Friday, April 13, 2012

Ethnic Voting Patterns on American Idol

Something strange happened on American Idol last night.

The best singers ended up in the bottom three. You might question whether Elise Testone is one of the best singers, but surely Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez are.

How did America get it so wrong?

Wasn’t it supposed to be about talent?

If not talent, perhaps America was voting on musical genre. The four top vote-getters were all from the South. They represented country music.

By all appearances, the people who vote the most on American Idol are country music fans, above and beyond all else.

And the bottom three contestants all belonged to ethnic minority groups. I am stretching a bit to say that Elise Testone, of Italian-American heritage belongs to an ethnic minority group, but Joshua does and so does Jessica.

Being a Philippino-American Jessica Sanchez belongs to the smallest ethnic minority.

By all indications Jessica is the best singer on the show this year. Last night she got the fewest votes.

Could it be that ethnicity plays an important role in American Idol voting patterns?

If last night is an indication, the answer is Yes.

American Idol voters are not a statistically representative sample of the citizenry. Many of them are young girls who vote over and over again for the cutest boy.

Still, last night’s results suggest that America is more sharply divided on ethnic lines than one would have wished.

What is the lesson? Politicians who say they want to bring the country together seem to have succeeded in doing just the opposite. They have been exploiting and sharpening ethnic divisions.

It’s not a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Are you serious?
The judges, espcially Jennifer and Steven, make fools of themselves gushing over their favorites. I suspect a great number of voters vote opposite of what the judges want.
The show is, after all, AMERICAN Idol. It's all about finding America's favorite. If the producers don't like the outcome of the vote, change the concept!

Stuart Schneiderman said...

You are saying that the girls who vote the most were so pissed off at the judges that they gave the fewest votes to the best singers.

Randy and Steven and Jennifer want the best singers to stay in the competition because it's good for the ratings. True enough, they do gush, and sometimes the gushing is embarrassing-- Jennifer over Deandre-- but the three of them do know something about music.

And then we can ask whether girls voted for Lee Dewyse and Kris Allen and Taylor Hicks because they thought they were going to become stars?

Van said...

On the other hand, 3 out of 10 American Idol winners have been African American.