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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 Cohen, Leonard0001Leonard Cohen 1 3
70.3
 
86 54 23.7 0 0 1 1 1
102 Evanescence0001Evanescence 3 4
73.5
 
86 60 20.0 0 0 0 3 1
103 Flack, Roberta0001Roberta Flack 1 2
57.5
 
86 29 18.5 0 1 0 0 1
104 Happenings0001The Happenings 1 1
86.0
 
86 86 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
105 Journey0001Journey 3 7
54.9
 
86 37 17.6 0 1 4 1 1
106 Lady Gaga0001Lady Gaga 5 11
57.8
 
86 34 19.8 0 2 4 4 1
107 Legend, John0001John Legend 4 4
72.0
 
86 59 18.8 0 0 1 2 1
108 Merman, Ethel0001Ethel Merman 1 1
86.0
 
86 86 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
109 Nelson, Willie0001Willie Nelson 3 7
66.1
 
86 22 18.6 0 1 0 5 1
110 Pet Shop Boys0001Pet Shop Boys 1 5
72.8
 
86 60 20.4 0 0 0 4 1
111 Preston, Alex0001Alex Preston 1 1
86.0
 
86 86 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
112 Rihanna0001Rihanna 5 10
49.3
 
86 9 20.1 2 1 3 2 2
113 Simon And Garfunkel0001Simon & Garfunkel 4 7
58.4
 
86 44 21.3 0 0 4 2 1
114 Summer, Donna0001Donna Summer 6 10
44.5
 
86 7 18.4 1 4 3 1 1
115 Supremes, The and Four Tops, The0001The Supremes & The Four Tops 1 3
67.0
 
86 36 15.7 0 1 0 1 1
116 Turner, Ike And Tina0001Ike & Tina Turner 4 11
69.4
 
86 36 18.1 0 1 2 3 4
117 Underwood, Carrie0001Carrie Underwood 8 12
57.8
 
86 32 18.6 0 2 5 3 2
118 Armstrong, Louis0001Louis Armstrong 1 3
70.0
 
85 53 19.3 0 0 1 1 1
119 Beatles0001The Beatles 36 55
51.4
 
85 3 19.0 5 12 16 17 5
120 Brown, James0001James Brown 1 4
64.8
 
85 24 17.3 0 1 0 1 2
121 Cara, Irene0001Irene Cara 2 5
51.2
 
85 19 17.2 1 1 1 1 1
122 Davis, Sammy0001Sammy Davis, Jr. 1 1
85.0
 
85 85 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
123 James, Harry0001Harry James 1 1
85.0
 
85 85 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
124 Joplin, Janis0001Janis Joplin 3 10
59.8
 
85 38 20.2 0 1 5 3 1
125 Raitt, Bonnie0001Bonnie Raitt 3 10
55.8
 
85 9 19.2 1 1 2 4 2
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