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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
101 Merman, Ethel0001Ethel Merman 1 1
86.0
 
86 86 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
102 Nelson, Willie0001Willie Nelson 3 6
64.7
 
86 22 18.2 0 1 0 4 1
103 Pet Shop Boys0001Pet Shop Boys 1 4
72.3
 
86 60 20.3 0 0 0 3 1
104 Preston, Alex0001Alex Preston 1 1
86.0
 
86 86 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
105 Simon And Garfunkel0001Simon & Garfunkel 4 6
58.0
 
86 44 21.0 0 0 4 1 1
106 Summer, Donna0001Donna Summer 6 10
44.5
 
86 7 18.4 1 4 3 1 1
107 Supremes, The and Four Tops, The0001The Supremes & The Four Tops 1 3
67.0
 
86 36 15.7 0 1 0 1 1
108 Turner, Ike And Tina0001Ike & Tina Turner 4 9
69.3
 
86 36 17.7 0 1 2 2 4
109 Underwood, Carrie0001Carrie Underwood 8 12
57.8
 
86 32 18.6 0 2 5 3 2
110 Armstrong, Louis0001Louis Armstrong 1 3
70.0
 
85 53 19.3 0 0 1 1 1
111 Beatles0001The Beatles 36 52
51.4
 
85 3 18.8 5 11 15 16 5
112 Brown, James0001James Brown 1 3
59.7
 
85 24 18.3 0 1 0 1 1
113 Cara, Irene0001Irene Cara 2 5
51.2
 
85 19 17.2 1 1 1 1 1
114 Davis, Sammy0001Sammy Davis, Jr. 1 1
85.0
 
85 85 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
115 James, Harry0001Harry James 1 1
85.0
 
85 85 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
116 Joplin, Janis0001Janis Joplin 3 9
60.6
 
85 38 19.6 0 1 4 3 1
117 Raitt, Bonnie0001Bonnie Raitt 3 10
55.8
 
85 9 19.2 1 1 2 4 2
118 Ross, Diana0001Diana Ross 9 15
43.6
 
85 8 14.5 3 4 4 3 1
119 Rufus0001Rufus, Featuring Chaka Khan 3 5
56.8
 
85 42 18.6 0 0 3 1 1
120 Adams, Bryan0001Bryan Adams 3 9
53.0
 
84 16 17.6 1 2 1 4 1
121 Adele0001Adele 9 13
50.8
 
84 7 18.4 2 3 3 2 3
122 Aerosmith0001Aerosmith 5 18
49.5
 
84 7 18.2 2 3 6 4 3
123 Blige, Mary J.0001Mary J. Blige 3 5
58.6
 
84 46 19.6 0 0 3 1 1
124 Blood Sweat And Tears0001Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 4
63.3
 
84 38 19.8 0 1 0 2 1
125 Calloway, Cab0001Cab Calloway 1 1
84.0
 
84 84 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
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