Season seven of American Idol started with lots of buzz and now we are almost ready crown our next Idol. But before we gear up for next week’s finale, let’s see who is buzzing more in the online world. Starting on March 9th, after the selection of the final twelve contestants, we see that a steady growth in search activity for David Cook during the nine week period with two spikes in between. Looking closely at the data for those two weeks, I found that a lot of the search followed his performance of "Billie Jean" on March 25th and "You Will Always be My Baby" on April 15th. On the other hand the search trend is pretty uneven for David Archuleta. The data is consistent with the fact that David C. started as a dark horse but eventually proved himself to be a strong contender, which might have continuously increased interest in him. Whereas, David A. started as the one to beat from early in the season, and continued to maintain his stature with some minor faux pas here and there. This might explain the initial interest in him, which eventually could have declined because of the predictably of his performance onstage, and even the occasional buzz surrounding his father was not enough to stir things up.
Now that we have seen David C. emerging as a favorite among the online community, it would be interesting to see if this is true among all age groups. Since David C is eight years older than David A, does that mean his fans are also adults? The data shows this is indeed the case, where we see David A.’s fans are mostly young, below 24 and David C.’s fans are mostly above 24.
Now, does the recent lead for David C. in online searches imply that he is going to be a sure winner? Not necessarily. A quick look at past years’ search trends will support this view. We see that the search trend for Blake Lewis lies above the trend for Jordin Sparks for almost the entire period with significant increase in later periods, but we all know how it ended. Interestingly, overall the search trends lie much below this year, which is not surprising; given that last season was one of the worst so far.
Conversely, this season both contestants are undoubtedly talented, thus the verdict can go either way. Although personally, neither of were my pick (Michael Johns was my favorite), I feel that David Archuleta is going to win. Having said that, I have no doubt that post-AI, David C will be successful; however, I am not so sure about David A. Even if he wins, since he is just 17, a lot depends on how he evolves as an artist.
But whatever the outcome will be, if our previous seasons have taught us anything, it is that winning the title does not mean much. We all know where season 5 contestant Chris Daughtry is today, but does anyone know where the season 5 Idol is?
PS. Stay tuned for a post-AI blog.