Judging the American Idol Judges: Who Gets It Right?
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that American Idol has cramazing talent in Season 10. And there’s also no denying that the Idol 2.0 judging panel has done super well with the unenviable task of sorting through it all. Not that it hasn’t been hard on them…Seriously, we thought Jennifer Lopez was going to blow a fuse when she had to cut Chris Medina!
But the Idol judges aren’t perfect. While J.Lo, Randy, and Steven have stood up and cheered for most of our faves — like Jacob Lusk and Lauren Alaina — we’ve also noticed that they’ve cut some really good singers in the early stages, which has left us scratching our heads a little. Like, Lauren Turner not getting a wild card spot? What happened there?!
Well, we obsessed and pondered and asked ourselves “what does it all mean?” enough so that finally we decided to just get all scientific up in here and consult an expert. Allison Connell Pensky is a scientist studying Psychology and Statistical Analysis at the University of California, Berkeley, and here’s what she was able to figure out for us:
“Basically, I converted each judge’s comments on each Top 12 Guys and Top 12 Girls performance into a numerical value ranging from 1 (they hated it!) to 10 (they thought it was fabulous!).
Every performer started with a neutral rating of 5. For every positive comment from a judge, for example, J.Lo saying “wow wow wow wow wow,” I added 1 point. For every negative comment ( for example, Randy’s go-to line “It was a little pitchy, Dawg”), I subtracted 1 point.
For each judge, I then performed a statistical test, called a t-test, to compare the judge’s scoring with America’s choices. The judges’ scores for the five chosen guys were compared to the scores for the seven unlucky guys who didn’t make it. The same was done for the ladies.
This let me determine that when it comes to judging the guys, Randy Jackson “gets” America. His overall ratings of the chosen guys was 9.6; his ratings of the unchosen guys was 5.9. But when it comes to the ladies, Jennifer Lopez is the one with her finger on the pulse of the heartland. She rated the chosen ladies at 9.6 overall and the unchosen ladies at 7.3. Steven Tyler, on the other hand, gets it mostly right, but doesn’t quite measure up to J.Lo and The Dawg.
But maybe even more interesting is Steven’s consistency between rating the guys and the girls. As in, 100% consistency. Steven’s ratings for the boys and girls are consistent out to 9 decimal places, which in science terms means “Whoa”! It’s almost like Steven is a robot Fox built in a lab just for judging on Idol.”
So, after Allison explained that to us a couple more times, we asked her what it all means for Idol fans like us. She said, “When you’re listening to your favorite singers and biting your nails over whether or not they’ll be staying, listen to Randy if your fave is a fella and J.Lo if you’re pulling for a lady. As far as Steven Tyler goes, my recommendation is to just enjoy all his Tyler-isms and be entertained, as his judgments apply equally well for both boys and girls.”