Bachelor for Nerds

Welcome back to Bachelor for Nerds! For those of you who are new, this is a blog where I try to analyze The Bachelor using data. And for those of you who are returning, well it wouldn’t be The Bachelor without some nerd’s thoughts written on a blog.

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so I’ll do a quick refresher on what this blog is about as well as introduce some new and improved components to my analysis. In a sentence, I use contestant data based on several factors (i.e. PERSONALITY, WILD CARD, ATTRACTIVENESS) to predict their likelihood of staying on the show. Every contestant has a calculated Bachelor Success Rating (BSR) which is a standardized value that tells you how strong (or weak) they are compared to each other.

Last year, I had an ATTENTION factor that kept track of how many times a contestant spoke to the confession camera. While this was a great way of displaying who the producers wanted to show to the audience, manually keeping track of who spoke and logging that data was chaotic. This year, I am replacing that factor with a new and possibly better one: POPULARITY. This factor extracts the number of times a contestant is mentioned on Twitter during and after the show (from 5:00 PM to midnight PST to account for east coast viewing). This will hopefully be a great indicator of how popular each contestant is while being a lot less work for me.

Another thing to look out for this season is new graphs. I am generating plots programmatically that will be a lot less work for me (again) without sacrificing their readability. I put a lot of time into making these somewhat pretty, and I hope you enjoy them.

Background Analysis

There is a lot of geographic diversity among the contestants this season — including one from Canada and another from Ethiopia. The figure below shows the state representation for the remaining contestants (faded states were represented but have been eliminated).

Note that although Canada and Ethiopia are not included in the graph, they are still currently represented on The Bachelor. Also, I used the default red color at first and it spooked the hell out of me, so I went with a more tasteful purple.

While the state representation is spread out, there is a lot of concentration near Matt’s home state of North Carolina. It will be interesting to see how the map changes throughout the season and if Matt has a clear favoritism for the South Atlantic states.

Another thing to keep in mind during the season is the age distribution. The figure below shows the age distribution of the remaining contestants following Week 1.

The average contestant age is just under 26 years old, and the median contestant age is 25.5 years old. Those who are standard deviations away from the average age are negatively affected in the BSR calculation, but it is weighted such that there isn’t a huge impact on their overall value. We’ll see as the season progresses how this distribution shifts and if Matt shows an age preference.

Show Analysis

First off, I really like Matt. He appears to have a good head on his shoulders and is a very genuine guy. There are a lot of signals that tell me he is really searching for a quality soulmate (more on this later), and I am overall excited to watch this season.

Every season premiere of The Bachelor has the same types of introductions: some contestants are nervous and normal while others are goofy. The normal introductions are more difficult to remember, but those who are remembered usually have a good chance of sticking around. Conversely, it’s easier to remember the goofy introductions, but these contestants are ultimately doomed if they are only remembered for their introduction.

Take Kaili for example. She was the one who asked Matt to help her choose a dress to wear during her introduction. While this was a rather courageous introduction, she was mentioned zero times on Twitter and didn’t have much screen time for the rest of the episode. She will have to prove herself to Matt soon if she wants to remain in the competition with some of the other strong contestants.

Katie is another contestant who had a pretty memorable introduction when she presented Matt with her…personal entertainment device. However, she was mentioned quite a bit on Twitter, and she has shown that there might be more to her. I don’t know what her role on the show will be, but she may have a better chance of sticking around over those who haven’t had as much screen time.

Matt seemed to have quality 1-on-1 time with Bri, Rachael, and Abigail. I predict those three will stay in the competition for a long time, so nothing to worry about with these fan favorites. I will say that Matt giving Abigail the first impression rose was great not only because I really like Abigail, but also for Matt’s reason for giving it to her. He specified that her vulnerability during her introduction regarding her deafness stood out to him. This is why I am a big fan of Matt: he is a man of character who values character.

I don’t anticipate Victoria sticking around much longer. She’s the type of person who you hope is drunk because she is that unpleasant. While she did get the most action on Twitter, there is nothing much else going for her. We shouldn’t be seeing much of the queen this season unless she makes a drastic 180 on her everything.

Looking Ahead

As explained earlier, there are several factors that go into calculating the BSR. Here is an explanation of what each factor represents:

  • AGE: self-explanatory (integer value)
  • PERSONALITY: genuineness and character (integer value from 1–10)
  • WILD CARD: likelihood to create chaos or do something interesting (integer value from 1–10)
  • ATTRACTIVENESS: self-explanatory (numeric value from 1–10, averaged over friend input)
  • POPULARITY: number of Twitter mentions that night (integer value)

Each of these factors are weighted to signify how important that factor would likely be at this time. In other words, these weights change throughout the season as focus shifts. For example, a high WILD CARD value will be helpful early in the season, but it won’t matter much at the end when the show focuses more on Matt’s compatibility with contestants rather than their propensity to cause shenanigans.

After the weights are applied, the factors are combined and standardized to calculate the BSR. Very briefly, a positive BSR is good and a negative BSR is bad. The more positive the BSR, the more likely a contestant will avoid elimination. The more negative the BSR, the more likely a contestant will be eliminated. The table below shows the breakdown for each contestant following Week 1.

It is important to read this table correctly in order to understand exactly what it means. This does not say that Abigail is the favorite to win; this says that Abigail is very likely to stay on the show. Another way of reading this table is that Abigail is a safe bet to stay for about 2 more weeks. This doesn’t mean that she will be eliminated after 2 weeks, but rather that she is basically guaranteed to stay for 2 weeks barring any sudden unfavorable changes. Alternatively, Marylynn is very likely to be eliminated next week unless she becomes more involved in the show and makes some changes for the better.

Notice that most of the PERSONALITY and WILD CARD values are close to 5 and 6. This is because we haven’t seen a lot from the majority of the contestants, so I am hesitant to assign an extreme value when we don’t know them yet. This makes sense when interpreting the BSR. The calculation is designed so that around 68% of the contestants fall between -1.0 and 1.0, so the majority of contestants should be in this range. This is to be expected at this stage in the season when there is little knowledge about contestants without much screen time.

If reading tables of numbers and data isn’t your thing, congrats on being normal. The figure below serves as a visual representation of the above table.

So far, there are some strong (i.e. Abigail, Mari, Rachael and Bri) and weak contestants (i.e. Sydney, Victoria, Lauren, Marylynn), but the majority are in the middle. At this time, most of these zero-BSR contestants are there because we don’t know enough about them. As the season goes on, they may move around as we get to know them, or they may remain bookended by overperforming and underperforming contestants.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Whether you are a nerd yourself who is getting into The Bachelor or you are fan of the show who just wants to read someone else’s opinion, I really do appreciate you taking the time in watching me attempt to extract the signal from the noise. Following a year of so many unprecedenteds, let’s hope for a precedented season of dramatic, emotional, and “here for the right reasons” television.

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Ben Borovinsky

Ben Borovinsky

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