'American Idol,' can Twitter popularity predict the winner?
By By Yvonne Wenger
The Baltimore Sun|
May 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Angie Miller and her steely-eyed focus transmitted into the homes of 10-plus million American Idol viewers won her 50,000 followers in the Twitterverse the week of the show's Top 10 reveal -- nearly 18,000 more social media fans than her next highest competitor.
More than two months later, the 18-year-old Beverly, Mass., native tripled her followers, effectively blowing away the other wannabes on the cyberspace portal. Why then didn't the magic of the 140-character phenomenon carry her into Thursday's finale?
Angie has been a judges' favorite from the start with her superstar piano skill, Hollywood looks and powerhouse vocals, and it seemed like she'd surely be the last Idol standing.
But after last week's surprising elimination, this week's match up (culminating with the season finale at 8 p.m.) will be between Candice Glover, a 23-year-old from a remote seaside community in South Carolina, and the 22-year-old Texan Kree Harrison, who lost both of her parents to accidents.
Candice has topped 93,000 followers (as of Tuesday) and secured the designation of the show's most prolific Twitterer with more than 4,300 pithy dispatches.
She started the show with just 35 percent of the followers Angie had at the time. Kree has rounded up some 86,000 followers, as she steadily ranked near the top among her fellow contestants on Twitter.
But wedged in second placed for nearly the entire season was Lazaro Arbos. He came out the gate with the second largest Twitter following and maintained a dramatic edge over the other eight contestants until he was eliminated in week five and the remaining favorites closed in on his lead over them.
Lazaro, a 21-year-old Ricky Ricardo look alike from South Florida, could no doubt out-sing most Americans, but regular flubs — such as out-of-key performances and forgotten lyrics — left fans of the show to wonder whether it was his raw talent or something else that kept him in the game.
Part of the wonderment surrounding Lazaro was the debilitating stutter that interrupted his speaking voice to the point that communication was difficult. But when he sang, the stutter disappeared. It wasn't the first time that a real world underdog won over American couch surfers.
Remember William Hung and Kevin Covais (who was nicknamed "Chicken Little" in Season 5)?
It was this same real life underdog status that had folks on Twitter suggesting that Angie got the boot because her back story wasn't sad enough.
From @ginomartine, "All you need to win American Idol is a good sob story about your life."
@AngieKFans wrote, "this was rigged. I swear it was. Angie has the biggest fan base out of all of them. She has 150K flipping followers!!!!!!"
Maybe it was a lack of cross over fans from TV to Twitter. Or maybe Angie wasn't as popular as she appeared. Perhaps her Twitter followers grew because her account had early momentum.
Either way, she, Candice, Kree and the judges all looked utterly shocked she didn't make it to the finale.
But what's the Idol crown worth these days compared to the national exposure? Take Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert. They're weren't the ones showered in confetti on the show's stage, but they catapulted into superstardom.