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.

Felix Riebl wants to be in your arms

TOURING NOW: Australian musician Felix Riebl is coming to the Northern Rivers in June.

Cat Empire frontman brings out his romantic side in solo show

Council ski jump vote 'small victory' for residents

CONTROVERSIAL: A digital image of the proposed Lake Ainsworth Olympic ski jump facility provided by the NSW Office of Sport.

Councillors vote 8-0 not to support development application

LGBQTI* community takes part in marriage equality action

VOTING FOR CHANGE: Maude Boate will be at the the marriage equality action at Lismore City Hall.

Lismore calls for awareness on marriage equality

Local Partners

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

BEN Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day in a joint announcement.

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Comedy production hits Rochdale stage

Thoroughly relishing their roles as the three crotchety old veterans (performed by Co Gray Wilson, Jason Smith and John Taylor), they provide fascinating individual insights into three proud men who despite their frailties are determined be adventurous and joyful to the end.

Heroes is a comedy play by Gerald Sibleyras.

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!