Please take back your miserable weather immediately. Thank you.
There's a new topic: https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1087570.html
and a Work Room: https://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1087933.html
and some questions surrounding the regular season debut of the Golden Ticket. So I figured I'd answer them. Honestly I think a lot of the questions were answered by others in the comments, but you know me and how my brain works, so I should answer them myself (and in the process add more questions! :D)
- "golden ticket byes can be used for yourself?? I thought they were only to be gifted..."
There are 6 kinds of byes and I think that's where it gets confusing.
Before Season 3 there were no byes. We'd only eliminate people with a vote of those who missed the deadline! (Until no one was left who was missing the deadline). So I implemented the regular byes in Season 3. Those rules and number have changed from Season to Season. (it used to be that you *had* to declare them, but I loosened things up to give folks the benefit of the doubt and let them be used anyway). For the most part though they are for a set amount of time (in this case, until the Top 50) and are non-transferable. (You can't give them to anyone)
The second kind of bye that came into existence (not long after) was the Executive Bye. That's something only I can give, and only in extreme circumstances. Those "extremes" have, again, softened over the years. But I think like to keep an eye on them.
A few years ago (maybe 3 or 4 although perhaps longer than that, time is wonky) I introduced the "gift byes" as a reward. Those were byes you could only give to someone else.
I made it more of a permanent feature when I created the Patron bye. If you are a Patron (part of the Patreon who give every month) of a certain level, you get a special bye that you can only give to someone else.
Earlier this season, to try to drum up more contestants, I added an Incentive Bye. If you recruited two people, and helped them get to Week 4, you would get an extra bye. I figured it was not only an incentive to get folks to recruit, but to make sure those people didn't just drop out immediately. The response wasn't as great as I'd hoped, but I think we got some really cool new folks from it.
During the last mini season, as a special feature, I created the sixth and thus far last of the kinds of byes. The Golden Ticket bye. Named after the highly sought after item from the Wonka bars, this is the ultimate type of bye. You can use it for yourself, transfer it to someone else, and it's the only kind of bye that you can take with you out of the game (or into Second Chance!) You can use these up until the Top 40. Putting an actual cost to it was something I went back and forth on, but if something like this is going to exist at all, there should definitely be a cost attached to it.
More of a "historical note" than anything else, but the vast majority of Golden Tickets that were purchased were used to help someone else. (It's a sample size of 1 mini season though.)
So the answer to the direct question is "You are probably confusing gift or Patron byes with the Golden Ticket bye". The only real differences between this season and the mini season are (1) You could use a Golden Ticket *much* longer in the mini season. I believe it was until the Top 25 and (2) half the money isn't going into a community chest.
- "but even if you can only give them to someone else, two (or more) people could just buy them and give them to each other."
They could. It's something that I worried about when gift byes started. It didn't end up happening. But never say never. What I've seen over the years is that people have actually become *less* strategic when it comes to Idol. Again, that could change, in which case there is another tool in someone's potential arsenal if they wanted to pick it up and use it. The same with any other special power.
- "then getting two (or more) people to agree to it, that consciences will kick in and maybe one of them will gift one to someone else or decide not to go ahead with it or something"
This isn't a question, but I thought it was a good point. During more strategic seasons over the years, I've definitely seen a lot more "alliances" break apart than stick together to the very end.
- bit making Idol "pay to play" (which too often ends up being "pay to win").
Which is something that I worried about when I set up the first mini season where there almost always (with the exception of last mini season where it was optional) *is* a donation required to play (Which is why I made it so someone else could just donate more to cover those who couldn't. Because I, personally, have been the person who couldn't. If Cynthia wasn't covering the bulk of the bills, I still couldn't.
So it's something that I worry about. But something interesting happened in those early mini seasons - the winners weren't people who donated. Not that anyone but me (and now all of you) knew this. But they didn't. There was a mini season where someone who came up with the idea for the theme. She didn't win. (which is off topic, but I think it's important in the overall "these MIGHT be factors, but it really hasn't worked out that way")
In the last mini season, where the final four actually took home a piece of the overall "pot" - so they actually had a vested interest in the outcome - only half had put in anything.
So it's a threat. It's something I personally worry about - and it's something, time after time, that the game (and the people involved in it) has shown me isn't as big of a thing in practice as it is in theory.
Which brings me to the other non-question:
- "though I think there's a sort of inherent balancing there: if you use too many byes, people aren't going to know what you've been doing, and it's hard to vote for someone in good conscience when you don't recognize what they've put out in a season"
This is especially true when you have things like contestant only votes, or Gatekeepers. But it's also true of regular votes. If you think someone is "coasting", are you really going to let them stay? In Survivor when someone is winning a lot of immunities or finding idols, and they end up vulnerable one week - that's usually when they are being sent home!
There was one point though that I think was missed, and I wanted to make sure was covered - we are currently at 81 contestants. (I scanned the list, so maybe it's off by one or two)
It looks like there are about 19 contestants who have never used a bye. Let's pretend that one of those 19 is a Patron, recruited 2 people who are still in the competition AND purchases 2 Golden Tickets. (Note: this person doesn't exist. No one meets all of those criteria. So this is mostly an exercise I've played out in my own head) So they have already gotten to Week 7 without having to miss a single week - and now they have 5 byes to use (plus 1 to give away)
There are currently 22 contestants without any byes. So assuming that all of them bye out over the next few weeks (hopefully not) that brings us into the 60s. 3 of the 5 of these byes expire between now and the Top 50. So it's possible for someone to bye themselves into the Top 50, in theory.
They will then have the 2 byes to use between then and Top 40.
So, is it, in theory, possible for someone to buy themselves safe passage into the Top 40. Yes. Although as I said, that person doesn't exist in reality.
They then have to get themselves to the finals without any safety nets, like everyone else.
You can look at Second Chance as it's own form of bye. After all, until that starts, they don't need to write anything - and have the chance to fight their way back into the game... and none of them have ever won. We've had a few folks make it from there and end up in the finale. They just have never won.
So, it's possible. But it hasn't happened yet. Maybe this season will be the exception that rewrites the rule book. I'm excited to find out.
In the meantime, I'm hoping that the Golden Ticket will play out the way it played out last time, as a way of getting a couple more entries from folks who were having a rough time, and end up being saved/get another shot by a feel-good gesture from a someone they met on the internet.