Much like those who follow horse racing, Idol watchers are forever trying find that magic formula to predict who will be the next big winner. While you can gamble on Idol (truly a foolish enterprise – save your money for the tour!), most are content to post their predictions on blogs and twitter. Sure, there are obviously some lame competitors who were lucky just to get into the starting gate and were never going to challenge at the wire. But, there are always lots of contenders and positions can switch during the final stretch. Front runners often fade. Who will win this year between our two front runners? Let us turn to the Idol community of blogs and message boards for their infinite wisdom. Let us examine the superstitions whose origins have been lost in the mists of time as they are traded from board to board (each claiming to have originated them). Let us see if there is a magic formula to see who will be wearing the blanket of roses on Wednesday.
To start it off, the spookiest Idol superstition of all…that will not die
1) The Curse Of Kristy Lee Cook
Kristy Lee Cook has become a legend in the Idol world. Whether she is a sorceress who should not be crossed or the Fates were a massive fan of her “8 Days a Week” cover, she has ruled over Idol for the last 4 seasons. She finished 7th in Season 7 (perhaps that combination of the two sevens opened the portal to hell?), but a Cook did go on to win that Season. The next year, when Kris Allen emerged from fodderdom to win, some people recognized the coincidence that the two winners shared a first and last name with Kristy. Surely, after Lee won the next year to complete her three names, the curse was dead? But no. Scotty quickly amended his name from “Scott McCreery” in his audition to “Scotty” and he was guaranteed the win (and having a middle name of Cooke sealed the deal and made the curse last another year).
Now, her name was complete by any measure (and hopefully, having two first names meant she had no middle name?). People were prepared to look for the next predictor of winners. Would it be season 10’s 7th place finisher Stefano?
But wait! What did I hear when Phil Phillips went for his visit home? He went to LEEsburg? Which is in LEE County. And he attended LEE County High School? Perhaps the curse is not dead.
And, if that wasn’t enough of a sign, Kristy Lee Cook auditioned in PHILadelphia.
Accuracy: 100% (4 of 4)
2) Performance Order
They don’t call it the pimp spot for nothing! Singing in the last spot gives one the ability to make that last impression before the voters hit the telephone lines. To nullify the moment your rival just had by having your own. To end the show in a euphoria of praise of you. Fans grumble if their Idol hasn’t had the pimp spot in a while or if some other Idol keeps getting it every other week. Rarely, do people ever get eliminated when singing last. It’s a not so subtle nod to the audience from the producers that they saved the best for last. In one of their rare attempts at playing fair, the producers actually leave the final pimp spot up to a coin toss. They paste pictures of the two finalists onto a large plastic disk and then Ryan tosses it after the final 3 show (in Season 4, there was almost a disaster when the coin fell down a grate on the stage and had to be recovered…there was no back-up “coin”).
Does the pimp spot really help on final 2 night? Well, the contestants certainly seem to think so. Every time somebody has been given a choice (and chose to take it), that person has chosen to sing last. Twice, the male contestants have won the coin toss and defered the choice to their female competitor (which I personally think is stupid and a little condescending – debate! If I choose to compete with males, I don’t want any special treatment. I’ll beat you on a level playing field or I will lose). Six out of ten Idol winners sang last on Final 2 night. Only Ruben, Cook, Lee and Scotty have been able to take the win breaking from the first gate. Interestingly, 3 of the last 4 winners sang first, so perhaps the Performance Order magic is waning.
Phil won the coin toss this year and elected to sing last.
Accuracy: 60% (6 out of 10)
3) Alphabetically, Winners Always Come Last
A strong theme of Idol this year is about people competing who grew up watching the show. Well, at some point, we are going to have kids competing who were born before the show even started airing. For all those parents out there who have neither the talent nor the age to make it on Idol, they still have a chance of appearing on the Idol finale with confetti falling on their smiling faces. First, name your child something that starts with the letter ‘Z’ and then send your kid to singing boot camp. For some quirky reason, whoever has the name that starts with the later letter in the alphabet, wins. Season 7 had to go to the last name for the tie breaker. Aarons shouldn’t even bother trying out for this show.
David C/David A
Jessica went totally the wrong way with her alter ego. Perhaps Zech Bebe might have won it for her.
4) All Winners Come From the South
Idol fans have griped for years that winners all come from the South (though, sometimes, the Mid-West has been relocated to the South to keep this gripe alive). Of course, many years, both final 2 contestants came from the South so the point was kind of moot (though, I guess being from the South got both of them in the finale). The theory goes that people from small towns get more invested in the contestants from their areas (and presumably have nothing to do other than vote or throw rocks at old tin cans) and that AT&T has a larger customer base in the South. People who live in big cities are too disconnected to feel a sense of hometown pride (tell that to people who live in the Big Apple) and, presumably, people on the West Coast are too busy doing yoga to vote.
I can’t keep up with what is defined as “The South” because the geographic lines keep moving, but I’ll try to classify the wins:
Kelly (Texas)/Justin (Pennsylvania) – South won
Ruben (Alabama)/Clay (North Carolina) – Both from the South
Fantasia (North Carolina)/Diana (Georgia) – Both from the South
Carrie (Oklahoma)/Bo (Alabama) – South did not win (Oklahoma is mid-west)
Taylor (Alabama)/Katharine (California) – South won
Jordin (Arizona)/Blake (Washington) – Neither from the South
Cook (Missouri)/Archie (Utah) – Neither from the South
Kris (Arkansas)/Adam (California) – South Won
Lee (Illinois)/Crystal (Ohio) – Neither from the South
Scotty (North Carolina)/Lauren (Georgia) – Both from the South
Phil (Georgia)/Jessica (California)
Accuracy: 75% (3 out of 4 times a Southerner faced somebody from the non-South), 60% (6 out of 10 winners from the South)
5) Majority Gender of Top 3
The winner is generally the same gender as that which makes up the majority of the top 3. Whether it is because voters tend to favour a particular sex (when one of that gender is eliminated, the votes go the other person of that gender) or because whichever gender has the majority in the Top 3 also often ends up being the only gender in the top 2, this one is pretty reliable.
Kelly/Justin/Nikki – two females, one male = female winner
Ruben/Clay/Kim – two males, one female = male winner
Fantasia/Diana/Jasmine – three females = female winner
Carrie/Bo/Vonzell – two females, one male = female winner
Taylor/Katharine/Elliot – two males, one female = male winner
Jordin/Blake/Melinda – two females, one male = female winner
Cookie/Archie/Syesha – two males, one female = male winner
Kris/Adam/Gokey – three males = male winner
Lee/Crystal/Casey – two males, one female = male winner
Scotty/Lauren/Haley – two females, one male = male winner
Phil/Jessica/Josh – two males, one fmeale
6) Double Letters for the Victory
Idol voters seem to favour contestants with double letters in their names (please keep that in mind all potential parents of Idol winners). Double letters can be found in the winners first, last or middle names (and sometimes we have to combine two names together to force that result).
Season 1: Kelly Brianne Clarkson (“ll”, “nn”) vs Justin Eldrin Guarani (nothing)
Season 2: Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard (“dd”) vs Clayton Holmes Aiken (bupkis – no wonder he lost to Arsenio Hall too)
Season 3: Fantasia Monique Barrino (“rr”) vs Diane Nicole Degarmo (nada!)
Season 4: Carrie Marie Underwood (“rr”,”oo”) vs Harold Edwin “Bo” Bice (zip)
Season 5: Taylor Ruben Hicks (glue his middle name to his first for double “rr”‘s?) vs Katharine Hope McPhee (“ee” – okay, she should have won by this rule)
Season 6: Jordin Brianna Sparks (“nn”) vs Blake Colin Lewis (z-z-z-ero)
Season 7: David Roland Cook (“oo”) vs David James Archuleta (goose egg)
Season 8: Kristopher Neil Allen (“ll”) vs Adam Mitchel Lambert (zippo)
Season 9: Leon (Lee) James Dewyze (“ee”) vs Crystal Lynn Bowersoc (“nn” – perhaps the Fates appreciated Lee going the extra mile by adopting a double letter).
Season 10: Scotty Cooke McCreery (“tt”, “oo”, “cc”, “ee”) vs Lauren Alaina [Suddeth] (the Fates were not pleased that she dropped her last name for the competition, like “dd” could beat 4 double letter combinations)
Season 11: Phillip Phillips (“ll”, “ll”, same name twice, same name as his dad) vs Jessica Sanchez (“ss”). I don’t know their middle names, but Phil’s is probably “Phil”.
This is a totally half-baked theory that emerged on our own blog (because I invented it – I’ve been trying to craft a new one this year…anybody care to try their hand?). Anyway, I noticed that the person with the most boring hair always wins (perhaps the hair distracts the voters…DeAndre did not stand a chance!…or perhaps Glee is right and Hairography reduces one’s credibility)
Kelly (short bob) vs Justin (Side Show Bob)
Ruben (bald) vs Clay (who started plain and then went nuts with a flat iron and ended up looking like a porcupine)
Fantasia (pixie cut) vs Diana (long tresses)
Carrie (long hair) vs Bo (longer hair, plus a beard!)
Taylor (grey hair, $8 hair cut) vs Katharine (and her many hair extensions which were creepily re-used by cost conscious AI the next year!!!)
Jordin (flowing hair) vs Blake (he did try by dying it)
Cook (balding) vs Archie (thick locks)
Kris (balding) vs Adam (pompadour and all)
Lee (boring, non-descript hair) vs Crystal (Dreadlocks)
Scotty (started with a buzzcut and ended up with about an an inch of hair) vs Lauren (long hair, extensions, dye)
Phil (Supercuts! Just got out of bed!) vs Jessica (long, curly, well-coifed hair)
It’s rare that all the predictions line up so consistently. Even Scotty looked to have a bigger challenge last year. Phil is in it to win it! Can Jessica overthrow the collective wisdom of idoldom or is she DOOMED?