American Idol Existentialism

For you closet viewers of American Idol (the TV Show), I thought you'd be amused by this new TV blog, and it's discussion of some of the latest developments on that show.

If you don't know the show, let me briefly tell you about one aspect, the voting model, which has raised some interesting questions.

Here's how the voting works. Every week a set of contestants perform some song, and at the end "America" gets to vote on which one they liked best. Whoever wins the fewest votes that week is booted off and the following week the remaining contestants do it all over again.

It has happened more than once that a contestant is booted off, who everyone agrees is among the best. And there's an outcry and wringing of hands about this - how could it happen? Is it racism? The votes are stacked! Here's what I think may be an explanation for oddball results on the polls.

When asked to vote for our favorite, my tendency would be NOT to vote for someone that I think is THE BEST, on the theory that they will get lots of votes from others and hence be SAFE anyway.

No, I would vote for the one that I think is at risk of being booted even though I think they are great, the underdog, in other words.

If everyone did that, then it's possible that the one that everyone thought was the BEST would actually get booted! American Idol Existentialism!

Posted on April 15, 2005 and filed under Life.