There are so many ways to quantify which "American Idol" finalists are popping with voters. From the screams and elaborate signs in the IdolDome on Wednesday nights to the number of weird promotional items being offered on eBay and bootleg fan sites that pop up to encourage power-voting, "Idol" popularity is a tricky thing to measure.
One of the best new ways, though, is to track the contestants' Twitter account and see who has the most followers. After stumbling out of the gate with their social-networking efforts last year, amid worries that loose lips might ruin the show's finale, the "Idol" top 11 are back in effect on Twitter and chatting it up with their online fans, The Hollywood Reporter noted.
The move makes sense, since for the first time in the show's history, followers can vote online this year and the contestants can use their tweet smarts to curry more favor.
On the one hand, the list of top personal Twitter pages reflects the pecking order of the singers this season, with bullfrog-voiced country crooner Scotty McCreery topping the tally with 49,173 followers. But when you see that Casey Abrams is #2 on the roster (47,824), even after nearly being eliminated last week, it makes you wonder if Twitter is a good indicator of popularity.
Bottom-three visitor and fellow teen Thia Megia (32,922) is at #6, sneaking ahead of resident rocker James Durbin (32,772), followed by another bottom-three veteran, Stefano Langone (30,340), gospel crooner Jacob Lusk (19,864) and two-time bottom-three dweller Haley Reinhart (19,043).
Not surprisingly, the list is rounded out by eliminated contestants Karen Rodriguez (17,572) and Ashthon Jones (7,978). In a troubling sign, wild-card singer Naima Adedapo, who has hit the bottom three once, is sandwiched in between the two eliminated singers at #12 on the list with 15,538 followers.
McCreery might lead the list, but his tweets are mostly bland platitudes, many of them devoted to announcing when he's hitting the hay, extolling the virtues of Cap'n Crunch, excitement about meeting boxing great Muhammad Ali and playing catch with the show's security guards.
"Not much going on right now. Just got outta rehearsal and now I'm just layin' on the bed looking at the ceiling," he wrote as the first week of live performance shows was getting under way. "Thinking about life."
Abrams, who has teased McCreery about the cowboy's trouble in figuring out Twitter, talked about his trips to the hospital, fielded offers to jam from former finalist Andrew Garcia and entertained album title suggestions for his many Twitter alter egos, including "Lumberjack" and "Paul Bunyan."
McDonald has kept things pretty business-like and focused on show-related details, while high-schooler Alaina is typically active on the service, mostly expressing her love for her fans, a tactic also employed by Toscano. Durbin keeps things focused on professional wrestling and entreaties to bring back real rock, while Megia thanks her "Thianatic" followers and frequent tweeter Langone gets lots of love from past "Idol" contestants (Lee DeWyze, David Archuleta, Michael Sarver) and their followers amid spirited defenses of his mother.
Although the "Idol" kids live in a media bubble, Lusk has lamented the passing of rap luminary Nate Dogg. Reinhart has made her feed a fount of excitable comments to fans and fellow contestants. Adedapo might be the most active tweeter, responding to fan and friend comments throughout the day on an almost minute-by-minute basis, sharing details about her children and keeping in touch with her fan-generated TeamNaima feed.
The Reporter noted that the seven most-followed contestants have all been considered fan favorites at some point this season, with Abrams and Megia the only ones to hit the bottom three. Four of the six least-followed were wild-card picks, with five of them dropping into the bottom three at least once since the semi-finals.
Which "Idol" finalist are you following on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below!
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