It’s Finals Season Once Again — Prediction Time for “The Voice”

I was planning to enjoy a few months as a professional triathlete — well, that’s what my wife calls my vacation from work — but a little issue somewhere in the left glute / piriformis / hamstring has curtailed my running, so I find myself back in the world of social analytics, but totally for fun. And what’s more fun than finals season on “American Idol” and “The Voice”?

I’m often asked about (and asked to speak about) the predictive power of social media analysis, and I always tell people it’s more of an art than a science. Also, the predictive power of social media numbers varies according to what you’re trying to predict. Events that are rooted in popularity, though, correlate pretty well with numbers you see in social media, and that’s especially true where the events have a voting system that isn’t just one person, one vote (like political elections). Hence, televised singing contests where the audience votes.

We’re well into “Idol” right now — we’re down to the Top 3, one of whom gets booted this week, and next week is the finale — so I’ve decided to take a look instead at “The Voice,” which is several weeks away from its finale and still has, as of this writing, 16 contestants. Tonight, four will go home — one from each judge’s team. The way the process is supposed to work, the top two vote getters on each of the four teams advance, and then each judge gets to choose among his/her bottom two for who advances and who goes home. Therefore, audience votes get you in the top two, but then it’s up to the judges — not the best scenario for showcasing predictive power of social media.

Nevertheless, let’s look at the data we have. First, the contestants, their Twitter handles, their current follower count, and their Klout score:

Contestant Twitter handle Followers Klout
Danielle Bradbery @dbradbery 32352 66
Holly Tucker @hollytmusic 10232 65
Justin Rivers @justinrivers 58910 63
Swon Brothers @theswonbrothers 10644 63
Sasha Allen @sashaallenmusic 13735 68
Garrett Gardner @garrettgardner2 16893 63
Kris Thomas @kristhomasmusik 9721 65
Karina Iglesias @karinaiglesias_ 9024 64
Caroline Glaser @carolineglaser 40132 68
Judith Hill @judith_hill 36078 73
Sarah Simmons @sarahsimmusic 20826 66
Amber Carrington @ambercarrington 11274 63
Josiah Hawley @josiahhawley 29100 68
Michelle Chamuel @michellechamuel 14872 66
Vedo @vedothesinger 59217 72
Cathia @cathiasings 10527 66

Certain contestants “punch above their weight” when you compare their Klout score to their follower count; Klout’s metrics are proprietary but place a greater emphasis on engagement (e.g., replies, retweets, etc.) vs. pure potential audience size.

Just as a comparison point, we if we look at the three remaining contestants on “Idol,” we see the following:

Contestant Twitter handle Followers Klout
Angie Miller @angieai12 143664 79
Candice Glover @candiceai12 78983 78
Kree Harrison @kreeai12 74503 74

So even if “The Voice” is beating “Idol” in the ratings, the “Idol” contestants have a greater social media presence by several measures than do the “Voice” contestants. An interesting side note: all “Idol” finalists — including the ones that have long since gone home, have “verified” accounts on Twitter (meaning that Twitter considers them celebrities), whereas none of the “Voice” contestants do. This suggests to me that a deal was brokered between the “Idol” producers and Twitter.

Then we have actual buzz on social media. In my Attensity Media account, I set up a “Voice” topic and also created specific “entities” for all of the contestants that conflated their names, Twitter handles and hashtags so that I could get their counts in one place. I did set this up pretty late on Monday, after the show had aired in prime time, so the “Team Adam” and “Team Usher” contestants (who performed that evening) will have lower numbers than the “Team Blake” and “Team Shakira” contestants, who performed last night. Anyway, here’s what the live dashboard looks like:

The Voice May 6 1:49 PDT

So what do we have? We can compare two sets of numbers: general social media popularity and current week’s “buzz,” keeping in mind the grouping by judge. If we do that, we get:

Team Adam

Caroline Glaser 40132 68 2690
Judith Hill 36078 73 2500
Sarah Simmons 20826 66 1238
Amber Carrington 11274 63 1101

Team Blake

Justin Rivers 58910 63 4671
Danielle Bradbery 32352 66 10598
Swon Brothers 10644 63 4011
Holly Tucker 10232 65 5167

Team Shakira

Garrett Gardner 16893 63 5388
Sasha Allen 13735 68 5515
Kris Thomas 9721 65 4192
Karina Iglesias 9024 64 2439

Team Usher

Vedo 59217 72 1516
Josiah Hawley 29100 68 1784
Michelle Chamuel 14872 66 1728
Cathia 10527 66 1125

Again, the buzz numbers are artificially low for Team Adam and Team Usher contestants since I set up the topic late. There’s also the judges’ discretion in which of the bottom two vote-getters each judge decides to eliminate. That said, we’ll see tonight how predictive the social numbers are. Enjoy the show!

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