Sunday, May 14, 2006

Political Commentary on Why Chris Lost

From the New York Post:

The number of votes seems to remain remarkably constant (this year, somewhere north of 40 million) week to week. This indicates the same people continue to vote each week. It also means that the people who voted for the contestant who was kicked off go ahead and just choose somebody new to vote for.

This is a direct parallel to the presidential primary process. In the early primaries, candidates who do poorly usually drop out of the race, leaving those who would have supported them in other states high and dry. Those supporters then have to pick somebody else among the surviving candidates to vote for.

This winnowing process allows the most appealing candidates to pick up steam by adding new voters to their cadre of supporters. And as they do so, the field continues to be winnowed, until finally there are only one or two candidates left standing. The single-issue candidate, the flash-in-the-pan, the guy who has one fantastic debate - they may all have their moments, but in the end, the candidate with the most broad-based appeal will usually win.

And this is what explains Chris Daughtry's stunning loss this week on "American Idol." He has a distinctive voice and distinctive appeal. The problem is that he never broadened his base very much. If you liked him from the start, you stayed with him - which is why he remained solidly among the top contenders through most of the show's run.

But if you didn't much like his sound when there were still 9 contestants remaining, you weren't suddenly going to decide you liked his sound when there were only 4 remaining.

Read the whole thing here. Hat tip to Bob.

It makes sense. Chris had his own niche, which wasn't duplicated by anyone else on the show this year, while last year after "rocker" Constantine (he sang Nickelback, hence the quotes) got voted off everyone could have moved their votes to Bo. This year, Chris was the only one of his stripe, and with the exception of Taylor and maybe that blonde ditzy girl, everyone else was your garden-variety aspiring pop prince or princess.

Of course, last year both finalists were more niche contestants: pop-country meets southern rock. It was Nashville Star except people watched.

Well anyway, I've already spent too much time on this blog writing about American Idol. People who didn't like rock didn't vote for Chris when there were 12 and they didn't vote for him when there were 4.

That's why Chris lost.

That's why we're probably going to end up with another pop "star."

That's why I'm going to give up on this crummy TV show.

2 comments:

HarryTick™ said...

My wife and I were talking about all of this. I believe that votes shift around a lot more than can be accounted for by straight mathematical analysis. I don't think it is confined to a niche. I honestly believe that apart from a steady following of fans, the majority of votes are dependent upon America's (at least that part of America that watches and votes) appraisal of an individual's performance.

If you ask my wife, it's a fixed competition. Something that she has always said since season 1, when Tamyra was voted off, effectively eliminating the possibility of a Kelly/Tamyra final, which would've been spectacular! Ultimately, almost without exception, when an American Idol contestant fails to bring the goods, no matter how promising and how well they've done in the past, they get voted off.

Face it. America is fickle.

Jeff said...

But did Chris have the worst performances of the night, though? That's the question to ask if voters are really going off the last performance. Simon does whenever Secrest asks him who's going home. All signs this week pointed more towards Katherine than Chris.

I do agree that America is fickle. I'm just surprised that it could be fickle in this case. And I shouldn't be, because it abandons musicians, actors, clothing, and everything else at the drop of a hat.

And that'll happen with whomever wins Idol, too. Kelly has been the only winner that people have stuck with. (Admittedly, she's a guilty pleasure of mine)