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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
1 Beatles0001The Beatles 36 52
51.4
 
85 3 18.8 5 11 15 16 5
2 Wonder, Stevie0001Stevie Wonder 23 59
45.9
 
84 14 18.1 9 16 15 16 3
3 Houston, Whitney0001Whitney Houston 15 43
54.5
 
92 19 17.9 2 9 12 15 5
4 Dion, Celine0001Celine Dion 13 31
53.4
 
92 13 17.1 2 8 5 13 3
5 Franklin, Aretha0001Aretha Franklin 12 30
62.3
 
89 19 16.7 1 4 7 9 9
6 Joel, Billy0001Billy Joel 18 26
55.7
 
91 8 18.3 1 4 10 9 2
7 Presley, Elvis0001Elvis Presley 18 39
56.3
 
93 14 19.6 1 9 12 9 8
8 Rolling Stones0001The Rolling Stones 15 25
53.5
 
88 19 19.4 2 3 10 7 3
9 Beyonce0001Beyoncé 8 10
64.0
 
87 43 18.2 0 0 3 6 1
10 Garland, Judy0001Judy Garland 4 12
71.0
 
92 43 18.9 0 0 3 6 3
11 Gaye, Marvin0001Marvin Gaye 4 18
46.3
 
78 11 18.3 3 4 5 6 0
12 John, Elton0001Elton John 19 37
50.8
 
90 8 19.4 4 10 9 6 8
13 Knight, Gladys And Pips0001Gladys Knight & The Pips 3 12
58.9
 
83 11 16.8 1 1 3 6 1
14 McBride, Martina0001Martina McBride 7 14
57.1
 
82 34 19.4 0 4 3 6 1
15 Redding, Otis0001Otis Redding 5 15
57.1
 
84 12 18.8 1 3 2 6 3
16 Sinatra, Frank0001Frank Sinatra 13 20
54.4
 
87 9 18.4 1 5 5 6 3
17 Bee Gees0001The Bee Gees 9 17
51.9
 
87 19 19.5 1 4 6 5 1
18 Cocker, Joe0001Joe Cocker 3 8
59.9
 
77 27 19.0 0 1 2 5 0
19 Four Tops0001The Four Tops 3 10
57.8
 
82 6 16.6 1 1 2 5 1
20 Jackson, Michael0001Michael Jackson 19 23
49.2
 
95 17 19.5 1 10 4 5 3
21 Queen0001Queen 12 25
43.0
 
90 12 21.4 3 10 5 5 2
22 Adams, Bryan0001Bryan Adams 3 9
53.0
 
84 16 17.6 1 2 1 4 1
23 Aerosmith0001Aerosmith 5 18
49.5
 
84 7 18.2 2 3 6 4 3
24 Bolton, Michael0001Michael Bolton 4 15
52.6
 
91 18 18.0 2 4 3 4 2
25 Bon Jovi0001Bon Jovi 7 11
61.2
 
86 15 17.5 1 1 2 4 3
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