Google Trends Predicts Winner of American Idol

A few months back, we analyzed Google Trends data to see which presidential candidate was most likely to win the election. The Democratic nomination process has drawn out longer than we ever anticipated, but it looks like Obama will come out on top in that one, and he stands a great chance of winning the entire election in November. If so, Google trends called it way back in February.

The presidential election is interesting and all, but it’s about time we look at Google Trends for a much more important issue: Who will win this week’s finale of American Idol?

It is down to the two Davids–David Archuleta and David Cook. I’m pulling for Archuleta, mostly because he’s from my home town, Murray, Utah. However, if the Google Trends data holds up, Cook will end up on top when the dust settles. Keep in mind that this is preliminary data because it could change once they perform the final time this week, but for now it looks like David Cook is most popular, so he should end up with the most votes and be crowned the 2008 American Idol.

Here’s a graph showing the Google Trends search data for the two Davids (the blue line on top is Cook):

"david cook"   
"david archuleta"   

ai_trends.png
Stay tuned to see if Google search data proves to have it’s finger on the pulse of popular culture once again.

UPDATE: American Idol just ended, and Archuleta stepped up and laid down three flawless performances. Will it be enough to overcome the popularity of David Cook? If Archie doesn’t win, it’s a shame because he deserves it after his performance tonight. It will be interesting to see how the vote goes tomorrow and then to check out Google Trends in a few days (there is a few day lag in the data) to see if the results match up with Google searches.

Also, I noticed that they’ve been tracking some interesting search data related to American Idol over on the Yahoo Buzz Index — including a post from a week ago that showed Archuletta with the most searches overall and this one that shows search popularity by state

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5 Comments

  1. Russ Page says

    Simon went on Leno last night and said he thinks it will be Cook. My wife made an interesting comment as well about how Archuleta is more of a Broadway singer and not so much a pop idol. Either way, both will have nice singing careers. But if Archuleta wins, the bets from the Page house are that Cook will still become more famous in the pop/radio scene and follow the Kelly Clarkson road and Archuleta will follow the Clay Aiken road.

  2. Dave Bascom says

    I saw Simon on Leno last night, too. In fact, I think it was around the time I was writing this post ;) I think you’re right about the paths that each David will likely take, regardless of who wins. I’m pulling for Archie because of the hometown connection, but I secretly like Cook better.

  3. Mark says

    After last nights ‘knockout’ performance by Archuleta it will be interesting to see updated Google Trends data.
    I just pulled the info and it still looks the same as the chart above.
    Not sure how often google updates that info.
    I can say this – I just bet ya that Google is wrong based on last night.

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