Jessica Sanchez: Will huge YouTube following make her the next American Idol?

Jessica Sanchez is the "American Idol" contestant with the biggest YouTube and Twitter following – by far. Are these good indicators that Jessica will win "American Idol" Season 11?

(AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)
American Idol contestant Jessica Sanchez performs on the TV singing competition in Los Angeles. Sanchez has more Twitter followers than any other contestant. Does that matter?

On “American Idol,” contestants have always relied on numbers of votes from the public to stay on the show.

And in the past decade of its existence as the No. 1 TV show in America, various methods and websites – with varying degrees of sophistication – have been spawned to try to predict the "American Idol" winner.

Are Twitter and YouTube good prognosticators for "American Idol" winners?

If so, Jessica Sanchez will be crowned the next American Idol on May 24.

Jessica Sanchez, currently a Top 4 finalist on "American Idol," now tops her competitors with the most video views on YouTube – by far – with her solo performance video views from the competition now tallying more than 17 million.  And the 16-year-old has the most fans on Twitter: 296,866 followers.

On YouTube, the other "American Idol" contestants trail far behind on video views. Take the most recent performances, for example. Fellow Top 4 contestant Phillip Phillips  attracted 3,660 YouTube views for his performance of “Volcano” on Wednesday night’s show. Hollie Cavanagh got 3,704 views for her video of the song “Faithfully” from Wednesday night, while Joshua Ledet drew 5,101 for “It's a Man's Man's World.”

By contrast, Jessica has already scored 19,242 views for her performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”

The Chula Vista, Calif.-born singer of Filipino-Mexican descent has seen her other "Idol" performance videos score similarly boffo numbers. Her video of the performance of Joe Cocker's “You Are So Beautiful” totals 21,968 views (so far) and the Luther Vandross “Dance With My Father” has had 1,219,714 watchers.

Her "American Idol" competitors aren’t quite as far behind on Twitter followers. Of the four contestants still on “Idol,” Phillips comes in second for Twitter followers after Jessica with 267,464, while Cavanagh has 95,023, and the "American Idol" judges’ favorite, Ledet, has 89,926.

But if Twitter were a good leading indicator, why is Colton Dixon the contestant with the second-most Twitter followers, after Jessica? Colton Dixon was voted off the show on April 19.

What about some of the other "American Idol" soothsaying sites? 

DialIdol, for example, predicts that Jessica is safe in this round. But Cavanagh, who judges and the Monitor's own "Idol" critic say performed the least best Wednesday night, is ranked in the No. 2 spot by DialIdol. Ledet gets the least amount of points, according to DialIdol.

DialIdol offers free speed-dial software for "Idol" voters. In exchange, it tracks the number of votes and busy signals. It uses the ratio of busy signals to votes, it says, to predict who's going home.

"Historically, Dialidol is quite accurate during the Top 4. However, the service has occasionally shown some blind spots, and this seems to be one of them. The model says Joshua has almost twice the chance of going home as Jessica. That’s nuts. It would be shocking if Hollie was not sent back to Texas/Liverpool ..." says the website Idol Analytics, which is run by a physicist and a English major, analyzes data from a variety of Idol trackers.

But DialIdol has some company in its 1-2 ranking of Jessica and Cavanagh. The website VoteFair, which conducted a poll on voters’ favorite Idol contestant and released the results Thursday morning, says Jessica was the most popular contestant, and Cavanagh is the second most popular. Ledet is third, and Phillips is fourth, according to VoteFair. 

What YouTube, Twitter, DialIdol, and VoteFair all indicate is that Jessica won't be eliminated from "American Idol" Thursday night. Beyond that, there's little agreement.

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