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Songs

This section of the WhatNotToSing.com database is so dangerous it ought to come with a warning sticker. There are no shortage of ways to misinterpret the Song data we've compiled. For example, if you happen to have toothpaste for brains, and you looked at the table below, you might reason thusly:

"Hmm...'In A Dream', by Badlands. A 94.0 average, that's good. Only been performed once, for 5-stars. Looks like a pretty sweet choice. I'll try it!"

Thankfully, most contestants this dumb can't find the audition site in the first place, and the judges do a decent job of weeding out the ones that do. But beware, the Songs table provides plenty more rope with which to hang yourself. Here, then, are a few bits of friendly advice from the staff.

  • In all seriousness, do avoid songs that have already been showstoppers; the odds are not in your favor. Note how many songs have provided a 5-star performance (sort the Ratings Tab table by the rightmost column), then note how few have done so for two different contestants. It's difficult enough to be compared to a professional recording artist, but when you invite comparisons to previous excellent Idol moments as well, you're really asking for it.
  • Corollary: steer clear of commercial hit songs by a former Idol, unless your goal is to shout to the world, "Hey, look! I can't sing as well as someone you crowned champion a few years ago!"
  • In a similar vein, avoid songs associated with a previous disastrous performance. If your lifelong dream is to sing Crocodile Rock on the Idol stage, get over it.
  • Keep in mind that each song's numerical rating is of the performances of that song, not of the song itself. Always take the singers into account. The "X-Factor" column in the Extended Data tab is a great way to see whether a song has helped or hurt singers in the long run.

Which brings us to this final tidbit of advice. When faced with a choice between a song that has been performed previously on Idol (even if it wasn't a showstopper or a disaster) and a fresh one, all else being equal, go with the fresh one. We've found a clear downward trend on repeat and reprise performances, particularly in the later seasons.

[back to top] American Idol  Songs


Click on a column header to sort by that column.
# Song / Artist Average Rating #Pf Hi Lo σ 0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79 80-100
176
Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay0001(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
40.3
 
3 80 12 16.3 1 1 0 0 1
177
Someone Saved My Life Tonight0001Someone Saved My Life Tonight
80.0
 
1 80 80 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
178
Stronger0001Stronger
80.0
 
1 80 80 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
179
Takin It To The Streets0001Takin' It To The Streets
80.0
 
1 80 80 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
180
This Womans Work0001This Woman's Work
80.0
 
1 80 80 25.0 0 0 0 0 1
181
Try A Little Tenderness0001Try A Little Tenderness
69.3
 
3 80 59 20.0 0 0 1 1 1
182
U Got It Bad0001U Got It Bad
80.0
 
1 80 80 22.0 0 0 0 0 1
183
Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)0001Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)
50.5
 
2 80 21 15.5 0 1 0 0 1
184
Volcano0001Volcano
75.0
 
2 80 70 20.5 0 0 0 1 1
185
You Cant Always Get What You Want0001You Can't Always Get What You Want
80.0
 
1 80 80 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
186
Youll Never Walk Alone0001You'll Never Walk Alone
From: Carousel
80.0
 
1 80 80 17.0 0 0 0 0 1
187
Anyway0001Anyway
72.5
 
2 79 66 20.5 0 0 0 2 0
188
Come Rain Or Come Shine0001Come Rain Or Come Shine
73.0
 
2 79 67 20.0 0 0 0 2 0
189
Everybody Has A Dream0001Everybody Has A Dream
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
190
Hand In My Pocket0001Hand In My Pocket
79.0
 
1 79 79 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
191
Here Comes Goodbye0001Here Comes Goodbye
60.0
 
2 79 41 19.5 0 0 1 1 0
192
I Surrender0001I Surrender
60.8
 
4 79 35 17.8 0 1 0 3 0
193
If I Cant Have You0001If I Can't Have You
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
194
One Rock N Roll Too Many0001One Rock 'N' Roll Too Many
From: Starlight Express
79.0
 
1 79 79 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
195
Renegade0001Renegade
55.5
 
2 79 32 19.0 0 1 0 1 0
196
Seven Day Fool0001Seven Day Fool
79.0
 
1 79 79 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
197
Somewhere Only We Know0001Somewhere Only We Know
79.0
 
1 79 79 13.0 0 0 0 1 0
198
Stuttering0001Stuttering
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
199
Unbreak My Heart0001Un-Break My Heart
53.5
 
2 79 28 18.0 0 1 0 1 0
200
When I Was Your Man0001When I Was Your Man
68.5
 
2 79 58 19.5 0 0 1 1 0
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