On American Idol
getting to perform last on a live show is known as the Pimp Spot. It's
an appropriate name because the last singer is the one freshest in
voters' minds and, therefore, has the best chance of survival. It's the
position producers might give to a contestant to pump up their support.
Results: Season 12's Top 10 Revealed>>
Once American Idol
reaches the Top 12 (or Top 10, this year), the singer in the Pimp Spot has NEVER been eliminated in a field of eight or more singers. In other words, for the next three weeks, whoever gets to sing last is absolutely going to be safe.
Well, maybe not, because in American Idol
season 12, Vincent Powell made some rather dubious history. For the first time ever with 10 singers performing on a single night, the Pimp Spot failed. Vincent Powell was not among the Top 5 guys and got eliminated, shocking stat nerds like myself who assumed he was going to be safe based solely on his order of performance.
How historic is Powell getting eliminated? Well, with eight or more singers, only five other American Idol contestants have ever been eliminated in the Pimp Spot, though some of those were in very different circumstances.
In season 2, the 32 semifinalists performed in four groups of eight and, for each one, only the top two vote-getters moved on. Those are pretty bad odds and so two of the Pimp Spot singers were sent home (Jennifer Fuentes and George Trice).
In season 3, they used the exact same format and had the same result, with Maria Joy and Tiara Purifoy going home in the Pimp Spot.
Since then, the only other time this has happened was in the season 9 semifinals when Lilly Scott made it to the Top 16 and performed with the Top 8 Girls, but was somehow one of the two singers with the lowest number of votes who got sent home. And if you remember, that was a total shocker
But other than that, every single time America has voted on a group of eight singers or more, the performer in the Pimp Spot has been safe. It doesn't matter if it's one person being eliminated or six, it's always worked.
So you can understand why Vincent Powell getting eliminated was a big deal. Perhaps it's due to the ratings. With an increasingly smaller number of viewers and even more ways to vote (or SuperVote), it might be evening the playing field and making performance order somewhat less important.
Of course, it still doesn't hurt to perform in the second half of a two-hour show. During the Las Vegas rounds this year, 70 percent of the Top 20 performed in the second half of their shows. And 80 percent of the season 12 Top 10 performed in the second half of their respective shows. In fact, with America voting, the first three performers of both genders were eliminated. Maybe that's due to the producers stacking the bad singers early and saving the better ones for later, but it could also be because, by the end of a two-hour show, voters have largely forgotten the early singers. Heck, I still couldn't pick Aubrey Cleland out of a lineup.
Moving forward to the American Idol
Top 10, it's important to remember that, in spite of Vincent Powell's historic elimination, performance order matters and the Pimp Spot is still the best protection against going home. Let's hope the producers use their power of performance order wisely in these next three weeks.
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(Image courtesy of FOX)