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Artists

If you're looking to dispel some persistent American Idol urban legends, forget about Snopes.com or Mythbusters. This section of the WhatNotToSing.com database is the only place to turn.

Let's start by busting the granddaddy myth of all. "Never sing Whitney Houston", the judges and bloggers bleat repeatedly. Never sing Celine Dion, or Mariah Carey, or Aretha Franklin either. Well, maybe. If you click through to each of those artist pages, you'll find somewhat surprisingly that the better Idols have done OK with them (particularly Aretha.) The divas have been harsh mainly on deluded Semifinalists who mistakenly think they can handle the big girls' material.

So are we suggesting that contestants throw caution to the wind and belt out Saving All My Love For You at every turn? Not hardly. For one thing, we don't want hordes of angry Idol fans, their ears bleeding profusely, massing outside our windows with pitchforks and torches. For another, the naysayers are right — sort of. No matter what popular song you choose, you will inevitably be compared to the original artist. If you can't do Whitney justice (and if you could, chances are you'd have been signed to a record deal eons ago), why go out of your way to advertise this fact to 30 million of your closest friends? But, if you can do a decent Whitney cover, don't let some urban legend stop you.

Two artists who've fared considerably less well on Idol are Brian McKnight and LeAnn Rimes. That duo has combined for exactly one performance of 5-stars or 4-stars thus far, out of 20 rated ones total. We consider this no surprise. Most top amateur singers find it easier to pin back their ears and belt out an over-the-top number than to try to match the complex vocal subtleties of more nuanced artists.

[back to top] American Idol  Artists

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# Artist #Sng #Prf Rating Hi Lo σ 0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79 80-100
76 Nixon, Marni And Bryant, Jimmy0001Marni Nixon & Jimmy Bryant 2 4
58.8
 
88 23 15.0 0 2 0 0 2
77 Payne, Freda0001Freda Payne 1 1
88.0
 
88 88 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
78 Rolling Stones0001The Rolling Stones 15 25
53.5
 
88 19 19.4 2 3 10 7 3
79 Russell, Leon0001Leon Russell 1 4
66.5
 
88 51 15.0 0 0 2 1 1
80 Simone, Nina0001Nina Simone 2 7
56.7
 
88 37 21.1 0 1 4 1 1
81 Bee Gees0001The Bee Gees 9 17
51.9
 
87 19 19.5 1 4 6 5 1
82 Beyonce0001Beyoncé 8 10
64.0
 
87 43 18.2 0 0 3 6 1
83 Cole, Natalie0001Natalie Cole 2 3
57.7
 
87 26 17.3 0 1 0 1 1
84 Crawford, Michael0001Michael Crawford 1 1
87.0
 
87 87 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
85 Fitzgerald, Ella0001Ella Fitzgerald 6 10
59.1
 
87 9 17.5 1 0 4 3 2
86 Fray0001The Fray 4 4
46.5
 
87 22 19.8 0 3 0 0 1
87 Manhattans0001The Manhattans 1 1
87.0
 
87 87 17.0 0 0 0 0 1
88 Robinson, Smokey And Miracles0001Smokey Robinson & The Miracles 5 11
57.7
 
87 35 21.2 0 1 6 3 1
89 Sinatra, Frank0001Frank Sinatra 13 20
54.4
 
87 9 18.4 1 5 5 6 3
90 Temptations0001The Temptations 4 13
47.9
 
87 6 17.5 2 3 4 1 3
91 Tiffany0001Tiffany 2 2
56.0
 
87 25 12.0 0 1 0 0 1
92 West, Kanye0001Kanye West 1 1
87.0
 
87 87 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
93 Bon Jovi0001Bon Jovi 7 11
61.2
 
86 15 17.5 1 1 2 4 3
94 Buckley, Jeff0001Jeff Buckley 1 3
70.3
 
86 54 23.7 0 0 1 1 1
95 Cohen, Leonard0001Leonard Cohen 1 3
70.3
 
86 54 23.7 0 0 1 1 1
96 Flack, Roberta0001Roberta Flack 1 2
57.5
 
86 29 18.5 0 1 0 0 1
97 Happenings0001The Happenings 1 1
86.0
 
86 86 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
98 Journey0001Journey 3 7
54.9
 
86 37 17.6 0 1 4 1 1
99 Lady Gaga0001Lady Gaga 4 9
60.7
 
86 34 19.3 0 2 2 4 1
100 Legend, John0001John Legend 4 4
72.0
 
86 59 18.8 0 0 1 2 1
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