The Math Don’t Lie: Why the most Popular Idol isn’t a lock to win the Twitter Save

Rayvon Owen beat the more popular Daniel Seavey for two reasons: 1) a better performance; 2) Twitter followers don't mean much when you do the math.

Rayvon Owen beat the more popular Daniel Seavey for two reasons: 1) a better performance; 2) Twitter followers don’t mean much when you do the math.

So how did Daniel Seavey, with his 47,000 Twitter followers, lose to Rayvon Owen and his meager 19,000?

Math, my friends. Math.

When the Twitter Save was announced, most involved in covering American Idol (IGNORE MY POST ON IT) assumed this meant the younger, more popular performers were going to dominate and this save was added specifically to save someone who’s immensely popular on social media and will keep an audience watching.

Problem is, that’s bad math.

The Twitter Save is a terrific idea in theory but a bad idea in practice because it completely ignores the West Coast. If American Idol producers were smart – something rarely said about them since Simon Cowell’s departure – they’d keep the Twitter Save but eliminate the contestant the following week.

Other than that, it’s a pretty solid method of making sure the best contestants aren’t eliminated because the fans forgot to vote for them.

The last elimination would have been won by Seavey over Rayvon in a landslide because, as any 6-year old can tell you, 43 > 19.

But since everyone’s fans are allowed to vote, it makes it a pretty level field. Just look at the Twitter followings of the remaining contestants (rounded up, as of Friday night):
-Jax, 43,000
-Clark Beckham, 31,000
-Nick Fradiani, 24,000
-Joey Cook, 19,000
-Rayvon Owen, 19,000
-Qaasim Middleton, 12,000
-Tyanna Jones, 12,000
-Quentin Alexander, 11,000

So while it was all well and good Daniel Seavey had 47,000, there are still 152,000 that didn’t belong to him. A decent percentage of them follow multiple accounts, but the point remains – they’re not voting just for the Idol they follow. They’re voting with their brain instead of their heart.

Now how their brain works is a different question. If you’re a loyal fan to, for example, Nick Fradiani, do you vote for Rayvon, who was clearly better, or Seavey, who isn’t as good as Rayvon and Nick would likely beat in a head-to-head competition?

It’s an interesting decision for fans. In reality, you want to make it as easy as possible for your favorite to win, much like any Patriots fan was rooting for the Colts to beat the Broncos in the AFC playoffs last season. It’s admirable to say “the best competitor should get through” but if you’re a diehard fan of Fradiani, do you want him possibly up against someone with a better potential of performing well or a someone who your boy will beat?

A majority of fans aren’t as strategically crazy as say, a dude blogger who cranks beers and comes up with silly blogs, and that’s probably better of the show. Let the lowest two vote-getters sing it off and pick the best performance.

For me, I’m taking the Bottom 2 and tweeting my support for whoever performs best that night. I have no issues with anyone voting because someone’s been better most of the season. I don’t have a problem with someone voting because it will help their favorite. Vote however you like.

But remember – your vote actually counts. It’s not about Contestant A and their X followers; it’s about how that contestant is perceived by the majority of fans, and I think that bodes very well for keeping the elite talent on the show as long as this thing lasts.