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American Idol predictions

March 13, 2012

So, I made a big report on what I think the best investments are for American Idol on Intrade.  Because I have no life.

My personal rankings:
1. Jessica Sanchez
2. Joshua Ledet
3. Deandre Brackensick
4. Colton Dixon
5. Elise Testone
6. Skylar Laine
7. Heejun Han
8. Hollie Cavanagh
9. Jermaine Jones
10. Phillip Phillips
11. Erika Van Pelt
12. Shannon Magrane

My predictions:
1. Jessica Sanchez
2. Colton Dixon
3. Joshua Ledet
4. Phillip Phillips
5. Skylar Laine
6. Heejun Han
7. Deandre Brackensick
8. Hollie Cavanagh
9. Elise Testone
10. Shannon Magrane
11. Jermaine Jones
12. Erika Van Pelt

Intrade Predictions:
1. Jessica Sanchez
2. Phillip Phillips
3. Skylar Laine
4. Hollie Cavanagh
5. Colton Dixon
6. Joshua Ledet
7. DeAndre Brackensick
8. Elise Testone
9. Erika Van Pelt
10. Heejun Han
11. Shannon Magrane
12. Jermaine Jones

Best Investments:

Joshua Ledet – Since Josh was in the bottom 3 last week, his stock price continues to plummet, and by the time the next episode airs there will probably be people willing to sell his shares as low as 4%.  Nobody has bought a single share of Ledet since the last show.  But none of that changes anything.  America almost never gets things completely wrong, at least not with the guys, so Joshua will have to make top 6 at least, especially if the judges have any more saves this year.  No, he doesn’t have the right personality to win the whole thing, and maybe the market will continue to reflect that fact even as he makes it through round after round, but if he makes the top 6 and his shares haven’t budged from 5%, I’ll be shocked.  I think there’s an excellent chance that anyone investing in Joshua will double their money easily as long as they get out at the right time.

Jessica Sanchez – Yes, her shares, at 30%, are incredibly expensive at this stage in the competition, but if you have enough money to invest, this is still one of the safest buys.  Jessica’s fan base is enormous.  Her YouTube videos have more views than those of all of the other contestants COMBINED.  So I don’t think 30% is overstated at all.  It will be the biggest shocker in American Idol history if Jessica is eliminated before round 4, and by that time her shares will get so inflated that anyone who invested early will make a healthy profit.  Or, you can just hold on to the shares all the way into the final round.  Jessica does have the best chance at winning the whole thing–she’s young, she’s likable to everyone, she picks the right songs, she’s not boring.  Her only disadvantage is that she is a girl, and she is not white, but after four years of white guys even American voters ought to be ready for a change.  I don’t see any way she could lose momentum, and her prices will not stop rising.

Heejun Han – All right, so Heejun has no chance whatsoever of winning the whole thing either, and that’s probably why he’s being sold at 2.6% despite not having been in danger of elimination yet.  But I think if VFTW gets behind him mid-season he has an excellent chance of getting much farther into the competition than people expect, and just like with Joshua, it’s eventually going to make people at least a little nervous.  As long as he keeps America laughing, he’s going to stick around a while longer.

Colton Dixon – I’ve placed Colton almost unrealistically high on my prediction list, and it’s perhaps more probable that his position and Phillip’s will be reversed.  But because of Idol’s teenage girl voters, Colton’s smoldering camera looks and emo voice, as well as the fact that he had a very solid performance last week, make me think that he can make it very, very far.  Here’s what I think could happen: Phillip will imperceptibly lose momentum as the competition wears on and he continues to scream his way through every song.  Then Colton and Phillip will evenly split the WGWG vote in the top 4 or 5, and Phillip will lose in a major upset.  I think enough people hate Colton’s image that he is unlikely to win the whole thing, but a lot can happen between now and late season, and at 7.5% or so his shares are ripe for the picking.

Fair Investments:

DeAndre Brackensick – DeAndre is still around 3%, probably because people are still nervous about the fact that he was one of the judges’ saves.  But in his performance last week, he finally got to show off what he’s best at, and I think he garnered enough fans to last him well into mid-season.  A mediocre first performance is not going to affect him if he keeps his momentum going from this week, so he should be one to watch out for in the coming weeks.  Also, DeAndre is a good-looking guy, and you should never underestimate the teen girl vote.

Skylar Laine – Skylar is being sold around 13%, and that’s mostly well-deserved–she’s white, 16, and has a really strong country voice, so it’s a safe bet that she’ll make it into the later stages.  But girls have done unexpectedly poorly on Idol before, and I don’t think she can get enough fans to match Jessica, so once she gets into the top 6 or so it’s anyone’s guess as to how far she’ll make it.  Her price will rise a little by then, but not enough to really justify investing at such a high price so early. 

Phillip Phillips – His shares are around 25%, which is okay.  As a standard WGWG frontrunner, he is more or less guaranteed to make top 4 or 5, and his prices will probably rise a bit by then.  But even though he fits the mold of the last few winners, I don’t think he’ll go on to win the whole thing.  Why?  This may be wishful thinking, but like I said before, America almost never gets it completely wrong.  I’ve never seen anyone that I didn’t like win the competition.  And I do not like Phillip Phillips.  His performance last week was the most famous Stevie Wonder song of the night, which he sang in his WGWG scream with his pimped-out guitar and his pimped out band beside him, in the pimp slot (last to perform).  The whole thing just annoyed the crap out of me.  David Cook was my favorite in Season 7, and I liked Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze, so I take this as a sign that Phillip cannot possibly keep up his momentum forever.  America needs an excuse this year not to vote for a white guy for the fifth time in a row, and Phillip needs to REALLY impress me to not be that excuse.

Jermaine Jones – He has a cool voice, but he is definitely the next guy the voters will kick off the show.  That said, his shares are at 0.8%, so you don’t exactly have a lot to lose by investing in him.

Bad Investments:

Elise Testone – I like Elise a lot, but the fact that she picked Greatest Love of All last week (before Jimmy and Mary correctly told her to switch) says a lot about how well she’s likely to do.  The oldest girl who’s won American Idol so far was Carrie Underwood when she was 21.  Elise is 28, and she can’t hit the power notes the way other girls in the competition can.  Her one advantage should have been that she was old enough and mature enough to know what kind of singer she is, and her song pick last week shot that to hell.  It’s reminiscent of when Mr. Carroll, my high school English teacher, in the same prophetic tone he used to predict that Harry was the last Horcrux, proclaimed that Katharine McPhee “does not know who she is.”  Katharine took second place to Taylor Hicks the following week.  If Elise uses her strengths and her uniqueness, she may go a bit further, but she’ll have to change the way she picks her songs to make that happen.

Erika Van Pelt – What is there to say… she’s already been saved by the judges, she was in the bottom three last week, she has a deep voice, she’s 26, she’s slightly chunky.  If she had some way of distinguishing herself from the other female singers in the competition, she might have something to work with, but for now she is everything Americans don’t want in an Idol.  Even at 3% this is a bad buy.

Hollie Cavanagh – American Idol’s girls are commonly eliminated in the first few rounds even when they don’t deserve it.  I think Hollie, currently at 12%, will be the first strong competitor to be eliminated–Skylar and Jessica will have a much more solidified fan base, and faced with the option of kicking her out or kicking out one of the guys, America will turn on her pretty fast.  12% is too high and is unsustainable, and she won’t climb more than a couple of percentage points before she goes.

Shannon Magrane – Again, last week changes nothing.  Shannon proved last week that she is the worst singer still currently in the competition, and she doesn’t have the chops to bounce back from it.  She has no chance of making it more than three rounds further into the competition, even with VFTW’s help, and even with how young and attractive she is.

General Things to Keep in Mind:

–In general, don’t invest in girls unless they’re the frontrunners.  The way the judges have been talking makes it seem like the girls are ahead in general, which is probably why there are several girls with high prices.  But that’s all just lip service.  Girls tend to be eliminated more in the early stages of the competition, and the top 7 on American Idol almost always consists of a majority of guys.  Girls have a distinct disadvantage on American Idol every year, and even the judges are going to have a tough time changing that.

–The judges will have more influence this year.  Allowing the judges to make the final decision on who went home last week sets the tone for the rest of the season.  The producers and judges are probably pissed about Pia last year, and they will do everything in their power to make sure their favorite picks stick around to the end. 

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