Bit Rate

TiVo Predicts This Week's 'American Idol' Loser

4/10/2008 6:57 AM

Which American Idol hopeful is going home tonight? 

TiVo sez it’s Syesha Mercado, the Whitney-esque singer who has been in the dreaded "bottom three" several times and delivered a widely panned performance this week.

For the past four weeks, the company has analyzed data aggregated from a sample of 20,000 TiVo households. Each week, the Idol contestant that TiVo users watched the least was the one who got the boot (i.e., they either fast-forwarded through the eventual loser’s performance, or rewatched others’ more).

Syesha MercadoHence, Mercado’s rendition of the allegedly inspirational Fantasia Barrino song "I Believe" was the least-watched of the remaining eight performers this week.

Meanwhile, vapid moppet David Archuleta had the highest viewing numbers for his performance, according to TiVo, having wisely chosen the Robbie Williams hit "Angels."

Now, what’s the deal with TiVo handicapping this bit of pop-culturalia?

One of TiVo’s aims is to demonstrate the precision of its "second-by-second" DVR tracking service, which it sells to programmers, broadcasters, ad agencies and others. TiVo is looking to stay in front of the likes of Nielsen, which is trying to close the gap on the DVR ratings front.

Of course, there’s a chance TiVo could suffer an embarrassing "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment if Mercado is spared (or, to conjure a missed call of more recent vintage, "Florida goes for Gore / no Bush / no it’s too close to call"). 

We’ll find out in a few hours whether the TiVo DVR measurement was right. It wouldn’t crush me if the cloying Archuleta got the walking papers tonight but, alas, signs indicate otherwise.