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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
226
Every Breath You Take0001Every Breath You Take
69.3
 
3 76 65 21.3 0 0 0 3 0
227
Rhiannon0001Rhiannon
69.3
 
3 72 66 17.3 0 0 0 3 0
228
Try A Little Tenderness0001Try A Little Tenderness
69.3
 
3 80 59 20.0 0 0 1 1 1
229
Baba O'Riley0001Baba O'Riley
69.0
 
1 69 69 21.0 0 0 0 1 0
230
Blame It On Your Heart0001Blame It On Your Heart
69.0
 
1 69 69 17.0 0 0 0 1 0
231
Born To Be Wild0001Born To Be Wild
69.0
 
1 69 69 23.0 0 0 0 1 0
232
Cry Baby0001Cry Baby
69.0
 
1 69 69 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
233
Everybody Knows0001Everybody Knows
69.0
 
1 69 69 23.0 0 0 0 1 0
234
Here You Come Again0001Here You Come Again
69.0
 
1 69 69 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
235
I Am I Said0001I Am…I Said
69.0
 
1 69 69 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
236
Making Memories Of Us0001Making Memories Of Us
69.0
 
1 69 69 21.0 0 0 0 1 0
237
Mary Jane0001Mary Jane
69.0
 
1 69 69 25.0 0 0 0 1 0
238
People0001People
69.0
 
1 69 69 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
239
Play With Fire0001Play With Fire
69.0
 
1 69 69 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
240
Scientist0001The Scientist
69.0
 
2 78 60 19.5 0 0 0 2 0
241
Undo It0001Undo It
69.0
 
1 69 69 22.0 0 0 0 1 0
242
When I Was Your Man0001When I Was Your Man
69.0
 
2 80 58 19.5 0 0 1 0 1
243
Yellow0001Yellow
69.0
 
1 69 69 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
244
Your Song0001Your Song
69.0
 
1 69 69 22.0 0 0 0 1 0
245
New York State Of Mind0001New York State Of Mind
68.7
 
3 91 47 15.3 0 0 1 1 1
246
A House Is Not A Home0001A House Is Not A Home
68.5
 
4 92 39 17.0 0 1 1 0 2
247
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart0001How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
68.3
 
3 78 59 19.7 0 0 1 2 0
248
Out Here On My Own0001Out Here On My Own
68.3
 
3 85 46 18.0 0 0 1 1 1
249
Broken Heart0001Broken Heart
68.0
 
1 68 68 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
250
Flat On The Floor0001Flat On The Floor
68.0
 
2 86 50 18.5 0 0 1 0 1
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