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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 (Min. 2 Perfs)


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
1
Whole Lotta Love0001Whole Lotta Love
88.5
 
2 93 84 19.0 0 0 0 0 2
2
Fool In Love0001Fool In Love
82.0
 
2 83 81 13.5 0 0 0 0 2
3
Papa Was A Rolling Stone0001Papa Was A Rolling Stone
84.0
 
2 87 81 15.5 0 0 0 0 2
4
Mad World0001Mad World
87.0
 
2 94 80 19.0 0 0 0 0 2
5
Up To The Mountain0001Up To The Mountain
83.3
 
3 89 78 11.7 0 0 0 1 2
6
Where Do Broken Hearts Go0001Where Do Broken Hearts Go
78.5
 
2 79 78 15.0 0 0 0 2 0
7
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
8
Maybe Im Amazed0001Maybe I'm Amazed
77.5
 
2 78 77 17.0 0 0 0 2 0
9
Over The Rainbow0001Over The Rainbow
81.8
 
4 90 77 18.3 0 0 0 2 2
10
House Of Rising Sun0001House Of The Rising Sun
84.5
 
2 94 75 14.0 0 0 0 1 1
11
I Who Have Nothing0001I (Who Have Nothing)
85.4
 
5 92 75 13.0 0 0 0 1 4
12
Living For The City0001Living For The City
77.3
 
3 84 73 15.3 0 0 0 2 1
13
Midnight Train To Georgia0001Midnight Train To Georgia
76.7
 
3 83 72 15.3 0 0 0 2 1
14
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
15
Bring Me To Life0001Bring Me To Life
73.5
 
2 76 71 24.5 0 0 0 2 0
16
Dont Play That Song0001Don't Play That Song
73.0
 
2 75 71 17.5 0 0 0 2 0
17
If I Were Your Woman0001If I Were Your Woman
73.5
 
2 76 71 16.0 0 0 0 2 0
18
Me And Bobby McGee0001Me And Bobby McGee
78.0
 
2 85 71 14.5 0 0 0 1 1
19
Sin Wagon0001Sin Wagon
80.0
 
2 89 71 19.0 0 0 0 1 1
20
With A Little Help From My Friends0001With A Little Help From My Friends
72.5
 
2 74 71 18.5 0 0 0 2 0
21
Vehicle0001Vehicle
79.0
 
2 88 70 13.5 0 0 0 1 1
22
Volcano0001Volcano
75.0
 
2 80 70 20.5 0 0 0 1 1
23
Im A Woman0001I'm A Woman
78.5
 
2 88 69 13.5 0 0 0 1 1
24
Spinning Wheel0001Spinning Wheel
76.5
 
2 84 69 19.5 0 0 0 1 1
25
A Broken Wing0001A Broken Wing
72.3
 
4 82 68 19.5 0 0 0 3 1
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