Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google Search Used To Predict American Idol's Winner... NOT! (spoiler alert)

This morning, I got shared a link from Mashable about how Google search results tracking can be used to predict this year's winner of American Idol. Since the live show was just a few hours away, I decided to publish this post right after I had confirmed whether the predictions would come true. 

If you still haven't heard and don't want a spoiler, stop reading. But if you're still reading this, then you probably already know that Kris Allen is this year's American Idol. I liked both Adam and Kris Allen, and didn't really care who would win since I knew both of them would go on to have colorful careers later on. Look at how the Davids of last year have teamed up and visited Manila just last week. I'm happy they didn't catch anything here before having to fly back to California to perform in today's finale show. David Cook sang his song, "Permanent", dedicated to his brother who has cancer.

Donning all-white outfits, the Top 13 sang "So What" in the opening, as we all watched in anticipation on who would win today. The four judges were beaming all throughout the show, and it was refreshing to see Simon Cowell don a button-down shirt and coat instead of his usual pullover outfit. Of course, we saw again this year's Golden Idol awardees: Nick Mitchelle (aka Norman Gentle), Katrina Daryl (aka Bikini Girl), and Tatiana Del Toro.

And we also saw the usual duets with Idol contestants pairing up with big stars. Most surprising was Kara DioGuardi appearing with Bikini Girl to sing "Vision of Love" and flashing a bikini at the end of the song for charity. Other notable numbers were Jason Mraz singing "I'm Yours" with Anoop and Alexis; Kris signing "Kiss a Girl" with Keith Urban; The Idol girls singing with Fergie, who next sings with the rest of The Black Eyed Peas to launch their new album; Cyndi Lauper singing "Time after time" with Allison; Lionel Ritchie singing a medley with Danny Gokey; Adam fearlessly rocking the house with Kiss; Carlos Santana with the Idol finalists; and Queen playing "We are the champions" for Adam, Kris, and the rest of the finalists.

Going back to the article from Mashable, worth noting is how many comments the specific article has gained just within a few hours after it's posting. American Idol is truly a global phenomenon. As with the trend this year, being on Twitter was like hearing a blow-by-blow commentary of the show (#AI, #Idol, #AI8, #American Idol). It would have been hard not to know what was happening if you were online. 

But we all know that. Other things worth noting are the emotion-filled reactions contesting the predictions, with offered explanations. Most interesting is the though of whether one has to distinguish between positive searches and negative searches (searches based on negative sentiments) to doe these predictions. Something that's telling from a Twitter post: "ASTROLOGY UPDATE: Kris Allen (Cancer) will win over Adam Lambert (Virgo)." Can astrology still predict better than Google?

It's interesting how Google search (and other types of online search) is being used to predict the near future. Google already has a service called Google Flu Trends to predict the spread of flu disease in the US. But then again, judging with the final results, Google (or the people using it) still has a lot to learn.

Do you think we can use Google to predict who will win in next year's Philippine presidential elections?

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