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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
You Keep Me Hangin On0001You Keep Me Hangin' On
49.6
 
5 81 6 17.2 1 0 2 1 1
177
Youve Got A Friend0001You've Got A Friend
60.5
 
2 81 40 21.5 0 0 1 0 1
178
Aint Goin Down Til The Sun Comes Up0001Ain't Goin' Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)
49.3
 
3 80 25 19.7 0 1 1 0 1
179
As Long As He Needs Me0001As Long As He Needs Me
From: Oliver!
75.5
 
2 80 71 17.5 0 0 0 1 1
180
Beautiful0001Beautiful
80.0
 
1 80 80 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
181
Climb0001The Climb
49.7
 
3 80 6 15.0 1 0 0 1 1
182
Come See About Me0001Come See About Me
80.0
 
1 80 80 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
183
Crazy On You0001Crazy On You
80.0
 
1 80 80 10.0 0 0 0 0 1
184
For The Love Of Money0001For The Love Of Money
80.0
 
1 80 80 19.0 0 0 0 0 1
185
Hero - Carey Mariah0001Hero
44.0
 
4 80 14 15.0 1 1 1 0 1
186
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)0001I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
78.5
 
2 80 77 14.0 0 0 0 1 1
187
In The Ghetto0001In The Ghetto
67.0
 
2 80 54 21.5 0 0 1 0 1
188
Lets Stay Together0001Let's Stay Together
56.2
 
5 80 27 19.2 0 1 2 1 1
189
Levon0001Levon
59.5
 
2 80 39 16.0 0 1 0 0 1
190
Love Is A Battlefield0001Love Is A Battlefield
66.5
 
2 80 53 22.5 0 0 1 0 1
191
Nutbush City Limits0001Nutbush City Limits
80.0
 
1 80 80 22.0 0 0 0 0 1
192
Since I Fell For You0001Since I Fell For You
80.0
 
1 80 80 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
193
Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay0001(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
45.3
 
4 80 12 16.8 1 1 0 1 1
194
Someone Saved My Life Tonight0001Someone Saved My Life Tonight
80.0
 
1 80 80 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
195
Stronger0001Stronger
80.0
 
1 80 80 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
196
Takin It To The Streets0001Takin' It To The Streets
71.5
 
2 80 63 18.0 0 0 0 1 1
197
This Womans Work0001This Woman's Work
80.0
 
1 80 80 25.0 0 0 0 0 1
198
Try A Little Tenderness0001Try A Little Tenderness
69.3
 
3 80 59 20.0 0 0 1 1 1
199
U Got It Bad0001U Got It Bad
80.0
 
1 80 80 22.0 0 0 0 0 1
200
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
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