Phillip Phillips is our new American Idol. After a record-setting 132 million votes and lasting popularity among the younger females, a key demographic of the American Idol audience, handsome and quietly rebellious Phillip took center stage and the title of American Idol on Wednesday night in a surprising-to-some (yes, that includes us) grand finale.
So what led to Phillip’s victory? We are sure that more data, facts and analysis will come to light in the days that follow this Idol coronation, but for right now, here in this moment, we believe that Phillip’s everlasting popularity may be attributed to several factors:
- Phillip fits the Idol mold — a young, clean-cut, handsome Caucasian male with guitar who follows nicely in the pattern of a series of young, clean-cut, handsome Caucasian male winners (i.e. Cook, Allen, DeWyze, McCreery, and now Phillips). The younger female audience is drawn to this image — what can we say? This is just nature.
- The young, female audience has the voting power. Not only are they attracted to types like Phillip, but they are the viewers who are most likely to vote. Not only are they the most likely to vote, but they are the most likely to vote multiple times, to the maximum, in fact, because they are familiar with technology and they are not afraid to use it. Other demographic segments, for example, older viewers, may not be aware that multiple votes are allowed, and they are likely not to have the energy to do so either.
- In this season, young Jessica Sanchez likely drew a great deal of audible online support from overseas. These fans are restricted from voting in the competition, therefore their voices distorted the true popularity of Jessica within the realm of qualified voters.
- Phillip closed the show with a significantly better “Idol” song. In fact, it wasn’t even close, one could argue that Jessica was doomed the second she chose the song she did, especially when Phillip chose so darn right. We all know that the impact of the final song can be disproportionately large over the voting audience, even erasing an entire season of hard work, and that is exactly what happened to Jessica, especially for viewers who tuned in only for the final show with these two songs being almost subject of final judgment.
And so the lights go dim as another season of American Idol is done. While we have done our best to provide the best predictions possible, these are based on a multitude of different factors that are subject to many different variables themselves, and we are left wondering if science really can predict human behavior (at least when it comes to reality TV). We do not know the answer to this for sure, but we will keep trying with our history of pretty good odds. So stay tuned, kick back, relax and enjoy the ride for more data-meets-the-tube sort of fun on American Idol and beyond!