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Can Social Media Predict The Winner Of “The Voice”?

Posted on Nov 12, 2013 9:11:00 AM by James McMinn JR

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The search to find the next big superstar vocalist has brought many a television network riches and renewed vigor over the last decade, and NBC’s “The Voice” is certainly no exception to the rule. As The New York Times reports, NBC’s musical talent show regularly pulls in 12 million viewers, a no doubt refreshing number for a network that has seen less than stellar ratings overall.

What is it that pulls people into “The Voice”? The 2013 Emmy winner for reality competition programming consistently rates #1 with American audiences aged 18 to 49. For some, the talent is the only reason to watch the show. Many of the vocalists that grace the stage are unlike those found anywhere else. Others tune in every week to see their favorite celebrities, whether it’s Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, or Blake Shelton, coach the newfound talent. For most, however, it’s the drama of seeing who will win and who will be headed home each week after a disappointing performance.

How Are the Winners Chosen?

Now that we’ve entered the final live performance phase, each week, fans vote for their favorite “The Voice” contestants in four different ways: via telephone, text message, online vote, or iTunes store purchase. The totals are tabulated, and those with the highest scores are sent through to the next round. Likewise, those with the lowest scores are asked to leave the show. It’s a simple enough formula.

As the talent pool gets smaller and smaller, the anticipation builds. Fans of the show take to Twitter and Facebook, rallying for their favorite artists. Friends hotly debate the results and the future of the contestants among themselves. Every viewer has an opinion about exactly who should win and who will win, but is there anyway to accurately predict the outcome for “The Voice” fan favorites?

The S.M.A.P. System

The S.M.A.P., Social Media Average Points, system uses the sum of contestants’ Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and the number of reviews per popular contest single released on iTunes, dividing this number by three to get a S.M.A.P. score. This score, the system’s developers say, can help fans of “The Voice” to accurately predict whether or not their favorites will win out in the increasingly fierce singing competition.

How Accurate is the System?

So far, the S.M.A.P. system has proved perfectly accurate when used to generate scores for previous seasons’ contestants. Season three’s winner, Cassadee Pope, had a score of 315,500, beating out her closest competition by nearly 135,000 points. Likewise, Danielle Bradberry beat out her closest competition, Michelle Chamuel, by 117,000 points to clench the season four title. Past results notwithstanding, can the system correctly predict who will win season five of “The Voice”?

What Do the Numbers Say?

According to the S.M.A.P. system, this year’s winner of “The Voice” will be none other than Caroline Pennell, with fellow powerhouses Matthew Schuler and Jacquie Lee trailing behind ever so slightly in their scores.

Caroline Pennell

The Voice Contestant - Caroline Pennell

After coach CeeLo Green heard New Jersey local Caroline Pennell’s rendition of Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen,” he knew he had to have her on his team. With her earthy, jazzy versions of Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me” and Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am,” Pennell has stolen America’s hearts, as well as Green’s. She’s the S.M.A.P. system’s favored winner, with 8,355 points.


Matthew Schuler

The Voice Contestant - Matthew Schuler

When Matthew Schuler began serenading the crowd with Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup,” not a single judge could keep themselves from hitting that button and spinning around to see exactly who was making such beautiful music. Unfortunately for the 20-year-ld Pennsylvanian heartthrob, who’s coached by pop star Christina Aguilera, his 7,410 S.M.A.P. score just doesn’t make the cut.


Jacquie Lee

The Voice Contestant - Jacquie LeeThis 16-year-old, also a member of Team XTina, hails from Colts Neck, New Jersey and brings with her a whole lot of attitude. Lee, who burst onto the scene with Amy Winehouse’s bluesy “Back to Black,” has made huge strides this season in garnering a fan base. If her S.M.A.P. score is to be believed, however, she’ll be in third place with 6,767 points.

Looking Forward

While past results have shown the S.M.A.P. system to be an accurate, reliable way of finding the next crowned winner of “The Voice,” it’s too early to tell whether or not the same will hold true for season five. Will Caroline Pennell be the victor with her 8,355 S.M.A.P. score? Tune in to find out for sure!