GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkMy American Idol Prediction
07:02:53 AM

I don't know who will win. I do know who I want to win: Taylor. I had him pegged as a finalist right from the auditions (and I was never part of Chris's fan club). I tried to cast a vote for Taylor last night. This is the first time I tried to cast a vote this season. I tried all four phone numbers, repeatedly, programmed into the redial of my phone, over a period of about fifteen minutes, and then sporadically for several hours. I did not get through once. This morning, I'm hearning that Katherine's fans had the same problem.

So, here's my prediction: the vote will be close. Fox has rigged the capacity of their phone system so that it is below the volume of expected votes, so the outcome of the vote will be determined not by the number of people who want to vote for each contestant, but by the average length of time that voters for each stay on the line after getting through. With a constant stream of attempted connections coming in, the determining factor will be how quickly voters for each candidate free up the line they are taking up. An average difference of perhaps a tenth of a second in call duration will translate into tens of thousands -- maybe hundreds of thousands -- of extra votes.

Last week's results, with the three contestants' totals separated by less than half a percentage point spread, out of about 50 million votes cast, is consistent with this. The contest is neither a talent contest nor a popularity contest. It's a test of whether you appeal to potential voters who disconnect immediately after confirming that their vote is counted, or to potential voters with slightly slower reflexes.

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