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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
826
Ordinary Girl0001Ordinary Girl
20.0
 
1 20 20 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
827
Ordinary People0001Ordinary People
86.0
 
1 86 86 9.0 0 0 0 0 1
828
Out Here On My Own0001Out Here On My Own
68.3
 
3 85 46 18.0 0 0 1 1 1
829
Over The Rainbow0001Over The Rainbow
81.8
 
4 90 77 18.3 0 0 0 2 2
830
Overjoyed0001Overjoyed
36.5
 
2 54 19 20.5 1 0 1 0 0
831
Paint It Black0001Paint It, Black
53.3
 
3 88 30 20.0 0 1 1 0 1
832
Papa Was A Rolling Stone0001Papa Was A Rolling Stone
61.3
 
3 87 16 14.3 1 0 0 0 2
833
Paris Ooh La La0001Paris (Ooh La La)
59.0
 
1 59 59 23.0 0 0 1 0 0
834
Part Time Lover0001Part-Time Lover
40.0
 
3 56 14 19.7 1 0 2 0 0
835
Party in the USA0001Party in the U.S.A.
23.0
 
1 23 23 17.0 0 1 0 0 0
836
People0001People
69.0
 
1 69 69 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
837
People Get Ready0001People Get Ready
88.0
 
1 88 88 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
838
Perfect0001Perfect
35.3
 
3 60 18 16.0 1 1 0 1 0
839
Piano Man0001Piano Man
66.0
 
2 77 55 22.0 0 0 1 1 0
840
Piece Of My Heart0001Piece Of My Heart
53.3
 
7 65 38 22.0 0 1 5 1 0
841
Play That Funky Music0001Play That Funky Music
64.0
 
2 69 59 22.0 0 0 1 1 0
842
Play With Fire0001Play With Fire
69.0
 
1 69 69 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
843
Poison Ivy0001Poison Ivy
13.0
 
1 13 13 9.0 1 0 0 0 0
844
Poker Face0001Poker Face
44.0
 
1 44 44 23.0 0 0 1 0 0
845
Pompeii0001Pompeii
38.0
 
1 38 38 20.0 0 1 0 0 0
846
Power Of Love 10001The Power Of Love
84.0
 
1 84 84 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
847
Power Of Love 20001The Power Of Love
59.2
 
5 83 30 17.8 0 1 1 2 1
848
Power Of Love 30001The Power Of Love
50.0
 
1 50 50 17.0 0 0 1 0 0
849
Prayer0001The Prayer
84.0
 
1 84 84 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
850
Pressure And Time0001Pressure And Time
70.0
 
1 70 70 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
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