TiVo Inc. has announced that since Idol's seventh-season finals began four weeks ago, the company has been using its "second-by-second audience measurement to determine which performers had the highest and lowest viewership."
"It turns out, this information -- especially among viewers who are watching on a timeshifted basis -- is predictive of which contestant will be voted off. Viewers tend to rewind and watch their favorite performances multiple times, while fast-forwarding through the ones they don't like. These viewing preferences correlate with voting patterns (for each week TiVo has measured)," said TiVo in a Thursday statement.
"For the past four weeks running, the person with the lowest viewership as recorded by TiVo subscribers has been voted to go home."
Since TiVo's research has been spot on so far, that doesn't bode well for Mercado -- the 21-year-old Floridian who sang "I Believe" during Tuesday night's performance episode broadcast.
"Two American Idol finalists at opposite ends of the viewership spectrum as evaluated by TiVo: David Archuleta ranked in the highest audience numbers during his performance. Syesha Mercado was the lowest on the totem pole this week, with the fewest viewers sticking around for her performance," said the company in the statement.
TiVo claims it identified Mercado's low viewership "in the early hours of Wednesday," however decided against releasing the information until Thursday morning so it wouldn't "disturb" last night's second annual Idol Gives Back charity event.
TiVo's audience measurement analysis is based on anonymous aggregated data from a sample of approximately 20,000 anonymous households that subscribe to the service.