These are unprecedented times. We have been forced out of our comfort zone and our environment is changing rapidly. Researchers are investigating new theories and we are all asked to do our part. To be honest, we may have grown complacent. Used to the old rules and ways of doing things. But we will not be shaken! It takes more than Katy Perry dressed as a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep us down. We will adapt! We expanded to handle a Final 3 – we can handle 5. Throw a Final 7 at us next year and we will laugh – HaHa! (while crying in the closet).
For 17 seasons, American Idol has been proven to be a complex organism. How does it react when exposed to guitars? Can it survive in the cold light of Youtube? If it ingests voting via Twitter, is its very DNA permanently altered? The study of Idol has been a lengthy collaborative project worked on by dedicated researchers across the globe. Television Without Pity. Idol Forums. MJs. The list of the Idol collective is endless. But can this hard earned knowledge still apply when artists are forced to be their own sound technicians, the Idoldome has been reduced to a garage, every week is a hometown visit and the eliminations are bloodbaths?
The answer is…it doesn’t matter because we will not be deterred! We are predicting a winner anyway! Just try and stop us.
So, settle down in your mask and put your feet up on a box of toilet paper because we are about to present the evidence of who will win American Idol Reboot Season 3 (aka AmId-18)!
But…be warned – HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. Not only are we spoiling the winner of this season with our most excellent predictions, but by its very nature, we are also spoiling the top 5. So, those who are spoiler free must wait until after the Finale to read who won
A) Stay Home
These days, we are staying closer to home. Not only are we not travelling on exotic vacations, we aren’t even travelling to the mall. The message is clear. Everyone worth listening to is on the same page: Governments, Scientists, MacDonald’s, that cranky person on twitter who saw somebody walking a dog: Stay Safe. Stay Home.
At the best of times, the Idolverse likes to vote for the home town Idol. To see somebody who grew up in their local area become a success. Perhaps it is a vicarious thrill. Perhaps it is because neighbours like to pull together. Perhaps it is because the Idol owes them money and they aren’t going to see it paid back until and unless the Idol gets a recording contract.
But not all home town’s are created equal. This hometown-Idol effect is lessened if you come from a larger city. Whether it is because the larger cities are statistically likely to already have big success stories or because denizens of larger cities are harder to impress. Likewise, this effect is magnified in Southern states. Southerners might claim it as a positive – Southerners are more neighbourly while others might be less gracious. Let’s not fight that fight. Complicating matters is that defining a “Southern State” is difficult to get consensus on.
In any event, will recent world events make you more or less likely to vote for the hometown hero? Let’s take a look at who is from the South (because if we start arguing about what is a small town and what is just a contiguous sub-burb of a major city we could probably solve world peace faster):
Season 1: Kelly (Texas-S)/Justin (Pennsylvania-N) – Southern Champion
Season 2: Ruben (Alabama-S)/Clay (North Carolina-S) – Southern Champion
Season 3: Fantasia (North Carolina-S)/Diana (Georgia-S) – Southern Champion
Season 4: Carrie (Oklahoma-S/MW/NNW/SC)/Bo (Alabama-S) – Southern Champion
Season 5: Taylor (Alabama-S)/Katharine (California-W) – Southern Champion
Season 6: Jordin (Arizona-MW)/Blake (Washington-PNW) – Mountain West Champion
Season 7: Cook (Missouri-MW)/Archie (Utah-RMW) – Midwest Champion
Season 8: Kris (Arkansas-S)/Adam (California-W) – Southern Champion
Season 9: Lee (Illinois-MW)/Crystal (Ohio-MW) – Midwest Champion
Season 10: Scotty (North Carolina-S)/Lauren (Georgia-S) – Southern Champion
Season 11: Phil (Georgia-S)/Jessica (California-W) – Southern Champion
Season 12: Kree (Texas-S)/Candice(South Carolina-S) – Southern Champion
Season 13.: Caleb (North Carolina)/Jena (Michigan-MW) – Southern Champion
Season 14: Nick (Connecticut-NE)/Clark (Tennessee-S) – New England Champion
Season 15:Trent (Mississippi-S)/LaPorsha(Mississippi-S) – Southern Champion
Season 16: Maddie (Iowa-MW)/Caleb (Georgia-S)/Gabby(Pennsylvania-N) – Midwest Champion
Season 17: Laine (Louisiana-S)/Alejandro (California – W)/Madison(New York – NE) – Southern Champion
Arthur Gunn: Wichita, Kansas – Big City, Southern State
Dillion James: Bakersfield, California – Mid-sized City, Western State
Francisco Martin: San Francisco, California – Big City, Western State
Jonny West: Murrieta, California – Small Town, but commuter town for LA/San Diego, Western State
Just Sam: Harlem, New York – Big City, Northern State
With three guys from California, will that split the hometown vote? Does Just Sam have a chance being from a the biggest city in the Country?
Gold: Arthur Gunn
Silver Dillion James
Bronze: Jonny West
Accuracy: 11/16 or 12/16 – 65%-75%
B) Panic Buying
One of the first thing you see in a crisis is panic buying. Just as it happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and Q1 of this year, people rush out and buy things. Lots of things. It’s just not because they need things, it is a form of herd behaviour. People see others buying things, so they feel they need to do it too. If they don’t get it now, they may not be able to get it later.
We see a similar herd behaviour in Idol voting. The Idolverse votes for the herd. If you are a lone gazelle in the middle of the field, you are lunch meat because Idol voters are only interested in protecting the main herd. If you aren’t part of the herd, we don’t hear you.
When Idol had a final two, the winner generally came from the gender that dominated the final 3 (the herd). This held true even when we had a three way finale. So, what will happen if we have a five-way finale?
Let’s examine history and predict how the herd will vote:
Season 1: Kelly/Justin/Nikki – two females, one male = female winner – Herd!
Season 2: Ruben/Clay/Kim – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 3: Fantasia/Diana/Jasmine – three females = female winner – Herd!
Season 4: Carrie/Bo/Vonzell – two females, one male = female winner – Herd!
Season 5: Taylor/Katharine/Elliot – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 6: Jordin/Blake/Melinda – two females, one male = female winner – Herd!
Season 7: Cookie/Archie/Syesha – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 8: Kris/Adam/Gokey – three males = male winner – Herd!
Season 9: Lee/Crystal/Casey – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 10: Scotty/Lauren/Haley – two females, one male = male winner – Lone Gazelle!
Season 11: Phil/Jessica/Josh – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 12: Candice/Kree/Angie – three females = female winner – Herd!
Season 13: Caleb/Jena/Alex – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 14: Nick/Jax/Clark – two males, one female = male winner – Herd!
Season 15: Trent/LaPorsha/Dalton – two males, one female=male winner – Herd!
Season 16: Maddie/Caleb/Gabby – one male/two females = female winner – Herd!
Season 17: Laine/Alejandro/Madison – two males/one female = male winner – Herd!
This year: Arthur/Dillion/Francisco/Jonny/Just Sam – four males/one female = male winner
Nice Parting Gift : Just Sam
Accuracy: 16/17 = 94%
C) Line up and Follow the Arrows on the Ground
If there is one thing people have had to get used to over the last few weeks, it is learning how to form an organized queue. Whether we are lining up to get into a store or to get medical service or to wait seven weeks for our Gubbröra to arrive from Ikea Online, we have all learned to line-up 6 feet away from each other and wait our turn.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have sympathy for the person at the end of the line. Everyone in the line has been at the back of it at one time. We prefer to be at the front of the line, and we hate it when we join a line and are the last person in it until we are the first meaning we didn’t need to be in the line at all and could have been doing something useful like organizing our sock drawer or teaching the dog how to mow the lawn while giving himself a walk, but we appreciate the agony of the people at the back realizing the line does in fact wrap the entire way around the very, very large Costco.
Idol voters have always extended this sympathy and appreciation for those at the end of the line by voting for them. A pimp spot practically guarantees a return visit to the Idol stage. Alphabetical order is another form of line and Idol voters are quick to toss you some votes if your name appears later in the alphabet. Let us see this voting trend in action:
Season 1: Kelly/Justin – Kelly was only one letter back from Justin, but it was enough to tip the balance. Victory from Behind!
Season 2: Ruben/Clay – Our reportedly closest voting race was actually our least closest race. Clay didn’t stand a chance. Victory from Behind!
Season 3: Fantasia/Diana – Just one letter between them, but it was enough. Victory from Behind!
Season 4: Carrie/Bo – Harold could have easily one, but he decided to Bo out of the race before it even started. Victory from Behind!
Season 5: Taylor/Katharine – When Taylor won the coin toss, he said ladies first and K is indeed first before T. Victory from Behind!
Season 6: Jordin/Blake – When Blake won the coin toss, he decided to to first because he knew B would never beat a J. Victory from Behind!
Season 7: David C/David A – This was another close year for the voters because the two finalist had the same name. So we went to the tie breaker – the last name. AB(efore)C. Victory from Behind!
Season 8: Kris/Adam – What was Adam even thinking joining this contest with a name starting with A? He should have changed his name to Zurg. Victory from Behind!
Season 9: Lee/Crystal – Just as Adam would have been better off going with his middle name (Mitchel), so would have Crystal Lynn. Victory from behind!
Season 10:Scotty/Lauren – Like Blake, Scotty let Lauren pick her performance slot after he won the coin toss, but in his case, he just didn’t want to curb stomp the poor woman. S is well after L. Victory from Behind!
Season 11: Phil/Jessica – Jessica gave it a try, but there was no beating Phillip Phillips double P. Victory from Behind!
Season 12: Kree/Candice – People just wanted this season to be over. They voted for the first name they saw. First to Victory!
Season 13: Jena/Caleb – People were still hung over from the previous season. First to Victory!
Season 14: Nick/Clark – Voters back to form. Victory from Behind!
Season 15: Trent/LaPorcha – Last season – stick to tradition. Victory from Behind!
Season 16: Maddie/Gabby/Caleb – First season on ABC – stick to tradition. Victory from Behind!
Season 17: Laine/Alejandro/Madison – Madison had too many other things against her to make the final two. Of the final two, Alejandro was doomed. Victory from Behind!
Arthur Gunn – Arthur? If you are picking a name, don’t pick Arthur if you are going to be on Idol. Still, Dibesh wouldn’t have helped this year either.
Dillion James – Would have earned him a win in Season 4 and 8, but no good this year.
Francisco Martin – Good enough for bronze.
Jonny West – Silver – we had to go to the second letter photo finish.
Just Sam – Gold! Next time, be safer and just go with Sam.
Accuracy: 15/17 – 88%
D) Two is Company
Even the hermits amongst us have grown to realize that humans need interaction. Sure, it’s fun to sit around in our holiest sweat pants and forget where we last saw the hairbrush for a few weeks, but eventually, we begin to crave annoying Uncle Randy telling us about how he used to be in a band for the 197th time. We actually appreciate company. Now, we wouldn’t even resent them coming over because our houses are spotless – it was either clean the house or finish writing that boring document for work – the choice seemed obvious.
The Idolverse is the same way. It does not like a solo act. Whenever possible, it chooses contestants who respect the need for company by ensuring they have double letters in their names.
History has made it clear!
Season 1: Kelly [Brianne] Clarkson (2) vs Justin [Eldrin] Guarani (0) – Two is Company!
Season 2: [Christopher Theodore] Ruben Studdard (1) vs [Clayton Holmes] “Clay” Aiken (0) – Two is Company!
Season 3: Fantasia [Monique] Barrino (1) vs Diane [Nicole] Degarmo (0) – Two is Company! (Fantasia made sure to keep the double letters until after the competition)
Season 4: Carrie [Marie] Underwood (2) vs [Harold Edwin] “Bo” Bice (0) – Two is Company!
Season 5: Taylor Ruben Hicks (0) vs Katharine Hope McPhee (1) – Need for Alone Time!
Season 6: Jordin [Brianna] Sparks (1) vs Blake Colin Lewis (0) – Two is Company!
Season 7: David [Roland] Cook (1) vs David [James] Archuleta (0) – Two is Company!
Season 8: Kristopher [Neil] Allen 91) vs Adam Mitchel Lambert (0) – Two is Company!
Season 9: [Leon] “Lee” [James] Dewyze (1) vs Crystal [Lynn] Bowersox (1) – Two is Company! (The Idolverse has more respect for somebody who chooses to have double letters in their nickname than somebody who hides their middle name)
Season 10: Scotty Cooke McCreery (4!) vs Lauren Alaina [Suddeth] (0 – in a total dis to the Idolverse – last name was dropped for competition) – Two is Company!
Season 11: Phillip [Ladon] Phillips (2 – plus the double name – R-E-S-P-E-C-T!) vs Jessica Sanchez (1) – Two is Company!
Season 12: Candace [Rickelle] Glover (1) vs Kree Annette Harrison (4) – Need for Alone Time! (I blame Mariah and Nicki – we all needed alone time after that)
Season 13: Caleb [Perry] Johnson (1) vs Jena [Irene [Ascuitto]] (0 – again with the dropping of the last name!) – Two is Company!
Season 14: Nick [James] Fradiani (0) vs Clark [Paul] Beckham (0) – Everyone stayed home – inconclusive.
Season 15: Trent [William] Harmon (1) vs LaPorsha Renae [Myers] (0) – Two is Company
Season 16: Caleb Lee Hutchinson (1) vs Gabby Barrett (3) vs Maddie [Mae] Poppe (2) – Three is a Crowd – top two is not – Two is Company!
Season 17: Alejandro Aranda (DF0) vs Laine Hardy (DF0) vs Madison VanDenburg (DF0) – Everyone stayed home – inconclusive
Arthur Gunn (1)
Dillion James (1)
Francisco Martin (0)
Jonny West (1)
Just Sam (0)
Gold: Jonny, Dillion (double letter in more prominent first name)
Silver: Arthur (Although, he did pick Gunn as his stage name)
Participation Ribbon: Francisco Martin, Just Sam
Accuracy: 13/15 (87%)
E) I Need a Haircut
As social distancing drags on, people have begun craving haircuts. Even people who normally avoid their local barber until their family stages an intervention, suddenly find themselves hankering for a bit of a trim. It’s the old wanting what one can’t have. Grass is greener. Grapes are sweeter. The judging was better.
Idol voters have always been a harsh bunch to those who wear the mask of well coifed hair. “Why are you distracting us with those luscious locks? You must be singing out of tune and be a hack!” they collective shout in their subconscious at the television. The more you muck with your hair and it becomes its own character, the more likely your are going to find yourself on the wrong end of a confetti cannon.
I can only imagine that the judgement will be harsher this year than any other year. The collective is cranky about their own hair woes and the distrust of those with impressive hair or other adornments is likely to be even more strong this finale.
Season 1: Kelly vs Justin – Kelly has wonderful hair, but it could not pull focus like Justin’s spectacular mane of hair. His hair was such a subject of discussion, it practically got its own voting number. Just Sing!
Season 2: Ruben vs Clay – Clay arrived at the auditions fresh-faced and unfortunate looking. He evolved by the finale looking like he was Ryan’s Eve – right down to the flat-ironed hair. Ruben barely changed his shirt and was safe from hair manipulation by being bald. Just Sing!
Season 3: Fantasia vs Diana – Fantasia had her stylish practical bob, but former-beauty pageant Diana was forever changing up her hair and fashion – Just Sing!
Season 4: Carrie vs Bo – Like Kelly, Carrie was upstaged on the hair front by Bo. Commentators lost their collective minds about his long hair – it was like they had never seen long hair on a man before – Just Sing!
Season 5: Taylor vs Katharine – Taylor’s prematurely grey hair became his signature feature, but he started too early. The grey hair had become old hat by the time the finale occurred. Katharine’s hair had taken centre stage by that point as her hair extensions were discussed. Anti-bonus, she wore a stunning series of designer gowns – Just Sing!
Season 6: Jordan vs Blake – While Jordan also wore some jaw dropping gowns and the stylists had fun with her hair, she was no match for Blake. He even upstaged himself by dying his hair black one night. While some in the audience thrilled, the majority couldn’t ignore his styling to notice he really could sing and created interesting arrangements – Just Sing!
Season 7: Cook vs Archuleta – Cook pulled a reversal on this rule. He showed up with his drug-store-discount-bin-box-Heat-Miser-red-dyed hair and some unnecessary scarves. The majority of the audience dismissed him, but his voice and arrangements got him enough votes to survive (in those days, there were rounds and rounds where having even a small loyal bunch of fans would help you to live for another round). As he went on, he peeled off the mask and the rest of the audience could see he could Just Sing. Archie changed little from his boy-next-door image, but was made to look like the popinjay of the duo by Cook’s devolution. – Just Sing!
Season 8: Kris vs Adam – Kris followed the same style philosophy as Archie – just look like a hot guy at the mall – while Adam followed a formula more like Blake. Adam uses style to frame a performance. Adam even made the tragic mistake of revealing that his personal colourist was helping keep his naturally red hair at bay – Just Sing!
Season 9: Lee vs Crystal – Simon liked to plead with people to save Lee from his life of selling paint and Lee sold the look. Lee did try some styling with his own take on a goatee, but it was so tragic, that the audience forgave him. Meanwhile, Crystal had an impressive set of dreads – Just Sing!
Season 10: Scotty vs Lauren – For some reason, Scotty and his friends thought kiwi-fruit hair was a style that looked good on him. It did not. The stylists gently coaxed Scotty into having hair like a normal person. Like Cook, he devolved from distracting style to department store flyer model style. Meanwhile. Lauren was wearing gowns and dying her hair two colours at once. Nobody sent her the memo. Just Sing!
Season 11: Phil vs Jessica – While Kris, Cook and Scotty might dress up enough to appear in a catalogue, Phil said no to that. He was determined to look like he was on his way to weed your garden in his grey t-shirt and jeans each week. Clearly, here was a guy that was all about singing while Jezebel….er…Jessica tried distracting us with her gowns Just Sing!
Season 12: Candace vs Kree – Kree was the female version of Kris while Candace took the style chances. Everything about Season 12 was messed up. Oooo…Shiny Things!
Season 13: Caleb vs Jena – If Phillip looked like he was about to do your gardening, Caleb looked like the friend who would tempt him to skip the gardening and hang out in a basement somewhere (probably not his mother’s basement, but surely somebody’s basement who was hoping he would move out soon). Jena made some effort to look like a professional singer which turned out to be a mistake on the Idol stage – Just Sing.
Season 14: Nick and Clark – This race was hard fought. Both men had learned from the past and attempted to stay as generic as possible. Clark stumbled in the home stretch by switching it up a bit. Just Sing!
Season 15: Trent learned nothing from the past. He tried to create a statement with a big, goofy hat and his all-hat-no-horse cowboy clothes. Fortunately for him, LaPorsha learned even less and arrived with hair a strange tint of green and continued to make her hair a major topic of discussion until she lost – Just Sing!
Season 16: Like Adam, Gabby mentioned she had brought in her own colourist, so she got third. Caleb should have had the votes because Maddie experimented, but maybe she hit just the right note of twee with her poofs to look like she was treating style as something ironic. – Let’s call it for: Just Sing!
Season 17: Let’s get rid of Madison right of the bat – Ryan took her out of the competition by discussing hair styles with her and the stylists helped to harpoon her by actually styling her hair with nails. Laine was similarly seduced by the stylists – gone were his gator wrestling boots and in were $4000 pairs of shoes – and Lionel played the part of pointing out each week what a style maven he was. Meanwhile, Alejandro slouched in the back in his clean-homeless person garb. How more authentic can you get than that? Truly a serious artist. Not this time. Oooo….Shiny Things!
This year, the competition is fierce. With no Idol stylists to take them shopping or trick them into dying their hair, we have a lot of people who look just like us sitting on our couches. Just Sam eliminated herself with neck tattoos – sorry, they demonstrate you have actually thought about your image. No thinking! Dillion has long locks and naively fell for the “show us your shirt collection” trick. Sorry Dillion. Stick with the over-washed t-shirt next time. I think Francisco might have a spare one. Arthur Gunn did pretty good for himself, but he did wear a pineapple shirt and he does have curly hair that looks decent. The true competition this year is between Francisco coming in hard with the t-shirts and generic helmet hair and Jonny who actually wore a sweat-shirt at least twice. Jonny isn’t playing when it comes to his hair – he means business. No barber with any pride in their craft will cut your hair to look like that. Has it even been washed since the start of the competition?
Gold – Jonny
Silver – Francisco
Bronze – Arthur
Lee Press-On Nails: Just Sam and Dillion
Accuracy: 16/17 – 94%
F) Learn a New Hobby
Okay, so our hair is so bad, maybe staying inside is a good thing. But we are bored, so let’s learn a new hobby. We can start playing an instrument and that will help with the social distancing – people will run at least six feet away from us when we pull out our ukulele and ask them to sing along to “Tiny Bubbles”. “Mary had a Little Lamb” (or a not very close approximation) on a recorder will have people crossing the street if not fleeing the neighbourhood. Soon, we know why we don’t play an instrument and will have a renewed appreciation for those that can play an instrument.
Instruments were allowed starting in Season 7 and since then, it’s been tough to win without one. Instruments are judged to increase the degree of difficulty even when the person may not be playing them at all. Some complain that it makes them less dynamic on stage, but this year, there is no stage. Staying rooted to the spot makes sense while dancing around your living room singing to yourself makes you look like a loon. Four of the remaining five artists play instruments – that’s not a surprise.
Power ups for playing an instrument isbeing white and/or male.
Note: G – Guitar, P – Piano, O-Other, N-None, W = White, AA= African-American, H=Hispanic, A=Asian, G=Guy, F=Female
Season 7: Cook (WGWG) vs Archuletta (HGN) – WGWG Wins
Season 8: Kris (WGWGP) vs Adam (WGN) – WGWGP Wins
Season 9: Lee (WGWG) vs Crystal (WFWG) – WGWG Wins
Season 10: Scotty (WGWG) vs Lauren (WFN) – WGWG Wins
Season 11: Phillip (WGWG) vs Jessica (AFN) – WGWG Wins
Season 12: Candace (AAFN) vs Kree (WFNG) – Inconclusive – No Guitars
Season 13: Caleb (WGN) vs Jena (WFWP) – Mandela Effect – everyone thought Caleb played a guitar in the competition.
Season 14; Nick (WGWG) vs Clark (WGWGO) – WGWG Wins
Season 15: Trent (WGWG) vs LaPorsha (AAFN) – WGWG Wins
Season 16: Caleb (WGWG) vs Gabby (WFWG) vs Maddie (WFWG) – WFWG (no male power up because Maddie was a much better player
Season 17: Laine (A/WGWG) vs (HGWGP) vs Madison (WFWG) – Maybe the voters don’t like the piano – A/WGWG
Arthur Gunn (AGWG)
Dillion James (WGWG)
Francisco Martin (HGWG)
Jonny West (WGWP)
Just Sam (AAFN)
Bronze: Arthur and Francisco
Year’s Supply of Turtle Wax: Just Sam
Accuracy: 8/11 – 73%
G) Stop Telling Me What to Do
Americans are a fractious bunch. They throw tea into the harbour. They spell harbour without the “u”. And they think Vegamite is disgusting (which is actually true). This tendency drove Simon crazy. He presented himself as the expert, he told viewers which contestant was a lounge singer and which was a winner, but voters persisted in not always listening. Simon sometimes wondered aloud why he was doing the job if people weren’t going to take his advice. Sorry, Simon the millions of dollars may be the only compensation you get. The voting tendencies of others are a frequent cause of exasperation worldwide.
Learning that judging critiques were not sufficient to gently guide the Idolverse to vote for the correct contestants, all the departments decided to pitch in. Hairdressing could indicate that a contestant was not to be taking seriously by giving them a crazy hairdo (see Sanjaya’s fauxhawk). The camera crew could make a chosen artist look dynamic by swooping around the stage while finding outrageously bad angles to film the “other”ones. The guy who created the backgrounds would plumb his worst nightmares to find the creepiest images to display behind the “lounge singer” while using the flames of pimpage for the “correct singer”. The light and sound techs could forget how to do their jobs. Sometimes, the producers would go to great lengths working all their connections to clear a song, sometimes they couldn’t clear a song that had been sung 5 times on Idol. Mysterious! Intro packages could be edited to make somebody look vain or rude or to drop a bombshell right before the artist performed (like splicing together comments Bryan May made to make it seem like he was angry somebody re-arranged his song). Singers could be made to sing from the swaybot pit. Doctors were selectively brought on stage to excuse bad performances while others suffered in silence. The arsenal was immense.
Still, voters don’t always listen. Will The Chosen One (TCO) win or will they not? It kind of depends on the prevailing mood of the audience. This year, with so few chances to get to know the singers, TCO could win because people don’t have time to make up their own minds. Or the audience could be so tired of listening to authorities, that this is one area where they feel safe bucking their advice.
Who is TCO is always hotly debated. Is somebody an over-pimped ringer being shoved down our throat or a well-deserving struggling artist who is finally being paid their due respect? Well, that is why we have discussion boards.
Season 1: Justin was everywhere and Tamyra had the entire package, but the voters chose a big-voiced dark horse that suddenly appeared in the semi-finals. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
Season 2: Frenchie was the early choice and her arc was building well when “scandal” took her out of the competition. The producers moved onto Ruben for whom Ryan created a chant and producers allowed to have his own merch. When some nebbish guy became a run-away train with fans who just wouldn’t stop, Nigel started monkeying around with song choices and the judges piled on. There were rumours of phone shenanigans, but TCO wins. Thanks for the Advice!
Season 3: Simon remains in awe of the incredibly talented Fantasia and all things broke her way during that season. It was Diana who was treated with outrage for being 17 and given monitors that didn’t work. Thanks for the Advice!
Season 4: This was another year where the producer’s original favourite left the competition early on due to scandal and they had to quickly pick a new one. Carrie seemed commercially viable and that certainly proved to be true. But, some long-haired hippie threatened to derail things, so let’s pick some themes that are impossible for him to work with and no doctor excuses for him even though he is practically dying backstage (just have the judges complain about his lack of energy). Thanks for the Advice!
Season 5: Taylor was supposed to just be some old-looking dude that created some water-cooler discussion at the start of the season. This was the year of the rocker so that we could get complete our set of musical genre trading cards. When the rocker fell at top 4, they switched to the commercial pop singers. Anybody but the old dude who sang old songs while making strange faces. Back up the bus! Back up the Bus! Stop Telling Me What to Do!
Season 6: The producers were not playing during season 6. They were not having that happen again. When some guy who made percussion noises with his mouth and who not only re-arranged his own songs, he cleared his own songs threatened to upset TCO, they banned re-arranging and gave him a song completely out of his range. Thanks for the Advice!
Season 7: Emboldened by their ability to know how to control the narrative, Season 7 was a greenhouse of plants. So many people were on that season with significant previous experience, but the audience didn’t warm to them. Who they gravitated towards was some bartender with a flair for re-arrangements. What the heck? Well, Idol started selling singles that year and his re-arrangements were flying off the digital shelf at a time when the digital shelf was doing brisk business. He brought in major coin. So, for once, the powers that be were happy to go along for the ride. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
Season 8: The fan-wars of Season 8 rivalled those from season 5. Was Danny or Adam TCO?Well, it certainly wasn’t Kris who appeared out of nowhere in the semi-finals. He was the little engine that could that just kept chugging along week-after-week despite swaybot infestations and being permanently stuck in the death spots. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
9. Season 9: This was an odd season. The producers seemed to want Crystal to win, but Simon wouldn’t shut up about how anybody other than Lee winning would be a tragedy (and how he would be doomed to selling paint for the rest of his life). Since Simon was leaving anyway, he may have been doing that trick evicted renters do where they leave dead fish around the house and turn up the heat. TCO is too difficult to pick from this year.
10 Season 10: Producers were tired of WGWG winning the competition so they edited Scotty to look like an ass during the Hollywood rounds (it came out later how the completely changed the context of scenes). Scotty really had his work cut out for him to win voters over. The producers preferred Lauren and weren’t subtle about it. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
Like this season, my time is short, so we will rush through the rest of this list.
11. Season 11: No more WGWG! Phillip won. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
12. Season 12: NO MORE WGWG! Candice won. Thanks for the Advice!
13. Season 13: Thanks for listening, now vote for Jena. Caleb won. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
14. Season 14: Seriously, we need another female winner with Pop credo Nick won. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
15. Season 15: We started with a female winner, let’s bookend her with another? Please? Trent won. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
16. Season 16: Gabby is so commercial. We want her to win. Or at least a female so we aren’t a repeat of what happened with the old show. Maddie won. Thanks for half listening!
17. Season 17: Alejandro. Alejandro. Vote for Alejandro you stupid people. Laine won. Well, we are going to pretend Alejandro won anyway. Stop Telling Me What to Do!
TCO: 5.5 wins – Underdog: 10.5 wins.
Sam. Just Sam. Vote for Sam! Sorry, I don’t think the audience will listen this year. Dillion has the least pimpage of the remaining contestants, but he’s not had enough time to build up the anti-establishment vote. That’s probably gone to Jonny who has been subtly edited to be his girlfriend’s puppet. Idol would be okay with an Arthur win, so Francisco takes the Silver.
G) Unprecedented Facts
We have to take a few moments to discuss the Legend of Kristy Lee Cook. She appeared in Season 7, had previous musical experience and got the doctor’s note for being sick. She was the total package, but something didn’t click and she went out early. She would be a footnote in Idol history had researchers not noticed some strange symptoms.
First, she had the same last name as the guy who one that season. Huh. Then, the next season a guy came out of nowhere to win who just so happened to share the first 4 letters of her name. Kris Cook. Truth is stranger than fiction! Then Lee won. Kris Lee Cook. What is going on? Then Scott McCreery called himself Scott-ty. Kristy Lee Cook! What strange magic is this? Is it now dead and buried or have researchers just not found the new links. The mystery endures.
So, who will win this year? Let’s first run through the stats from previous years these prediction tools have been used:
Season 10: Scotty (4), Lauren (2), Neither (1) – Scotty won
Season 11: Phil (7), Jessica (0), Neither (0) – Phillip won
Season 12: Kree (4), Candice (1), Neither (3) – Candice won – Season 12 – wrong again
Season 13: Caleb (6), Jena (3), Neither (1) – Caleb won
Season 14: Nick (5) Clark (1) Neither (1) – Nick won
Season 15: Trent (6) LaPorsha (0), Neither (3) – Trent won
Season 16: Maddie (9), Caleb (7), Gabby (5) – Maddie won (and Caleb was second)
Season 17: Laine (9), Alejandro (6), Madison (4) – Line won (and Alejandro was second)
Accuracy: 7/8 = 88%
Three points for a gold, two for Silver, one for bronze:
Arthur Gunn: Gold (2); Silver (1); Bronze (3) = 11
Dillion James: Gold (3); Silver (1); Bronze () = 10
Francisco Martin: Gold (1); Silver (2); Bronze (2) = 9
Jonny West: Gold (4); Silver (2); Bronze (1) = 17
Just Sam: Gold (1); Silver (); Bronze () = 3
Jonny seems destined to be the runaway winner with Arthur in a close race for runner-up. But…this is not an exact science. Perhaps playing the piano is not as valuable as the guitar. People may be tired of sweatshirts and admire somebody who dresses up. Maybe this bloodbath of a season guarantees a TCO win. And it is possible that Just Sam’s middle name is nothing but double letters. Let’s just say that you might not want to bet the rent money on Jonny winning.