Howard Stern made some news this week, saying he wants to "kill" American Idol by "corrupting the entire thing", hoping "to turn the talent competition into a farce and destroy its popularity."
He's backing VoteForTheWorst's campaign to keep Sanjaya Malakar, whom the New York Times called "the off-key, lyric-fumbling, elaborately coiffed teenager who is perhaps the most talked-about “Idol” contestant ever.
This is nothing new...Stern has commented about VoteForTheWorst's weekly picks for the last three years. What's different this year? Instead of just referencing it within Robin Quiver's news segment, Stern's gave the site's owner an on-air inteview. This ramped up VoteForTheWorst's web traffic, got lots of news services and blogosphere attention...and attracted Stern criticism.
In other words, fresh publicity, quickly attaching Stern to the #1 TV show in America.
He has a much smaller audience now on Sirius compared to what he used to have on traditional radio...but he still knows how to place himself at the center of controversy and water cooler buzz. And his fans love him for it.
Does he want to "kill" off American Idol by supporting a part-time website run by a Chicagoland community college teacher? Of course not...it provides easy fodder for him to mess with year after year. And it gives him a chance to rub mainstream media's nose in his crap.
If it's not American Idol, Stern would be attacking some other #1 show.
That's what he has done his entire career. Brilliantly, even if you don't like his methods.
So Stern wants Sanjaya to win. Simon Cowell says he'll quit if Sanjaya wins. According to an online prediction market website, Simon Cowell, American Idol fans and Freemantle/Fox executives won't have to worry about that outcome.
InTrade.com has a freakish habit of (almost) always being right in their predictions. In the last U.S. election, the site successfully predicted the outcome in every state. In the Scooter Libby trial, Intrade successfully predicted the odds of a guilty verdict to be 70% (Libby ended up guilty on four out of five charges -- or 80% of the charges).
InTrade's success reportedly relies on the number of people who use the given "market", however that market is defined. People "buy" and "sell" outcome "shares" online as events happen, tapping into the wisdom of the public.
So who does InTrade predict will win American Idol in 2007? (once on the site, click "entertainment", then "American Idol") As of today (April 1), 83% say a female will be the new Idol, not a guy. 50% say Melinda Doolittle will win the contest, with Jordin, Blake and Lakisha far-behind tied for second-place (14% of "win" votes each).
Only 3% think Sanjaya will win.
Yet, they also don't think Sanjaya will get voted off this week; they think he'll be sticking around a little while longer while Haley will be the one to get booted.
Will InTrade get it right? Maybe, maybe not. Sanjaya backlash could happen...or it might carry him all the way into May sweeps. The odds will change as the show's dynamic changes...and Sanjaya may stick around for more farce value (hey, it is good TV).
Is Howard Stern behind Sanjaya's staying power? Whatever. It's TV. It's American Idol. Howard Stern will still create news ranting against pop culture. Even though he's on satellite radio.
related NYTimes.com article here (log-on may be required) or AOL.com article here
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, April 01, 2007,