American Idol Judges Heat Up Google & Twitter | - ymarketing
American Idol Judges Heat Up Google & Twitter |

Will Ellen or Simon Emerge as the Leader in Web Searches & Tweets

As the new season of American Idol begins this week – and before we get introduced to the new contestants and begin to know their names by sight and voice – the questions we want to know all center around the judges:

  • Simon Cowell – Will he leave after this season? What about that contract?
  • Ellen DeGeneres – Will she bring value to the viewers and How much will her Twitter Army affect this year’s outcome?
  • Paula Abdul – Will America miss her? Did she get a raw deal?
  • Randy Jackson and Kara Dioguardi – How much attention can they attract amongst these dynamic personalities?

American Idol Trend & Research Methodology

Readers that followed this ymarketing Predicting Idol Winners blog series last year are familiar with our approach; we use online research tools that measure the impact and scale of searches, comments and buzz around an individual (or a brand) and assess their relative popularity online. While some of our much larger competitors used only search engine data to compile their predictions last season – and got it all WRONG, picking Adam Lambert as the winner – we focused instead on a much broader picture of online interest, factoring in data from Digg, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, blogs and other social media…. and arrived at the documented CORRECT prediction that Kris Allen would win Idol.

Who’s the Judge On Fire?

As USA Today’s recent article and Idol Chatter Blog noted, the buzz this season is “all about the judges as Ellen arrives” and “Simon Cowell’s exit.” You might think that Simon Cowell would lead all judges in terms of popularity and buzz – especially with all the contract talk of late – but by Google and Twitter standards it’s all Ellen. Worldwide interest in Ellen appears to have its epicenter in Canada, followed by the US, Singapore, Australia and South Africa.

Google Insights - Idol Judges -

The Most Tweets?

Ellen DeGeneres is by far and away the leader on Twitter as well. Hmmm, with three Twitter accounts of her own including @TheEllenShow (4 million followers), @Ellen_DeGeneres (85K) and this fan site @EllenFans (34K), I guess this Twitter thing actually works, huh? Simon, in contrast, appears to have just 21K followers @Scowell1 and four tweets to his name (lame, come on Simon!).

Tweet Volume idol judgesTwitter volume with the first names of the judges

Tweet Volume idol judges full names Twitter volume with the full names of the judges


Digg – with a large following of over 40MM unique visitors – is another quality measure of online popularity. And the Idol Heatmap for Digg clearly shows Simon out front, followed by Ellen and Paula, with Randy and Kara bringing up the rear. 

Digg - Idol Judges Heatmap by ymarketing

Paula Interest Still High

Paula Abdul pulls in the 3rd place rank overall in interest in search and social media with relatively strong showings in both Twitter and Digg, while Randy and Kara are nearly non-existent.

Idol Interest

So what do you think? Will Simon and Ellen continue to dominate headlines throughout the year or will the contestant chatter takeover in coming weeks? Did anyone emerge in the debut show you think can draw significant interest?

If you are keeping score at home, for now it’s:

  • Simon Cowell – Digg #1
  • Ellen DeGeneres – Google #1, Twitter #1
  • Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson & Kara Dioguardi – So far in a clear trailing position