Chia-Jung Tsay at University College London reported that the winners of musical talent contests are primarily judged by visual cues by both professional musicians, novice musicians, and the public in a first of its kind research effort published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Aug. 19, 2013.
The study involved the responses of 1,164 professional and novice musician’s responses to actual musical competitions similar to American Idol.
The participants viewed each singer’s presentation in video alone, in audio alone, and in video and audio.
The participants were able to pick the top three contestants that actually won the competitions by visual observation alone at levels higher than 50 percent for both professional and novice musicians.
Video and audio increased the selection of winners to higher levels in amateur musicians and lower levels in professional musicians.
Professional and amateur musicians could not reliably select winners based on audio alone.
The performer’s passion, creativity, costumery, and originality were the primary cues to the selection of musical competition winners according to the researcher.
The conclusion is that visual presentation is more important to the automatic judgments of musical performances and that those judgments occur very rapidly.
Based on this analysis, the money that is spent on music videos, costumes, and acting lessons for musicians pays dividends in higher sales.
In her interview on Good Morning America on Aug. 19, 2013, Lady GaGa said” “My kind of music that I make is the kind that you look at,” about her new single “Applause” and her appearance performing that single on MTV’s Video Music Awards.
Apparently reality parrots this research.