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The American Idol Social Media Power Rankings

Many of us here are at Schwartz Communications and the Schwartz Research Group are huge fans of American Idol. Some of us for the singing, some for the drama and some for the pure joy of social media analysis and water cooler talk.

Every year, as the season unfolds, Ryan Seacrest talks about how many votes are cast…but anyone who has worked in politics or public affairs knows that in order to get out the vote, you need good connections. The two keys to winning American Idol are great performances and a great fan base.

Now that the Top 24 are known and the voting will be open to the American public beginning on Tuesday night, the Schwartz Research Group decided to look at which contestants are already using social media to reach out to their fans, and who has an engaged, grassroots campaign already underway. With the introduction of Facebook voting, social media will be even more important this year.

Like Seacrest likes to say, the results were…surprising.

Top Female:

top female overall w stars.jpg

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Top Male:

top male overall with stars.jpg

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Your Top Three:

Top Facebook






















 Top Twitter

















Twitter is Queen; Facebook is King

While Twitter is a great way to carry on conversations and engage one on one, it is still dwarfed by Facebook when it comes to the most popular way for fans to relate to American Idol contestants.


100% of the contestants had some Facebook presence (even if it was just 43 fans). Much fewer – 66% – had a Twitter presence (and 50% of the Twitter feeds were fan, and not contestant feeds).

If social media determined the Idol champ…today…it would be: Scotty McCreery (but frankly, the Research Group handicappers have him finishing 6th at best). McCreery also happens to be in the lead in VoteForTheWorst Fan voting…

The Bottom Three—When examining the 24, contestants Tatynisa Wilson, Rachel Zevita and Clint Jun Gamboa have the least overall social media fan engagement. With Tatynisa’s relative lack of air time, it will be interesting to see if and how that changes.

There is a definite gap between many of the contestants and it shows that some of them are already quite savvy in how they use social media. It will be interesting to see which gaps close and which expand.

What do you think about the contestants and their social media engagement?

Note: Photos courtesy of Fox. Followers and fan were determined on 2/25. Also, the Schwartz Research group does not believe it is just followers that matter. The intensity of their passion is also something that would need to be tracked over the coming weeks. Those contestants with the largest and most impassioned base are most likely to generate a high number of votes.

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Mark McClennan

Mark McClennan

Senior Vice President at MSLGROUP

For the past 20 years, Mark has led teams working with innovative technology and healthcare clients for MSLGROUP. He is also the national chair-elect for PRSA.

Mark McClennan

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