News Roundup

Nigel’s interview with hasn’t been posted yet.  So,  here’s a little reading material to entertain you in the meantime.

Voting Predictions

For those who are asking about DialIdol, you can find this week’s predictions here. Look if you dare. Because the predictions are, of course, not always accurate–I’m loath to post the numbers up here in my blog prior to the results show.  It’s one thing to post song spoilers that may or may not be true.  Posting elimination predictions is a whole ‘nother ball ‘o wax.  Who likes seeing their favorite ranked last and highlighted in red?  Not me.  But hey, if someone posts the information in the comments section, I’ll just cover my eyes.  Post away…

“Aunt Edna” is an anonymous person who claims to work for AT&T.  “Her” accuracy is about on par with Dialidol, I believe.  Unlike DialIdol, she does not explain her methodology, she just produces a bunch of statistics each week.  She posts her stuff in a closed MSN group that doesn’t take many new members. Anybody who is interested in her voting predictions should check out the AI5 spoiler forum at  Somebody usually posts her predictions in a thread there. 

The South Rises Again

There are talented people all over America.  Why is the Top 12 populated with so many Southerners?Here is an interesting article from the Washington Post that attempts to answer that question.  The article presents some interesting statistics:

“Idol’s” two episodes last week were the No. 1 shows in their time slots in every major market in America (save for San Antonio and Albuquerque), but lookit these shares down south! Greensboro-High Point, N.C.: 50 percent of all televisions turned on were watching “Idol”! Birmingham: 46 percent! Atlanta: 45! Charlotte: 37!

It’s a really great theory, and it does count, but let’s look at the raw numbers those shares translate into.

Greensboro-High Point: 218, 000 households. Birmingham: 234, 000. Atlanta: 642, 000.

By comparison, Idol scored higher in 40 other markets before New York shows up. It pulled a 24 percent share in Gotham. But that translates into 1.1 million households — and potential voters. In Los Angeles, the show rated even lower, at 21 percent, but that still meant 773, 000 households.

So the show penetrates more deeply in the Southeast, but that still doesn’t mean more voters. “Idol” does terribly in Knoxville, Houston and Nashville, the official home of country music.”

And some cultural theories:

“‘There’s still an awful lot of old-school singers who got their starts in church, and many mainstream country musicians still do a gospel album, ‘ said John Reed Shelton, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina and one of the region’s most respected observers. ‘Everybody tends to go to church, and Southern evangelical Protestantism, both black and white, emphasizes and rewards musical performance.’

Plus, as Wilson, the Mississippi scholar, points out, the only way a lot of kids stuck in one-horse towns know that they can find life-changing fame and fortune is on the stage.”

Not addressed in the article: The producers choose many Southerners as they whittle the pack down to the Top 24.  When Idol visited Northeastern cities, both Nigel and Simon noted that the talent there seemed more “rehearsed”–while Nigel raved about the down-to-earth auditioners found in Greenboro NC.  The Southern flavah is at least partially by design,  y’all.