How To Run An American Idol Office Pool

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This page outlines the key ingredients to running a successful American Idol Pool. Of course, we hope that you host your pool on Fun Office Pools.com, but you can run this pool manually with an excel spreadsheet if you want. For general tips on running an Office Pool, see How to Run An Office Pool on this site.

Why do an American Idol Office Pool?

Simply - it makes the most popular Reality TV show that much more interesting to watch. If you care about who gets eliminated each week, it really makes the show exciting. Especially if in the final two contestants you have a lot of points on one person and none on the other! It's a great way to play along, and it makes for great water cooler discussions the next day.

Scoring Points in an American Idol Office Pool

The purpose of the pool is to score the most points. We've found three methods of scoring points that work well:

  • Weekly Elimination
  • Bonus Questions
  • Overall Winner

Note: these guidelines are for a pool that starts when they get down to the final 12 contestants.

Weekly Elimination

The big event in American Idol is who receives the least votes and goes home. Our pools have involved assigning confidence points to the person or persons you think will receive the least number of votes. Each week you have a set number of points to distribute among the remaining contestants. If your contestant finishes last, you get those points. This is the way the pool on Fun Office Pools.com - American Idol Pool is implemented. You have 20 points each week to assign to the singer you think will be last. This gives you some interesting strategic decisions - do you put all 20 on one singer or split your points up?

On the show finale - we double the points to 40 and on this final show, you're predicting who wins - not who loses.

One complication is if they do not eliminate a contestant - they did this for the first time during Season 6. In this case, we recommend not giving any Weekly Elimination points but scoring the Bonus Questions for that week (if applicable - see below).

Bonus Questions

In addition to assigning points to the singers you think will be sent home, each week we like to ask some bonus questions. Typical bonus questions, worth 2-5 points each, are:

  • Who will be the first person to be declared safe ?
  • Name a singer in the bottom three who doesn't go home?
  • Will a boy or a girl go home tonight?

Typically if the answer has a few choices (boy/girl or yes/no), we make it worth 2 points. If there are a lot of possible answers (which singer is declared safe first), we make it worth 5 points.

Bonus questions add a lot of flavor to the pool and give you more opportunities to score points. We think a pool with lots of points are more fun than those where points are scarce.

If you are creating your own bonus questions, the one caution we'll give you is you need to think hard about all the outcomes - sometimes what seem like the obvious choices don't occur because Fox throws you a curveball - so have a method to invalidate a bonus question if an unexpected outcome occurs.

The Final week

American Idol crowns the winner in the final week of the competition, and the weekly picks page switches from picking the Eliminated to picking the Winner for that one and only week. Also, the number of oints you will have available to use will double from 20 points to 40. This provides for a rather dramatic finish to your office pool as many strategies become available to you depending on where you are in your pool and who you have for your Overall Winner.

Overall Winner

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The final method of scoring points is for predicting the Overall Winner of the American Idol. We ask everyone at the begining of the pool to predict which singer will be the overall winner, and if you're right, in Fun Office Pool's American Idol Pool you'll get 40 points. If they finish 2nd or 3rd, you get 20 or 10 points, respectively. You could simplify this and just give 40 points to the winner, but we think it should be worth something to predict a final three singer.

Are the Points Balanced?

When we set up a pool, one of our philosophies is to keep people interested - so we often increase the points on the last show as mentioned above. Additionally, the Overall Winner is worth a lot of points. Our goal is to keep most people in the game up till the last show.

Keeping Really Bad Predictors Interested

One other strategy we use to keep everyone interested is to award a small prize to the person who scores the least number of points. This way, halfway through the season when your overall winner pick is already out and you're too far behind to see a way to win, you can start intentionally picking poorly. It's harder than you think! This only works if your pool has Default Picks for people who don't get their picks in -- otherwise, they would just stop picking to get 0 points each week. It's a good addition to the pool and makes it more fun for everyone, especially those who get off to a poor start.

Conclusion

Hopefully these tips will help you run a successful American Idol Office Pool. The basic principles outlined here are all implemented at Fun Office Pools.com. Set up your pool there - it's free and fun!


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