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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
851
On Bended Knee0001On Bended Knee
31.0
 
1 31 31 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
852
On The Radio0001On The Radio
46.0
 
1 46 46 16.0 0 0 1 0 0
853
On The Side Of Angels0001On The Side Of Angels
35.0
 
1 35 35 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
854
One0001One
61.0
 
1 61 61 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
855
One Hand One Heart0001One Hand, One Heart
From: West Side Story
37.0
 
1 37 37 17.0 0 1 0 0 0
856
One Mississippi0001One Mississippi
61.0
 
1 61 61 16.0 0 0 0 1 0
857
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
858
One Sweet Day0001One Sweet Day
32.0
 
1 32 32 12.0 0 1 0 0 0
859
One Two Three00011, 2, 3
45.0
 
1 45 45 25.0 0 0 1 0 0
860
One Voice0001One Voice
57.0
 
1 57 57 22.0 0 0 1 0 0
861
Only The Good Die Young0001Only The Good Die Young
35.0
 
1 35 35 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
862
Open My Heart0001Open My Heart
46.0
 
1 46 46 16.0 0 0 1 0 0
863
Orange Colored Sky0001Orange Colored Sky
60.0
 
1 60 60 23.0 0 0 0 1 0
864
Ordinary Girl0001Ordinary Girl
21.0
 
1 21 21 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
865
Ordinary People0001Ordinary People
86.0
 
1 86 86 9.0 0 0 0 0 1
866
Paris Ooh La La0001Paris (Ooh La La)
59.0
 
1 59 59 23.0 0 0 1 0 0
867
People0001People
69.0
 
1 69 69 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
868
People Get Ready0001People Get Ready
88.0
 
1 88 88 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
869
Play With Fire0001Play With Fire
69.0
 
1 69 69 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
870
Poison Ivy0001Poison Ivy
13.0
 
1 13 13 9.0 1 0 0 0 0
871
Power Of Love 10001The Power Of Love
84.0
 
1 84 84 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
872
Power Of Love 30001The Power Of Love
50.0
 
1 50 50 17.0 0 0 1 0 0
873
Prayer0001The Prayer
84.0
 
1 84 84 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
874
Pressure And Time0001Pressure And Time
70.0
 
1 70 70 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
875
Pumped Up Kicks0001Pumped Up Kicks
58.0
 
1 58 58 23.0 0 0 1 0 0
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