If you're looking to dispel some persistent American Idol urban legends,
This section of the WhatNotToSing.com database is the only place to turn.
Let's start by busting the granddaddy myth of all. "Never sing
the judges and bloggers
bleat repeatedly. Never sing
or Mariah Carey,
or Aretha Franklin
either. Well, maybe. If you click through to each of those artist pages, you'll find
somewhat surprisingly that the better Idols have done OK with them (particularly
Aretha.) The divas have been harsh mainly on deluded Semifinalists who mistakenly
think they can handle the big girls' material.
So are we suggesting that contestants throw caution to the wind and belt out
Saving All My Love For You
at every turn? Not hardly. For one thing, we
don't want hordes of angry Idol fans, their ears bleeding profusely,
massing outside our windows with pitchforks and torches. For another, the
naysayers are right — sort of. No matter what popular song you choose, you
will inevitably be compared to the original artist. If you can't do Whitney justice
(and if you could, chances are you'd have been signed to a record deal eons ago),
why go out of your way to advertise this fact to 30 million of your closest friends?
But, if you can do a decent Whitney cover, don't let some
urban legend stop you.
Two artists who've fared considerably less well on Idol are
Brian McKnight and
LeAnn Rimes. That duo has combined for
exactly one performance of 5-stars or 4-stars thus far, out of 20 rated ones total.
We consider this no surprise. Most top amateur singers find it easier
to pin back their ears and belt out an over-the-top number than to try to match
the complex vocal subtleties of more nuanced artists.