami, Katie Stevens, and Siobhan Magnus, the almost-elimination-and-saving of Michael Lynche, and the delayed eliminations of Paige Miles and Tim Urban.

Contestant Top 12 females
Top 12 males
Top 10 females
Top 10 males
Top 8 females
Top 8 males
Top 12 Top 11 Top 10 Top 9
First Time
Top 9
Second Time
Top 7 Top 6 Top 5 Top 4 Top 3 Top 2 Winner
Lee DeWyze31133233232222Winner
Crystal Bowersox11122111121111Runner-up
Casey James2224444444333Out--
Michael Lynche5546655* Saved65654Out----
Aaron Kelly46675677654Out------
Siobhan Magnus4221132231*Out--------
Tim Urban1287*12*9*10*9*8*7Out----------
Katie Stevens56798865*Out------------
Andrew Garcia1351010989Out------------
Didi Benami244577*Out----------------
Paige Miles1188*11*11Out------------------
Lacey Brown10968*Out--------------------
Lilly Scott333*Out----------------------
Alex Lambert843*Out----------------------
Katelyn Epperly655*Out----------------------
Todrick Hall778Out----------------------
Michelle Delamor77Out------------------------
John Park109Out------------------------
Jermaine Sellers1110Out------------------------
Haeley Vaughn1210Out------------------------
Tyler Grady6Out--------------------------
Janell Wheeler8Out--------------------------
Ashley Rodriguez9Out--------------------------
Joe Muņoz9Out--------------------------

 


Cross-season poll for seasons 1 through 8

The results of this cross-season poll (after removing duplicates) reveal that fans of Clay Aiken and David Archuleta are well-networked and telling one another to vote here.  Each season, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are at or near the top because they are popular among all the people who vote here, even though they don't get as many first-choice votes.

Adam Lambert appears to be less popular, but the VoteFair representative ranking results reveal that he would be the most popular if the ballots from Clay Aiken fans were ignored.  This also means that most Clay Aiken fans rank Adam Lambert insincerely low.

Overall, notice that this kind of comparison—where every ballot counts, and every voter ranks all the candidates—reveals true popularity more accurately than simply counting first-choice votes.  (If your favorite wasn't in this poll, note that they didn't do well in previous cross-season polls.)

(Detailed results)

Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Clay Aiken (season 2)  Ranking score is 49 for Clay Aiken (season 2) 2371 voters marked Clay Aiken (season 2) as their first choice
Second-most popular Kelly Clarkson (season 1)  Ranking score is 46 for Kelly Clarkson (season 1) 53 voters marked Kelly Clarkson (season 1) as their first choice
Third-most popular Carrie Underwood (season 4)  Ranking score is 39 for Carrie Underwood (season 4) 50 voters marked Carrie Underwood (season 4) as their first choice
Fourth-most popular David Cook (season 7)  Ranking score is 34 for David Cook (season 7) 203 voters marked David Cook (season 7) as their first choice
Fifth-most popular David Archuleta (season 7)  Ranking score is 31 for David Archuleta (season 7) 1390 voters marked David Archuleta (season 7) as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Kris Allen (season 8)  Ranking score is 27 for Kris Allen (season 8) 204 voters marked Kris Allen (season 8) as their first choice
Seventh-most popular Adam Lambert (season 8)  Ranking score is 20 for Adam Lambert (season 8) 1545 voters marked Adam Lambert (season 8) as their first choice
Eighth-most popular Allison Iraheta (season 8)  Ranking score is 16 for Allison Iraheta (season 8) 98 voters marked Allison Iraheta (season 8) as their first choice
Ninth-most popular Jennifer Hudson (season 3)  Ranking score is 12 for Jennifer Hudson (season 3) 50 voters marked Jennifer Hudson (season 3) as their first choice
Tenth-most popular Jordin Sparks (season 6)  Ranking score is 8 for Jordin Sparks (season 6) 51 voters marked Jordin Sparks (season 6) as their first choice
11th-most popular Elliott Yamin (season 5)  Ranking score is 5 for Elliott Yamin (season 5) 50 voters marked Elliott Yamin (season 5) as their first choice
12th-most popular Danny Gokey (season 8)  Ranking score is 0 for Danny Gokey (season 8) 57 voters marked Danny Gokey (season 8) as their first choice
 

Season 8 poll

Link to Season 8 commentary

The asterisks (*) below indicate the early eliminations of Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, and Alexis Grace.

Contestant Group 1, Group 2,
Group 3, Wild card
Top 13
(pre-vote)
Top 11 Top 10 Top 9 Top 8 Top 7 Top 7,
again
Top 5 Top 4 Top 3 Top 2 Winner
Kris Allen4 (g2)74444322322Winner
Adam Lambert1 (g2)12111111111*Runner-up
Danny Gokey1 (g1)2123344443Out--
Allison Iraheta2 (g2)333222332*Out----
Matt Giraud6 (g2)
(2 in wc)
655555
(saved)
55Out------
Anoop Desai3 (g1)
(1 in wc)
9766666Out--------
Lil Rounds1 (g3)4877777Out--------
Scott MacIntyre2 (g3)810988Out------------
Megan Corkrey3 (g2)
(2 in wc)
10989Out--------------
Michael Sarver5 (g1)111110Out----------------
Alexis Grace2 (g1)56*Out------------------
Jasmine Murray8 (g2)
(5 in wc)
12Out--------------------
Jorge Nunez3 (g3)13Out--------------------
Ricky Braddy4 (g1)
(4 in wc)
Out----------------------
Felicia Barton4 (g3)Out----------------------
Mishavonna Henson5 (g2)Out----------------------
Ju'Not Joyner5 (g3)Out----------------------
Ann Marie Boskovich6 (g1)Out----------------------
Kristen McNamara6 (g3)Out----------------------
Tatiana Nicole Del Toro7 (g1)
(8 in wc)
Out----------------------
Jesse Langseth7 (g2)
(6 in wc)
Out----------------------
Von Smith7 (g3)
(7 in wc)
Out----------------------
Brent Keith8 (g1)Out----------------------
Kendall Beard8 (g3)Out----------------------
Jackie Tohn9 (g1)Out----------------------
Kai Kalama9 (g2)Out----------------------
Taylor Vaifanua9 (g3)Out----------------------
Stephen Fowler10 (g1)Out----------------------
Nick Mitchell10 (g2)Out----------------------
Arianna Afsar10 (g3)Out----------------------
Casey Carlson11 (g1)Out----------------------
Matt Breitzke11 (g2)Out----------------------
Alex Wagner-Trugman11 (g3)Out----------------------
Stevie Wright12 (g1)Out----------------------
Jeanine Vailes12 (g2)Out----------------------
Nathaniel Marshall12 (g3)Out----------------------

 


Cross-season poll for seasons 1 through 7

The results of this cross-season poll (after removing duplicates) reveal that fans of David Archuleta are well-networked and telling one another to vote here.  Also notice that some of the first-place winners are at or near the bottom.  This demonstrates the unfairness of using (primitive) single-mark ballots.  The more popular singers would have been the winners if official voting used order-of-preference ballots.  (Detailed results)

Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular David Archuleta (season 7)  Ranking score is 93 for David Archuleta (season 7) 1047 voters marked David Archuleta (season 7) as their first choice
Second-most popular Carrie Underwood (season 4)  Ranking score is 61 for Carrie Underwood (season 4) 35 voters marked Carrie Underwood (season 4) as their first choice
Third-most popular Kelly Clarkson (season 1)  Ranking score is 55 for Kelly Clarkson (season 1) 25 voters marked Kelly Clarkson (season 1) as their first choice
Fourth-most popular Elliott Yamin (season 5)  Ranking score is 43 for Elliott Yamin (season 5) 7 voters marked Elliott Yamin (season 5) as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Jordin Sparks (season 6)  Ranking score is 37 for Jordin Sparks (season 6) 6 voters marked Jordin Sparks (season 6) as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Clay Aiken (season 2)  Ranking score is 31 for Clay Aiken (season 2) 2 voters marked Clay Aiken (season 2) as their first choice
Seventh-most popular David Cook (season 7)  Ranking score is 26 for David Cook (season 7) 55 voters marked David Cook (season 7) as their first choice
Eighth-most popular Jennifer Hudson (season 3)  Ranking score is 19 for Jennifer Hudson (season 3) 0 voter marked Jennifer Hudson (season 3) as their first choice
Ninth-most popular Ruben Studdard (season 2)  Ranking score is 12 for Ruben Studdard (season 2) 0 voters marked Ruben Studdard (season 2) as their first choice
Tenth-most popular Blake Lewis (season 6)  Ranking score is 8 for Blake Lewis (season 6) 2 voters marked Blake Lewis (season 6) as their first choice
Eleventh-most popular Taylor Hicks (season 5)  Ranking score is 4 for Taylor Hicks (season 5) 0 voter marked Taylor Hicks (season 5) as their first choice
Twelfth-most popular Fantasia Barrino (season 3)  Ranking score is 0 for Fantasia Barrino (season 3) 0 voter marked Fantasia Barrino (season 3) as their first choice

 


Season 7 commentary

The final VoteFair poll results indicated that David Archuleta was slightly more popular than David Cook, so why did David Cook win?

Having the phone lines open for four hours surely limited the late-night and after-midnight calls from younger fansDavid Archuleta has more young fans than David Cook, so this gave an advantage to older fans, and therefore David Cook.  This alone could account for the surprise result.

In a broader sense, the VoteFair poll cannot predict this kind of surprise because this poll does not attempt to duplicate the same conditions—especially limited hours and multiple votes—that characterize the official voting.  These different conditions easily account for the different results.  Also remember that this was a close race in both the official results and the VoteFair poll.  When a race is close, anything can happen.

Why was Michael Johns eliminated early?

Unlike the other seven singers (still there when he was eliminated), Michael Johns did not receive a concentration of first-choice votes from an established large fan base willing to continuously dial his phone number.  That happened because, relatively speaking, he does not appeal to any ready-made, well-defined, and well-networked fan base.  In contrast, keeping in mind that averages do not apply to individuals, consider that rock-music fans would tend to concentrate votes on David Cook, country-music fans would tend to concentrate votes on Kristy Lee Cook, African Americans would tend to concentrate votes on Syesha Mercado, female pre-teens and teens would tend to concentrate votes on Jason Castro and David Archuleta, fans of female musicians would tend to concentrate votes on Brooke White (as the most popular female singer), conservative adults would tend to concentrate votes on David Archuleta and Brooke White, and rebellious teenagers and vocal-quality-conscious musicians would tend to concentrate votes on Carly Smithson.  Why didn't the previous week's VoteFair poll predict his early elimination?  Because in this poll each voter votes only once, whereas the official voting allows dedicated fans to vote as many times as the phone system can handle.  Note that vote concentration is the flip side of vote splitting.

 

This table summarizes the VoteFair poll results.  To view any week's poll rankings and details, click the link(s) in that week's heading.  Asterisks indicate cases where vote splitting or vote concentration caused a delayed elimination—in the case of Kristy Lee Cook and Syesha Mercado—or early elimination—in the case of Michael Johns.

Contestant Top 12 females
Top 12 males
Top 10 females
Top 10 males
Top 8 females
Top 8 males
Top 6 females
Top 6 males
Top 11 Top 10 Top 9 Top 8 Top 7 Top 6 Top 5 Top 4 Top 3 Top 2 Winner
David Cook5 (m)5 (m)4 (m)2 (m)2223221122Winner
David Archuleta1 (m)1 (m)1 (m)1 (m)1111112211Runner
up
Syesha Mercado2 (f)3 (f)4 (f)4 (f)9777 *66 *5 *4 *3Out--
Jason Castro3 (m)3 (m)3 (m)4 (m)56623333Out----
Brooke White4 (f)2 (f)2 (f)1 (f)3335454Out------
Carly Smithson6 (f)5 (f)3 (f)2 (f)455654Out--------
Kristy Lee Cook10 (f)8 (f)6 (f)6 (f)11 *10 *9 *8 *7 *Out----------
Michael Johns2 (m)2 (m)2 (m)3 (m)6444 *Out------------
Ramiele Malubay1 (f)1 (f)1 (f)3 (f)788Out--------------
Chikezie Eze11 (m)8 (m)6 (m)6 (m)89Out----------------
Amanda Overmyer7 (f)10 (f)8 (f)5 (f)10Out------------------
David Hernandez6 (m)4 (m)5 (m)5 (m)Out--------------------
Asia'h Epperson3 (f)4 (f)5 (f)Out----------------------
Danny Norriega7 (m)7 (m)7 (m)Out----------------------
Kady Malloy8 (f)7 (f)7 (f)Out----------------------
Luke Menard9 (m)9 (m)8 (m)Out----------------------
Alaina Whitaker5 (f)6 (f)Out------------------------
Robbie Carrico4 (m)6 (m)Out------------------------
Alexandréa Lushington9 (f)9 (f)Out------------------------
Jason Yeager10 (m)10 (m)Out------------------------
Colton David Berry8 (m)Out--------------------------
Joanne Borgella11 (f)Out--------------------------
Amy Jean Davis12 (f)Out--------------------------
Garrett Haley12 (m)Out--------------------------

 


Cross-season poll for seasons 1 through 6

In this summary table, notice that some of the first-place winners are at or near the bottom.  This demonstrates the unfairness of using (primitive) single-mark ballots.  The more popular singers would have been the winners if official voting used order-of-preference ballots.  (Detailed results)

Popularity Choice VoteFair
ranking
score
Traditional
vote count

(for comparison)
First-most popular Carrie Underwood (season 4)  Ranking score is 59 for Carrie Underwood (season 4) 19 voters marked Carrie Underwood (season 4) as their first choice
Second-most popular Kelly Clarkson (season 1)  Ranking score is 54 for Kelly Clarkson (season 1) 18 voters marked Kelly Clarkson (season 1) as their first choice
Third-most popular Jordin Sparks (season 6)  Ranking score is 54 for Jordin Sparks (season 6) 39 voters marked Jordin Sparks (season 6) as their first choice
Fourth-most popular Elliott Yamin (season 5)  Ranking score is 38 for Elliott Yamin (season 5) 8 voters marked Elliott Yamin (season 5) as their first choice
Fifth-most popular Melinda Doolittle (season 6)  Ranking score is 34 for Melinda Doolittle (season 6) 20 voters marked Melinda Doolittle (season 6) as their first choice
Sixth-most popular Blake Lewis (season 6)  Ranking score is 27 for Blake Lewis (season 6) 19 voters marked Blake Lewis (season 6) as their first choice
Seventh-most popular Clay Aiken (season 2)  Ranking score is 23 for Clay Aiken (season 2) 9 voters marked Clay Aiken (season 2) as their first choice
Eighth-most popular Jennifer Hudson (season 3)  Ranking score is 18 for Jennifer Hudson (season 3) 3 voters marked Jennifer Hudson (season 3) as their first choice
Ninth-most popular Katharine McPhee (season 5)  Ranking score is 13 for Katharine McPhee (season 5) 6 voters marked Katharine McPhee (season 5) as their first choice
Tenth-most popular Taylor Hicks (season 5)  Ranking score is 7 for Taylor Hicks (season 5) 8 voters marked Taylor Hicks (season 5) as their first choice
Eleventh-most popular Ruben Studdard (season 2)  Ranking score is 4 for Ruben Studdard (season 2) 0 voters marked Ruben Studdard (season 2) as their first choice
Twelfth-most popular Fantasia Barrino (season 3)  Ranking score is 0 for Fantasia Barrino (season 3) 0 voters marked Fantasia Barrino (season 3) as their first choice

 


Season 6

In season 6, vote splitting and vote concentration (which is the flip-side of vote splitting) caused the long-running delay in eliminating Sanjaya Malakar, and caused the slightly early elimination of Melinda Doolittle. (They are marked with asterisks in the table.)

In this VoteFair poll, Sanjaya was correctly identified as being the least popular every week for 8 weeks.  During that time he was designated by the "vote for the worst" website and radio-show host Howard Stern as "the worst", and worthy of votes to make the show entertaining.  This concentration of votes is the flip-side of vote-splitting.

As in politics, which also uses single-mark ballots, money is concentrated on a single candidate in each U.S. primary election, and if necessary money is used to temporarily back a candidate who is politically similar to the candidate who is most disliked by the biggest sources of money.

There was never any chance of Sanjaya winning.  The strategy of concentrating votes in contests where only first-choice preferences are considered can work when there are lots of other contestants among whom the other voters split their votes.  However, the strategy fails when there are fewer choices.

Melinda was eliminated before Blake Lewis because she and Jordin split the primitive single-mark (official) votes of the voters who preferred a female winner, while voters who preferred a male winner concentrated their votes on the same person.  (If voting had been split into two-way ("pairwise") contests, Jordin would have won over Blake, and Melinda would have won over Blake.)  Nevertheless, Melinda is not as popular as a first choice, and that's all that counts in single-mark-ballot voting.

The lesson?  The person with the most (first-choice) votes is not necessarily the most popular, and the person with the fewest (first-choice) votes is not necessarily the least popular.

Learn more about vote splitting at Wikipedia.

 

(Asterisks indicate delayed or premature eliminations.)

Contestant Top 12
males

Top 12
females
Top 10
males

Top 10
females
Top 8
males

Top 8
females
Top 12 Top 11 Top 10 Top 9 Top 8 Top 7 Top 6
First week
Top 6
Second week
Top 4 Top 3 Top 2 Winner
Jordin Sparks4-tie
(f)
3 (f)3 (f)42221112121Winner
Blake Lewis1 (m)1 (m)1 (m)33333233332Out
Melinda Doolittle2 (f)2 (f)1 (f)1111232121 *Out--
Lakisha Jones1 (f)1 (f)2 (f)244444454Out----
Phil Stacey3 (m)3 (m)4 (m)910976654Out------
Chris Richardson4 (m)4 (m)3 (m)75665566Out------
Sanjaya Malakar10 (m)10 (m) *8 (m) *12 *11 *10 *9 *8 *7 *Out----------
Haley Scarnato7-tie
(f)
7 (f)7 (f)119887Out------------
Gina Glocksen4-tie
(f)
6 (f)6 (f)6755Out--------------
Chris Sligh2 (m)2 (m)2 (m)567Out----------------
Stephanie Edwards6 (f)4 (f)5 (f)88Out------------------
Brandon Rogers5 (m)7 (m)6 (m)10Out--------------------
Sabrina Sloan3 (f)5 (f)4 (f)Out----------------------
Sundance Head11 (m)5 (m)5 (m)Out----------------------
Jared Cotter8 (m)6 (m)7 (m)Out----------------------
Antonella Barba11 (f)10 (f)8 (f)Out----------------------
Leslie Hunt7-tie
(f)
8 (f)Out------------------------
Nicholas Pedro7 (m)8 (m)Out------------------------
Alaina Alexander10 (f)9 (f)Out------------------------
A. J. Tabaldo6 (m)9 (m)Out------------------------
Nicole Tranquillo7-tie
(f)
Out--------------------------
Amy Krebs12 (f)Out--------------------------
Rudy Cardenas9 (m)Out--------------------------
Paul Kim12 (m)Out--------------------------

 


Results of cross-season polls

Five-season poll results based on 2,000 votes
(after repeat votes eliminated) (detailed results)

  1. Clay Aiken
  2. Kelly Clarkson
  3. Taylor Hicks (second-most representative)
  4. Carrie Underwood
  5. Elliott Yamin
  6. Chris Daughtry
  7. Bo Bice
  8. Ruben Studdard
  9. Katharine McPhee
  10. Constantine Maroulis
  11. Fantasia Barrino

Four-season poll results based on 6,338 votes
(after repeat votes eliminated) (detailed results)

  1. Clay Aiken
  2. Kelly Clarkson
  3. Carrie Underwood
  4. Bo Bice
  5. Constantine Maroulis (second-most representative)

 

Season 5 summary

In season 5 there were three unfairly early eliminations. (They are marked with asterisks in the table.)

Contestant Top 12 females Top 12 males Top 10 females Top 10 males Top 8 females Top 8 males Top 12
ranking
Top 11
ranking
Top 10
ranking
Top 9
ranking
Top 8
ranking
Top 7
ranking
Top 6
ranking
Top 5
ranking
Top 4
ranking
Top 3
ranking
Top 2
ranking
Final
result
Taylor Hicks1 (m)1 (m)2 (m)23111111111Winner
Katharine McPhee3 (f)1 (f)1 (tie) (f)31354444432Out
Elliott Yamin4 (m)4 (m)3 (m)6652333222 *Out--
Chris Daughtry3 (m)2 (m)1 (m)122322233 *Out----
Paris Bennett1 (f)2 (f)4 (f)97667555Out------
Kellie Pickler4 (f)4 (f)1 (tie) (f)5577566Out--------
Ace Young2 (m)3 (m)4 (m)898987Out----------
Bucky Covington9-tie (m)5 (m)5 (m)1010986Out------------
Mandisa5 (f)6 (f)3 (f)4444 *Out--------------
Lisa Tucker2 (f)3 (f)6 (f)7810Out----------------
Kevin Corvais6 (m)7 (m)7 (m)1211Out------------------
Melissa McGhee77 (f)7 (f)11Out--------------------
Gedeon McKinney8 (m)9 (m)6 (m)Out----------------------
Ayla Brown6 (f)5 (f)5 (f)Out----------------------
Will Makar5 (m)6 (m)8 (m)Out----------------------
Kinnik Sky10 (f)9 (f)8 (f)Out----------------------
Jose "Sway" Penala9-tie (m)10 (m)Out------------------------
Brenna Gethers12 (f)10 (f)Out------------------------
David Radford7 (m)8 (m)Out------------------------
Heather Cox8 (f)8 (f)Out------------------------
Patrick Hall11 (m)Out--------------------------
Stevie Scott11 (f)Out--------------------------
Bobby Bennet12 (m)Out--------------------------
Becky O'Donohue9 (f)Out--------------------------

 

The biggest surprise elimination

In Season 3 Jennifer Hudson was eliminated unfairly early.  There were seven contestants remaining.  She and Fantasia Barrino — who was the final winner — and LaToya London were female, African-American, excellent singers.  All three of these previously popular singers ended up in the "bottom three" that night. This was a classic demonstration of vote splitting in which the presence of similar choices reduces the votes for each of the similar choices. Its effect is well-known, but the solution — order-of-preference voting and VoteFair ranking — is only beginning to be recognized.

Remember: The person with the fewest votes is not necessarily the least popular!

 

As a clarification, Constantine Maroulis was not eliminated early because of vote-splitting, but rather because of a phone-system failure.  (A statistical analysis of the phone-call data could have identified the time and place of the failure.  This analysis also could have identified who really had the fewest first-choice votes.)

 

Like these American Idol polls?  Spread the word!  Also you are invited to voice your opinion — about VoteFair ranking (not about contestants) — on the Testimonials page.

 

 


Send feedback to Richard Fobes at Email address, non-machine-readable to reduce spam
or use the Testimonials page

© Copyright 2004 through 2012, Richard Fobes at VoteFair.org

Top of Page Top of Page