Who Will Win American Idol 2015?

Who Will Win American Idol 2015?

Introduction

American Idol 2015 has reached the Final 12, which means its time for our annual American Idol Forecast! From now until the final performance, we will be posting here our prediction of who will get voted off. Predictions will usually be posted at 10 AM (Eastern Time) the day the results will be announced.

You can read about our methodology for picking the losers in our previous posts[1][2]. We’ll also keep comparing our forecasts to other methods, like dialidol.com and the Vegas Odds.

This year we will be adding a Monte Carlo simulation when the results are close. Monte Carlo simulates the results 10,000 times and then picks who loses the most frequently. This can help in situations where statistically contestants look to be even.

Final 12

Since this is the first week of the finals, all contestants are equal in our model and we don’t have enough information to create a forecast. Sarina-Joi Crowe was the first finalist to be eliminated.

Final 11

Early in the finals prediction is difficult. The Las Vegas betting odds won’t be released until the Final 10 are announced and DialIdol similarly has no results.

Our model shows that Adanna Duru, Maddie Walker and Tyanna Jones are statistical tied for last place and most likely to be voted off. Tyanna Jones has the lowest score, but the standard error overlaps significantly with the other last place contestants.

In these cases we run a monte carlo simulation to see who will loose most often. The monte carlo simulation gives the nod to Adanna Duru.

Our forecast is that Adanna Duru will be voted off American Idol tonight.

Final 11 (2)

Last week demonstrates just how hard it is to forecast American Idol so early in the competition. Qaasim Middleton was voted off American Idol by the viewers only to be saved by the judges. In our model, Qaasim was comfortably in the middle. So what is happening?

Accurate forecasting requires historical data. What people are talking about on Twitter is compared with the past data to build a statistical model. This statistical model returns the most probably loser. Last week had only a single data point, the voting off of Sarina-Joie Crowe.

Will this week’s forecast be any better? Probably not. Since the judges saved Qaasim, technically no one was voted off last week. This means yet another week with only the one data point. Even the Vegas bookmakers are not releasing their odds as they wait for more data.

For what it’s worth, our model forecasts that this week Jax will be voted off by a large margin. Joey Cook is a wild card this week as there is not enough data to accurately model her.

Final 9

Last week two contestants were voted off — Adanna Duru and Maddie Walker. It is interesting that these were two of the three contestants our model predicted for the Final 11.

Now that the judges save is spent their save, American Idol should resume it’s normal pattern, which will help forecasting. This week’s model has enough data for all contestants. The forecast loser: Tyanna Jones.

Final 8

The past two weeks on American Idol have seen the use of the Fan Save. At the start of the show, the bottom two contestants are announced. Then during the live broadcast, people can Tweet which contestant they want to save. The contestant with the most Tweets is saved and the other eliminated.

This causes the contestant that wins the Fan Save to have more Tweets than they might have otherwise. This can make a contestant look more popular than they are.

To account for this, we have added a small penalty to the contestant winning the fan favorite. Not so much that the model is biased against this contestant. Just enough to counter the increase in mentions from the Fan Save.

With this adjustment, the forecast for tonight is that Rayvon Owen and Quentin Alexander will be the bottom two. And who will be voted off? The model says that this week Rayvon Owen will be going home. Can his fans save her for a third week in a row?

Final 7

Last week Rayvon Owen once again won the fan save despite being in the bottom 2. Our model is consistently showing that Rayvon receives the least amount of votes — it seems that the fan save keeps him alive.

This week Rayvon is once again our pick to be voted off. Rounding out the bottom 3 are Jax and Nick Friandi. Both are are very likely to be going home, although our model gives the statistical edge to Jax being in the bottom 2 and Nick Firandi being safe.

Final 6

Rayvon continues to win the fan save. Once again this week our model forecasts Rayon in the bottom 2, sharing the donors with Tyanna Jones. Rayvon has been gaining a steady following while Tyanna’s supporters have become less vocal. This gives the nod to Tyanna to be voted off this week. And Rayvon may, once again, win the fan save.

Final 5

The fan save is gone! This means the model is back in familiar territory and (hopefully) returns to its former accuracy. This week the model is forecasting Rayvon and Tyanna in the bottom 2, with the nod going to Rayvon.

On an interesting side note, Tyanna was considered a fan favorite going into last weeks competition but is now a long shot. Last week our model saw that Tyanna was losing support.

Final 4

This week both Jax and Rayvon are tied for the bottom. In the model there is no statistical difference between the two contestants. Factoring in that Rayvon has been in the bottom two for almost the entire competition, the nod goes to Rayvon once again.

Final 3

Tonight’s vote will be really close. The three contestants, Jax, Nick Fradiani, and Clark Beckham, are all within the forecast error.  What this means is that the race is too close to call and requires further analysis.

In forecasting models, one uses historical data to predict future results. One variable is how far back in time one looks. I’ve found that the American Idol model works best when looking back one week. That is, the model only uses data from the previous week’s results in the forecast.

It is possible to include the results from previous weeks in the forecast. This doesn’t necessarily make the model more accurate. How the audience feels about the contestants can change fairly rapidly. A popular contestant two weeks ago may have lost favor this week. As I said, I find that the further back in time one looks the less accurate the results can be.

In this case, all we have to try and differentiate between the contestants is changing how far back in time we look. I re-ran the model and calculate the rankings looking back 2, 3, 4, and 5 weeks. I then averaged these values. The result — in looks like Clark Beckham is safe. Between Jax and Nick Fradiani it is still too close to call.

Since I have to make a call, the nod goes to Jax being voted off. Simulations based on the average forecast show Jax would be voted off 9 out of 10 times.

Final 2

This week’s forecast is a late. First, the voting for the American Idol finals didn’t close until after 12pm EDT. There was little sense in making a prediction before the polls had closed. Second, this morning the model was showing Nick Fradiani and Clark Beckham in a dead heat. In this case, more data would be useful. Unfortunately, Nick and Clark are still in a dead heat.

In the case of a dead heat, we start looking at results from further back in time — just as was done in successfully predicting Jax would be eliminated from the Final 3.

Every other forecasting site is saying that Nick Fradiani will be voted off and that Clark Beckham will be crowned the new American Idol. Feeding only the last 2 performances into our model, we also see that Nick will be voted off. However, the model is showing that Nick has been steadily gaining in popularity over time. Including the past 5 performances in the model, Nick’s momentum triumphs and Clark Beckham is eliminated.

Trusting in the model, our call is that Nick Fradiani will be the new American Idol and Clark Beckham will be voted off tonight.

Cumulative Results

Result DateActualXplaneUsDialIdol.comVegas Odds
March 19, 2015 Qaasim MiddletonAdanna DuruNANA
March 25, 2015Adana Duru / Maddie WalkerJaxNANA
April 1, 2015Daniel SeaveyTyanna JonesNANA
April 8, 2015Qaasim MiddletonRayvon OwenNANA
April 15, 2015Joey CookRayvon OwenRayvon OwenRayvon Owen
April 22, 2015Quentin AlexanderTyanna JonesTyanna JonesRayvon Owens
April 29, 2015Tyanna JonesRayvon OwenRayvon OwenRayvon Owen
May 6, 2015Rayvon OwenRayvon OwenRayvon OwenRayvon Owen
May 12, 2015Jax JaxNick FradianiNick Fradiani
May 13, 2015Clark BeckhamClark BeckhamNick FradianiNick Fradiani

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