More than 600 name-loving people tried their hands at divining America's hottest and nottest names for the 2006 Baby Name Pool. The two top scorers turn out to be young women who have yet to name babies themselves. What they have done is kept their ears tuned to the frequencies of pop culture (and their noses buried in baby-name books). Allow me to present America's Top Namies.
Grand Champion: Angela "Aiea" S. of Chicago, Illinois. Angela is a 22-year-old actor and name afficionado who is a regular on baby name websites. Her winning lineup of predictions:
Rising - Addison, Shiloh, Angelina
Falling - Katrina, Ty, Jessica
The strength of Angela's entry is in her falling predictions which blew all competitors away. Incredibly, all three of her choices ranked among the 10 sharpest declines of the year. Angela was the only contestant to tab Ty, in a canny headline-watching move: "I based that on the decline in attention that Extreme Home Makeover has been getting." She also resisted giving in to sentiment: "I definitely didn't pick names based on my personal taste, or else I would've predicted that Zelda and Friedrich were going to rise this year. ;)"
A round of applause for Angela!
The trophy for best rising predictions goes to Melissa C., a 21-year-old student from Oshawa, Ontario. Melissa describes herself in terms plenty of us here can relate to: "I am a baby name addict and have been since I was a little girl." Her winning lineup of Addison, Sawyer and Cash were pop-culture inspired: "Addison came from Grey's Anatomy, Sawyer came from the show Lost, and Cash came from the movie Walk the Line after Johnny Cash."
Lest you think that such Hollywood predictions come easily, keep in mind one name that didn't score high this year. 23 entrants picked Shiloh as a rising name. In fact, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's baby name didn't crack the top 1000. It's a crooked path from fame to names...congratulations to the name detectives who followed the trail.
Just a heads up that the NameVoyager is now up-to-date with the new 2006 name popularity data. You might also notice minor shifts in the 2005 figures since the Social Security Administration updated them to reflect late filings. (My name, Laura, has been downgraded from #145 to #147 for 2005. Isn't it funny how nobody wants their children's names to be high on the charts, but we all feel slighted when our own names sink?)
Introducing the fastest rising and falling baby names of 2006, according to the official Baby Name Wizard ...
The 600+ readers who entered this year's Baby Name Pool made the girl's name Addison their top choice for the fastest rising baby name of 2006. And the actual fastest rising name? Addison! Congratulations, savvy namesters! You saw Addison, jet-propelled by the hit TV show Grey's anatomy, as the fresh headless successor to Madison.
Oh, but by the way...Addison doesn't earn you the most points in the Baby Name Pool.
You see, there's a close #2 on the hot list which is the top new debuting name of the year. And the Pool gives you a 25% bold-prediction bonus for guesses of brand new hits. The top score belongs to: Rihanna, #528 among all girls' names. The name Rihanna was inspired by an attractive young chanteuse whose debut album was a smash on the R&B charts. If that sounds familiar, the exact same description worked for 2005's hottest girl's name, Ciara. A point to ponder for future contest entrants.
#3 on the 2006 hot list is the top new boy's name, Krish. Didn't spot that one coming? You must have missed the movie. Krrish was Bollywood's blockbuster sci-fi adventure of 2006, a sequel to the popular hit Koi... Mil Gaya. The hero Krishna "Krrish" Mehra is a classic superhero, with powers he inherited from his father who got them from an alien.
#4 is a name that I'd picked as a hot newcomer last year, to no avail. Evangeline finally comes through this year, debuting at #597.
#5 is Addisyn, which pretty much says it all.
And now, the fastest fallers. The top four are all lessons in how fickle fame is, especially when it comes to naming babies:
What have you done for me lately? The actress Litzy had a hit telenovela in 2005, nothing of note out in 2006. Ditto for albums from the R&B singer Omarion. Baby namers have short memories.
#4: Ciara (Watch your back, Rihanna!)
The decline of Katrina as a baby name has already made headlines. The Associated Press made this its lead story of the baby name stats, noting "The name's association with the catastrophe has now knocked it out of consideration for most parents." But what the AP article failed to mention was that the name actually soared in 2005 in the immediate wake of the storm. It's that 2005 boost that makes the 2006 decline look especially steep.
And now, on to tallying up contest scores and updating the NameVoyager!