American Idol Winner Predicted From Search Patterns

Will Blake Lewis or Jordin Sparks be the next American Idol? A Web traffic analyst group says it knows.
Will Blake Lewis or Jordin Sparks will be the next American Idol? Hitwise, a competitive intelligence company that analyzes Web traffic and trends, thinks it knows. Bill Tancer, general manager for the company's global research, used search patterns to gage which of the two finalists is more popular. He announced his findings Wednesday, the same day a winner is expected to be announced.

According to Tancer, 25-year-old Blake Lewis had a 25% lead over 17-year-old Jordin Sparks, based on search queries for the contestants during the week that ended Saturday. The previous week, searches for Lewis outnumbered those for Sparks by 270%, Tancer said.

More of the searches for Lewis relate to music and song choices compared with Sparks, according to Hitwise. Fans searched for information on Sparks' height, shoe size, and her father, Phillipi Sparks, a former quarterback for the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, Tancer said. Fewer than 1% searched for information about her music, he said.

Fans searched for information about Lewis' sexual orientation more than any other topic, and photo searches came in second, Tancer said. More than 2% of searches for Lewis related to his music and beat box style, according to Hitwise.

All of that information has led Tancer to contradict Yahoo Buzz predictions. The portal's entertainment section said Sparks captured more Yahoo searches, while Lewis captured more on Google. Independent of either search engine, Tancer has placed his bet on Lewis.

"It's a tough call, but I'll put my neck out on this one," Tancer said in a prepared statement.

As of Wednesday, Lewis also led Sparks on American Idol's top video list. A video of Lewis came in third, while a video of Sparks ranked fourth.

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer