Following on from yesterday’s post (“psychic Sally has got a huge pair of crystal balls) about Sally suing the Daily Mail, I was very interested to read the blog of Simon Singh today as he follows up the story.
Quoted from his blog (link) he has been analysing the data from the reviews of her shows from before and after she was caught out using an earpiece, and subsequently stopped using one. Here’s what he found:
With September’s earpiecegate in mind, I went to see Psychic Sally in three shows late last year. Before discussing the content of the shows, I should point out that Psychic Sally was not wearing an earpiece when I saw her. On each occasion her hair was tucked behind her ears. She has admitted to wearing an earpiece in the past (for stage direction only), but even this was not being used when I attended her shows.
I found her performances to be very disappointing. Apart from the ethical issues and some distasteful readings (in my opinion), she had very few direct hits and spent much of the evenings struggling to give convincing readings (in my opinion).
Her national tour has been a major success with 1,000-seat venues sold out night after night (tickets £20- £25), so I wondered why she was so popular in light of the lacklustre performances that I had witnessed.. Perhaps her current popularity was based on previous success. Maybe her performances had been more impressive earlier in the year. How could I find out if the shows that I had seen were a pale shadow of the sort of mediumship Sally had been capable of in the past?
Fortunately, Ticketmaster allows people to post reviews of Sally’s shows (and other shows) on its website. Reviewers can also award up to five stars. So, yesterday morning I looked at all of the reviews for 2011 and worked out the average star rating for each month. Before I reveal the data, I should point out a couple of things.
- This was a rush job, so it does need to be checked. I have tried to be accurate, but there were lots of shows and reviews to wade through.
- There are some gaps in the data. This might be because Sally was on holiday and there were no shows, or because shows not sold via Ticketmaster are not reviewed on its site.
This is what I found:
January 81 reviews 4.5 stars
February 85 4.6
March 130 4.3
April 11 4.2
May 7 4.6
June 29 4.4
July - -
August - -
Sept 12 2.3
October 90 2.5
November 100 2.9
December - -
Technically, I probably should not present this data in a bar chart, but I have already drawn it and this is what the data set looks like. As you can see, fans were much less impressed by her shows at the end of the year. I have shown September as a half-width bar, as all the reviewed shows in September took place in the second half of the month, after the allegations about the earpiece.
So why bother with this exercise? First, those thinking about going to see Sally might be interested to know that she is much less popular than she used to be in terms of her reviews. Second, does it throw any light on Sally’s supposed psychic powers?
There are many reasons why Sally’s performances might have suffered from autumn onwards. For example,
- Sally might have been nervous and anxious after the allegations.
- Critics might have posted fake negative reviews in late 2011 – perhaps encouraged by the publicity.
- Sally’s powers may have genuinely waned and may continue to wane. Maybe she has lost the knack.
Perhaps you can think of other reasons why Sally’s performance suffered from September onwards?
Just a reminder of the video of Sally pulling out her earpieces, even though she previously lied about never using any…