Entertainment

Study finds bias in Idol judging

Australian Idol 2009 winner Stan Walker.
Australian Idol 2009 winner Stan Walker. Contributed

VIEWERS of television talent contests often believe the best act does not win - and Aussie researchers think they have found some explanations.

A study has found that the later would-be stars perform in a show, the better they are likely to rate.

But performing after a bad act can also rub off on the better performers.

Husband-and-wife team Katie and Lionel Page of the Queensland University of Technology reached their conclusions after watching American Idol and wondering if there were biases in judging.

As it turns out there were, said Dr Katie Page, of the university's faculty of health: "It's not a phenomenon specific to America or Australia. It happens in every country with an Idol series."

Nor is it only the Idols: previous studies have found similar biases in the Eurovision song contest and other sequential judged competitions.

>> More entertainment news

Katie and Lionel Page based their findings on a statistical analysis of 1522 performances over 165 Idol shows in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India and the Netherlands between 2003 and 2007, and Britain's X-Factor.

They found that even after accounting for a contestant's talent, those who performed later in the Idol show had an advantage over other contestants.

Contestants who performed last were significantly more likely to avoid the elimination round than could be expected by chance alone.

"We found that the order contestants performed mattered," Dr Katie Page said. "It's much better to go last.

"The later a contestant performs in a show, the more likely they are to not be in the bottom two in the following round."

The researchers also found that contestants who performed first were more likely to be judged favourably than those who went second or third - which were found to be the worst slots on the programme.

And following a bad act also hammered a contestant's chances.

"Our results indicate that judges tend to assess performances based on similarities with the previous contestant and not differences," said Dr Lionel Page, a postdoctoral fellow of the university's Business School.

"If you perform after a weak contestant there is a bias.

"You are more likely to be evaluated poorly than if you perform after a strong contestant."

Dr Lionel Page said that the effect was especially strong in the earlier rounds because no favourites had emerged.

"As the show progresses, the favourite contestants are likely to be safe regardless of the order they perform in," he said.

"But for lower candidates, performing last can make a big difference."

Topics:  australian idol, talent show


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Programmers' joke is on us

Dr Airdre Grant

Computers - it's a love/hate relationship.

How to manage sustainability

Deborah Benhayon - Open For Business.

What business has to do to maintain sustainable development.

From purr to a roar, Meow Meow is not kitten

ANYTHING IS PAWSIBLE: Acclaimed cabaret star Meow Meow returns to Lismore.

Anything can happen during her local shows this week

Local Partners

PM boasts of our ruthless borders

Borders made easier by a land girt by sea.

Why we're the top spot for mobile tourists

Caravanners and campers spend an average $152 a night in our region.

Our region is the top spot for caravanners and campers in the state.

Programmers' joke is on us

Dr Airdre Grant

Computers - it's a love/hate relationship.

How to manage sustainability

Deborah Benhayon - Open For Business.

What business has to do to maintain sustainable development.

From purr to a roar, Meow Meow is not kitten

ANYTHING IS PAWSIBLE: Acclaimed cabaret star Meow Meow returns to Lismore.

Anything can happen during her local shows this week

Not just any party, it's the Arty Party!

FOR ALL: The event will feature performers, local artists, storytellers, musicians and dancers.

A family-friendly, child-focused arts festival

More Northern River schools needed to be counted in

John Foreman and Jay Laga'aia at a songwriting workshop earlier this year.

Music - Count Us In will be held in November

All she wants is to be chosen

TAKE ME HOME: Daisy from pet shop to pound to your place.

Daisy has gone from puppy farm pet shop dog to the pound.

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.