How the True Stars of 'American Idol' Fare on Twitter -- and Why

Wait, Ryan Seacrest is Bigger Than Steven Tyler on Twitter? Huh?

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Well, that was distracting. Between the royal wedding and Operation Pay Backistan (as Jon Stewart labeled the killing of Osama bin Laden), Twitter has been all, well, atwitter. Of course, the Twittersphere has a vanishingly small attention span, so Kate and Wills and Osama have all disappeared from Twitter's Trending Topics, as Twitterers return their attention to more pressing concerns, such as making date-related puns (see: #maythe4thbewithyou and #starwarsday, both of which are in the top 10 Trending Topics as I write this on Wednesday morning).

Ryan Seacrest's current Twitter profile photo
Ryan Seacrest's current Twitter profile photo

And of course, "American Idol" is back on TV again tonight. Ad Age 's resident "Idol" expert Judann Pollack, in a recent piece titled "Confessions of a TV Tweeter," notes just how addictive the combination of live television and social media can be -- and for America's favorite karaoke competition, the power of "social TV" only intensifies as the show plods toward its finale.

Since I can't really tell you who's who among the remaining finalists -- though I'm pretty sure Alfred E. Neuman and Chelsea Clinton are among the five left -- I'm going to tell you how the show's true stars are doing on Twitter.

The shocking results… after the break.

[Please stare at one of the ads on this webpage for a minute or two.]

We're back! And now… the results -- courtesy of data collected and parsed, as always, by our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm:

Trendrr chart
Recent hourly tweet volume about Jennifer Lopez (orange), Ryan Seacrest (purple), Randy Jackson (green) and Steven Tyler (red)

  • Randy Jackson, I'm sorry to say that you are at the bottom of the bottom four. (Or maybe I should say: Congratulations! You made the Top 4!) Even though you're the longest-serving "Idol" judge, "Randy Jackson" (along with #randyjackson and @yo_randyjackson, your official Twitter handle) has been name-checked in an average of just 400 to 500 tweets a day lately. And your recent one-day peak of 1,903 tweets on April 14 came only because you were a guest on "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest's radio show (to talk about Pia Toscano getting voted off the menu at the Olive Garden… or something).
  • Steven Tyler, I love you, man, but you clearly need to perk up a bit. Although you were the most wildly entertaining judge during the audition episodes at the front end of the current "Idol" season, the online consensus seems to be that you've quickly grown weary of your continuing duties as a, uh, tepid praisologist. You've been averaging 1,000 to 1,500 tweets a day (for "Steven Tyler," #steventyler and your official Twitter handle, @iamstevent, combined), which isn't that terribly impressive given that you've been one of the most iconic names in rock for decades. So snap out of it! Or at least try to show up in more unexpected places -- like when you walked on the stage at the Country Music Awards on April 3, which caused you to surge to a one-day peak of 9,853 mentions on Twitter.
  • Ryan Seacrest, you, sir, are a multimedia and social-media machine. You're the second most buzzed-about non-contestant "Idol" star -- outdoing both Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson in Twitter mentions (combining "Ryan Seacrest," #ryanseacrest and your official Twitter handle, @ryanseacrest). This is thanks, in large part, to your relatively early mastery of Twitter (you first tweeted on September 8, 2008) and your media omnipresence beyond "Idol," via "E! News" on TV and "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and "American Top 40" on syndicated radio. It also helps that you tend to tweet stuff like "which phone butt dials the most? My berry locks pretty quick but when it rings it unlocks and answers when im sitting on it!" (as you did yesterday) -- which is total catnip to retweeting and @-replying Twitterheads.
  • Jennifer Lopez, you are America's Twitter idol! You've lately been averaging about 10,000 mentions on Twitter each day (combining "Jennifer Lopez," #jenniferlopez, "J.Lo," and your official Twitter handle, @jlo). Of course, it doesn't hurt that you've turned "American Idol" into your own fashion runway, People magazine named you "World's Most Beautiful Woman!" (complete with exclamation point) and you just released a new album, "Love?" (complete with question mark).

P.S. Remember Simon? Simon Cowell? Anyone?

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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