For those who have no interest in American Idol, I'm going to lose you quickly with this one.
For the rest of us who are at least mildly interested, last night's show was a bombshell. How could Constantine Maroulis possibly get less votes than the rest of that bunch of finalists? I thought it was impossible too, until I started to analyze it a bit.
First, we all have to remember that there's nothing really fair about the way this is done. It's a popular vote. And in a popular vote, strange things can happen, depending on a lot of factors. Just ask George W. He's the President, but actually lost the popular vote to the uninteresting Al Gore in 2000. Popular votes have more to do with support factions, demographics, population concentrations and all those things that pollsters analyze.
It seems to me that Constantine was a victim of a split faction and a luke-warm loyalty from his home town. When it came to actual voting, he lost the "rocker" faction to Bo. Everyone else had their loyal constituencies casting millions of votes for their favorite. He didn't have a solid one.
--Carrie gets the country music and "she's hot" votes from conservative, middle America.
--Anthony (I guess) gets the "he's cute" votes from the teen, and pre-teen, girls (a very big faction to have on your side in Idol voting--re: Clay Aiken).
--Bo gets the rocker and southern (he's from Alabama) votes
--Vonzell gets the "she's cute and hot/Florida/and all minority" votes
--Scott gets the..."underdog/trailer-park/Cleveland/ and "I'm voting as a joke" votes
(There was always some strange person nominated for prom king in high school and people would vote for him as a joke...that's Scott) He certainly isn't surviving on performance or personality.
What's somewhat surprizing is that Constantine hails from New York. You would think that would put him in good shape for votes. Except that analysts always say that New York people have little loyalty to their own because there are so many of them...and they come from everywhere. There is no particular identity to a "New Yorker", other than an address. I'm guessing that the 15-million, or so, New Yorkers didn't care much about "their boy".
What's obvious is that very good performers will not necessarily move on because of their ability and performance. American Idol doesn't necessarily pick the best performer, because it's a vote of the people. And people vote based on loyalties and personalities, not talent. At this stage, it becomes a popularity contest. If they were picking the best performer, then professional performers should cast all the votes. But then...that wouldn't make much money for those cell phone companies would it?
"American Idol" seems like the wrong title for the show at this point. That connotes talent as the main factor in winning.