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
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.