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US Presidents and American Idols

Even as I write this, cellular traffic is slowing to a crawl all across the country as otherwise normal people throw time and SMS fees into voting for this season’s American Idol winner.

There are quite a few American Idols these days, enough that a few weeks ago someone posed the following question:

When will there be more American Idols than there are US Presidents?

Looking into it, I have the results, and I am happy to say that we are safe for a while.  According to my calculations, the number of American Idols will exceed the number of US Presidents on September 8, 2052, at 9:36 AM.

This is based on simple linear regression, which by my eye seems to fit the data best.  On average, there is a new US President every 1841.21 days, but a new American Idol every 271.6 days.

Naturally, this is due to the fact that American Idol (the show) airs in just one long season each year.

But if you think that the aforementioned number bodes well for our survival as a species and a culture, don’t beathe a sigh of relief just yet. Think about this: even though Amercian Idol is only on once a year (I know, it feels like more), Survivor is on three times a year — spring, summer and fall.

Three times per year.  Three times a year, some unwashed moron gets handed a bag filled with a million dollars just for sitting in the sun and being an idiot for 30 days in a row.  Think about what that means for future generations.  Say what you will about American Idol (see Keith Olbermann if you’re behind on the facts), but at least it’s some form of merit-based rewards program.

I say all that to warn you.  The number of American Survivor winners (I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to refer to them as “winners” — let me start over).  The number of American Survivors will exceed the number of US Presidents on December 1, 2024, at 10:04 AM.

That’s not that far away.  That’s nearly thirty years sooner than the Idol Apocalypse.  *If* things continue on their current trend lines.  I shudder to think what we’d come up with if we counted all the variants in other countries.  All I can say is, at least we’ll have an extra half-hour on that fateful morning to get ourselves mentally prepared.

I hope your family is ready.


PS – I’ve uploaded a spreadsheet with the data and calculations used in this post, in case anyone wants to check for mistakes or try some other type of curve fitting.  Download it here.

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Only a single comment - What to add one below? »

  1. latinamerican idol will soon be airing here in mexico, and that’s in addition to the other singing reality show called “la academia” (or something like that) that’s be roping in followers for the past few years. i think more people here vote for the winners of “bailando por un sueno” and now “cantando por un sueno” (dancing and singing for a dream, respectively, where the winner gets cash and a trip and the honor of being partnered with a famous person and, oh yeah, money to help realize their dream of paying for a brother’s prosthetic leg or dad’s new mechanic shop) than they will the new president in july. at least there’s an element of altruism there. still, i wonder about the future. :)

    Comment by alisa — May 25, 2006 @ 11:58 am

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