Hady Mirza as Asian Idol? Let’s reveal the inconvenient truth behind the result.

Please pardon me for using that Al Gore-ish title.

Somehow, some of us know exactly how Hady could clinch the title. Even he himself “dropped to his knees and covered his face with his hands for a full minute before being hoisted up by his fellow contestants” as written in the Morning edition of The Straits Times this morning. He was astonished, and so were all of us who watched the show.

Why am I not surprised..

As not to jump to hasty conclusions, I’m not writing on this blog topic because Mike hadn’t won the title. No, of course not. It would still be better off if it is won by Sawant (whose country has 1 billion+ population) than Mirza (whose country has a mere 4 million).

Anyway, let's begin.

First of all, do you know how the votes are tabularised?

Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

As consideration on population size among the participating countries, tabulation of votes is done through an "Equal and Even Cumulative Method", wherein the total votes of each country are converted into percentages. The winner was determined through 50% viewers' votes and 50% judges' scores.

We all know that the judges don’t really favour Hady Mirza (aside from Ken Lim, of course). The overall judges’ verdicts are more likely to favour between the trios Mike-Mau-Jaclyn who had the best voices amongst the 6. As such, the percentage that Hady had obtained must have been really high with a far gap with the 2nd highest person to have the judges agree with the voting results.

Well yes, if we look again, Hady’s victory might have been attributed to all the combination of these three factors below:

  1. He was the most handsome Idol, thus more likely to garner smses from female voters, as the MCs had said.
  2. Singaporeans are relatively richer than the rest of the contestants' countries.
  3. Hady is seen as a “harmless opponent” by the voters from non-Singaporean countries, thus he is likely to gain a whole load of “unintentional” votes by those who knew how the voting percentage worked.

Another thing, the highest vote from each countries would no doubt go to their respective countries, which is why logically the vote result that is taken into consideration is the 2nd highest.

Some of you may not understand the point no.3 above, so let me elaborate on it.

Every single one of us who watched the show on Saturday indeed brought our own nationalistic biases as to reserve the first place to our own country’s representative, and then choose the second place for the one we think the best amongst the remaining five contestants.

Unfortunately, as time progressed, a lot of us found out that the 2nd place might be better off reserved for the one we thought had gained the least votes –which is to say— Hady Mirza. I dare wager that at one point after the Asian Idol Saturday show, Hady’s percentage had reached the lowest point only to climb up the ladder gradually as people realised this strategy.

The Indian and Malaysian biggest concern is of course Mike and Mau, who have a large SMS-freak stronghold backing them. Voting for Phuong would only lessen Jaclyn and Sawant’s chance anyway; hence the last option for the 2nd country goes to Hady.

The Vietnamese people had a cause to worry that Mike or Sawant had a large chance to win, hailing from two of the most populated countries in the world. Voting the 2nd place for Mau Marcelo is quite risky too (since her country has an SMS-freak population of 80 million), hence the 2nd choice falls to Hady Mirza.

The strongholds that seem to relax most were indeed the Filipino and Indonesian sides, since they knew very well how SMS-freak their populace are. However, they also knew that the Hady might have gained the least votes since he has a non-SMS-freak population of 4 million backing him anyway, hence the 2nd choice would mostly go to Hady Mirza as a safety precaution.

The Singaporean side would of course, choose Hady Mirza.

That’s how I took that conclusion above.

As a sidetrack, let me share what I found in Kaskus:

Asian Idol Official Result

1.Hady Mirza (Singapore) 28%
2.Jaclyn Victor (Malaysia) 27%
3.Abhijeet Sawant(India) 15%
4.Mau Marcelo (Philippine) 12%
5.Phương Vy (Vietnam) 11%
6.Mike Mohede (Indonesia) 7%

I hereby request you people NOT to believe so-called "Official Results" such as the one above
, as it is already the policy of the Fremantle Media not to announce the percentages of the result. Therefore, the above "Official Result" is a complete farce.

As for sms cost comparison between each countries, you may have a look at this data below (from Asian Idol website):

India : 3 Rupees
Indonesia : 2000 Rupiah
Malaysia : 0.50 Ringgit
Philippines : 2.50 Peso for GLOBE and SMART 2 Peso for SUN Cellular
Singapore : $0.60
Vietnam : 3000 Dong

Just convert the currencies yourself by using Google.

What seems weird to me is the uncanny fact that even if each and every Singapore citizens vote ten times for Hady Mirza, it would be counted as 40 million votes. While on the other hand, if s mere 5% of the Indian population voted once for Abhijeet Sawant, it would be counted as 50 million votes, which is still a lot bunch more than the Singaporean votes.

I must confess I voted the 2nd place once for Mau, Phuong, and Hady each, as to make it even among the non-Indonesian contestants.

No wonder Ken Lim became cryptic when asked by the MCs regarding who would win the show by simply saying “Asia will win”, eh?

Anyway, congratulations to Hady Mirza! I wonder if Taufik Batisah would envy you now…

Imperfect One  – (16 December 2007 at 21:43)  

dude.. not all singaporeans are "rich" or well to do.. big misconeption.. and well Asian Idol voting sms cost $0.60 .each not $0.20 .

I do agree however on the voting numbers theory. I gave that explanation to my shocked aunt as they announced the winner.. As much as a singaporean heart I have.. I was also expecting Mike to grab it .. or Mau..

厚山 利彦 (Toshihiko Atsuyama)  – (16 December 2007 at 21:52)  

Well they're relatively richer than their neighbouring countries, right? Yes, I know how a lot of Singaporeans are actually expecting contestants of other countries to win...

Anyway, can you shed some light on why Hady was chosen over Taufik? I didn't get to know the whole story... Sawant was chosen despite he's the first Indian Idol, so why didn't Singapore pick its first Idol too?

厚山 利彦 (Toshihiko Atsuyama)  – (16 December 2007 at 21:58)  

anyway, the 0.20 was my mistake. I got the wrong source of information :P

I've corrected it.

faragerl  – (16 December 2007 at 22:05)  

Well.. They choose Hady because at this moment, Taufik is busy promoting his album in Malaysia hence he is not able to commit.

Futhermore, i think they believe that Hady needs the exposure more than Taufik who is like so popular in Singapore and already build his name in Malaysia.

cardova  – (17 December 2007 at 06:41)  

"What seems weird to me is the uncanny fact that even if each and every Singapore citizens vote ten times for Hady Mirza, it would be counted as 40 million votes. While on the other hand, if s mere 5% of the Indian population voted once for Abhijeet Sawant, it would be counted as 50 million votes, which is still a lot bunch more than the Singaporean votes."

The answer to this conundrum is there in the wikipedia article you quoted (sourced from asian idol FAQ page). Because each country's total vote is converted to a percentage, each country has equal weightage no matter the population. Add to this the fact that each person has to make two choices. To use your example, say the 50 million people in India all vote for abijit as 1st choice, and all 40 million votes from singapore has hady as 1st choice. Its still counted as 50% abijit from india, 50% hady from singapore. Even if only one person in Singapore voted, and voted for hady as 1st choice, it'll still be registered as a 50% count. Home votes don't matter. Assuming all fans are loyal n voted for their respective idols in their home countries, the idols are still split 1 in 6.

Its the second vote that truly counts. What this means of course is that hady must have picked up a fair percentage of the 'other' 50% in each country, excluding his own (singapore). Whether he did this because he truly appealed across asia, or because people thought he's a safe bet to ensure their own idols' victory (quite pathetic way to win really), i leave it up to you.

Anonymous –   – (17 December 2007 at 07:53)  

Alright first of all, I doubt that "The winner was determined through 50% viewers' votes and 50% judges' scores" because if that was the case, the organisers would have made it a point to at least inform the viewers. No such information was given except to "Vote for your 2 favourites", so the viewers would be unaware of the judges' hands in this, and organisers wouldn't want to risk a huge-ass scandal that would possibly erupt from this. Besides, with a judge from each country, it will be difficult to choose a majority vote from them without some conflict, which, I am sure the organisers would want to avoid, thus justifying my argument that the outcome was 100% the responsibility of the voting public only.
A few things about your blog entry;

"Singaporeans are relatively richer than the rest of the contestants' countries."

I laughed when I read this. Firstly, most of us Singaporeans are cheapskates. Secondly, I am willing to bet that with a society as fast-paced as ours, a good percentage of our population wouldn't have bothered to stay in-the-know about a show like Asian Idol, let alone be bothered to vote. So our country's GDP has absolutely nothing to do with why Hady won.

"Hady is seen as a “harmless opponent” by the voters from non-Singaporean countries, thus he is likely to gain a whole load of “unintentional” votes by those who knew how the voting percentage worked."

I accept your argument that Hady gained "unintentional" votes and your explanation is the most intelligent one I've read so far compared to the grammatically incorrect ones I find on YouTube. Therefore it is surprising that people like that have logic like yours when it comes to voting. However, if people voted as such, didn't they think that perhaps the tally would eventually increase, thus putting their own choice in jeopardy?

I apologize for that essay. You write (or type) very well. I will make it a point to visit your blog more often.

Dita  – (17 December 2007 at 08:16)  

On retrospect, the best way to strategically vote your countryman is to vote five times for your countryman, each times paired with a different country. And only those five votes are required, a mere 10 ribu rupiah, no need to transfer a whole wad of cash to the coffers of Fremantle and its partners.

Unless the number of votes is calculated against the general population of the country, in which case India and Indonesia are doomed because we need to vote more than the other countries to get a good percentage.

In any case I didn't and wouldn't vote. XD

厚山 利彦 (Toshihiko Atsuyama)  – (17 December 2007 at 09:59)  

@cardova: yes, I just found an explanation like yours just now... It really is the 2nd vote that truly counts. We should make it a point for the next Asian Idol.

@zippy_applelips: Singaporeans are cheapskate? I think that's a bit overgeneralised, though my argument is too, haha.. (I lived in Singapore for 2 yrs, that's how I become knowledgeable enough abt your country). anyway thanks ^^
can i see your blog too?

@dita: yep, your first paragraph quite sums up my whole point. That's how I came to vote 3 smses for 3 different countries: Indo-Phil, Indo-Viet, Indo-Sin. Now that it turns out like this, I kinda regret voting for Singapore though, haha..

alan  – (17 December 2007 at 11:06)  

Seriously, I'm a singaporean and I don't even know there's this Asian Idol contest going on til I read about it in the papers.

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