The New American Idol Method

Sanjaya has survived again, much to the American Idol producer's glee. If you think Simon represents the show's views, that only talent should thrive, you are sadly mistaken. American Idol wants the best show. In fact I guarantee you the goal is a Sanjaya-Melinda finale, which has everyone up in arms before Melinda finally pulls it out. This is why Idol decided to pull a little trick with public perception on Wednesday night.

You see, American Idol brought only two people up for elimination, Chris and Stephanie. Stephanie was shown the way to that big American Idol stage in the sky. The significant thing about the elimination was that the lowest three weren't represented, only the bottom two. This was a subtle message to America, "Sanjaya is doing well, he's not even in the bottom grouping, let's all get on board the Sanjaya train!" Conspiracy? No. Just smart producing from a show driven by massive ratings. I'm tempted to think Sanjaya was in the bottom three, but not the bottom two, based on this choice, but it's impossible to say with certainty. Idol keeps the vote tally close to the vest in an effort to keep people interested in voting. The scary part is Sanjaya now likely won't sniff the bottom rung for a bit. He's gaining vote momentum as the public becomes fascinated with the story.

Now the story will again be Sanjaya's survival and what it means for the industry and the show as a whole. Next week Simon and all the judges will make disparaging comments about how the truly talented shouldn't be heading home, and American Idol will again have its storyline. The key thing is that there will be a story. The show becomes boring when everyone can sing well. It becomes a battle of "song choice" and that's not nearly as fun as watching Simon have a nervous breakdown while Paula searches for any positive she can mention. Whenever Randy says, "I don't know, man, for me it wasn't great," I think America perks its ears up to hear what Simon has to say after the human speed bump (Paula-nator).

The best part of the equation is that I think this little ploy is going to work. The more press Sanny gets, the more Simon cries and pulls his hair, the more the Sanjaya counter-culture is formed. I didn't believe originally that ideas like had much credence, because out of 30 million votes the math simply doesn't compute, but after you mention them about a dozen times on MSNBC the equation changes.

Looking for some math behind this theory? Check out this site which shows that Sanjaya became a major internet story in early March. The other spikes make sense too. Antonella Barba became a story with some interesting photos becoming well known. Haley Scarnato was noticed as attractive by a large group and now she's started getting searches.

The story has been created; MSNBC's headline this morning was "Sanjaya Survives." Our own headline has said much the same thing at times. Everyone loves this angle. Until the angle gets boring you can expect a lot more of Sanjaya (the sheep) being fed to Simon (the lion).

  Stephanie Voted Off American Idol

------------------------------------------------, I'm all for a good story.