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“American Idol”: are men favored over women?

By Kim Palacios

hollywoodnews.com: In a post-show interview with top 11 finalist and recent casualty Naima Adedapo, Entertainment Weekly noted an observation: since America began voting for the top 13, all those voted off thus far have been women.

It began with Ashton Jones, continued with Karen Rodriguez, and in last week’s show saw both Adedapo and Thia Megia get cut. When Casey Abrams lacked the votes to keep him in the contest, judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson overruled his departure with a save.

Said Adedapo, “Sometimes I think men come off stronger, they come off harder…there’s something that just doesn’t pull back…especially the guys on this show, the ones I know. With some of the ladies, we’re still bringing it, but…” she trailed off. Yet, the pattern of historical winners doesn’t support the idea that the men have better chances.

The nine previous seasons’ stats show a near-tie with four women (Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks) and five men (Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, David Cook, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze). Perhaps a more relevant pattern based along gender lines is the recency of certain winners. Indeed, the last three winners and most top two finalists (Crystal Bowersox being the exception) have all been men.

“More than half of the people who are voting are probably little teenage girls,” said Adedapo, “…when they get a crush you’re done. But I feel like I was able to influence some of the young teenage ladies, and they embraced me for it.”

Photo by American Idol
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About Kim Palacios

Kim Palacios is a San Francisco Bay Area transplant whose epicurean tendencies are matched only by her wanderlust. While not covering food, wine, and luxury travel for her column on Examiner.com, she guest writes for Travel Writers Exchange and a number of other varied-topic blogs. She is quadrilingual and holds an M.B.A. in Finance (neither of which she uses much these days). While not mourning the death of free markets and grumbling about the tax treatment of Californians, she enjoys film, and all things Twilight.

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  • April 2, 2011 | Permalink |

    Naima wasn’t that good of a singer. Entertaining, yes, but vocally no.

  • April 7, 2011 | Permalink |

    You can’t go back to season 1, 2002 to understand what is happening! That’s where you mistake is. People started to suspect something was wrong about 2008. This is where there was a change in trend. But it’s more than just looking at the winner. People started suspecting something was up when many talented female singers would quickly go home, while laughable, horrible male singers would stay. Usually ones with nice teeth, that were tall and would likely be the target of a little girl crush. Long time avid watchers of idol also noted things like the sudden change where the front rows of the idol stage were overwhelmed with young girls. All that was missing in 2002!

    When you add up all the little hints, it’s obvious that there are many more young teen girls voting than there was 10 years ago. I suspect that due to the rapidly falling prices of cell phones, and a cultural shift where it’s now more the norm for a kid to own a cell phone, it’s altered the voting demographic. Many young girls that are voting today, were nothing more than a gleam in their parents eyes a decade ago. Now they want to vote too. Little boys usually don’t want to vote. So what happens is there is a surplus of votes from young girls. It doesn’t matter than older women or men vote. What matters is that surplus of votes that adds to the final total, pushing the males in the lead by a few percentage points. They almost always beat the women out now.

    This was brought up last year, and people didn’t want to believe it was happening…. But it is. And this year is more evidence to support this NEW trend. Again, I think through cultural changes, word of mouth and popularity of cellphones increasing, this was made possible where it was unthinkable in 2002.

    I already know the winner of Idol 2011. I can tell you it will be Scotty.. Either that or he’s 2nd with James Durbin also in the top 2. How do I know this? From the reasons I explained above. Also because Scotty is the youngest male there. He is a good singer, but that is not why he’s getting the bulk of tween votes. He’s the closest in age, so that is who the young girls will crush on. He is their choice this year. Mark my words, he will win or be runner up. The chances of a girl winning or being in the top two are almost zero. Maybe even the top three.

  • April 8, 2011 | Permalink |

    Interesting! I like your theories!

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