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Artists

If you're looking to dispel some persistent American Idol urban legends, forget about Snopes.com or Mythbusters. 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 Whitney Houston", the judges and bloggers bleat repeatedly. Never sing Celine Dion, 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.

[back to top] American Idol  Artists

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# Artist #Sng #Prf Rating Hi Lo σ 0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79 80-100
1 Beatles0001The Beatles 37 59
51.4
 
85 3 19.0 6 13 16 18 6
2 Wonder, Stevie0001Stevie Wonder 25 67
46.3
 
84 14 18.3 9 19 17 19 3
3 Jackson, Michael0001Michael Jackson 20 29
49.6
 
95 17 19.6 1 12 5 8 3
4 John, Elton0001Elton John 20 40
50.3
 
90 8 19.2 4 12 9 7 8
5 Joel, Billy0001Billy Joel 18 27
56.3
 
91 8 18.5 1 4 10 10 2
6 Presley, Elvis0001Elvis Presley 18 40
56.7
 
93 14 19.7 1 9 12 10 8
7 Houston, Whitney0001Whitney Houston 15 48
54.9
 
92 19 18.0 2 9 16 16 5
8 Rolling Stones0001The Rolling Stones 15 25
53.5
 
88 19 19.4 2 3 10 7 3
9 Dion, Celine0001Celine Dion 13 34
52.3
 
92 11 17.2 3 8 6 14 3
10 Sinatra, Frank0001Frank Sinatra 13 20
54.4
 
87 9 18.4 1 5 5 6 3
11 Clarkson, Kelly0001Kelly Clarkson 12 23
44.3
 
89 6 15.2 5 7 3 5 3
12 Franklin, Aretha0001Aretha Franklin 12 30
62.3
 
89 19 16.7 1 4 7 9 9
13 Queen0001Queen 12 26
43.4
 
90 12 21.2 3 10 6 5 2
14 Adele0001Adele 11 17
50.5
 
84 7 18.8 2 3 6 3 3
15 Underwood, Carrie0001Carrie Underwood 11 18
52.1
 
86 18 18.9 1 5 6 4 2
16 Beyonce0001Beyoncé 10 13
58.0
 
87 15 17.8 1 1 3 7 1
17 Diamond, Neil0001Neil Diamond 10 10
43.1
 
77 10 20.1 2 2 3 3 0
18 Parton, Dolly0001Dolly Parton 10 14
58.9
 
92 24 17.9 0 1 7 4 2
19 Ross, Diana0001Diana Ross 10 18
44.6
 
85 8 15.7 3 5 5 4 1
20 Bee Gees0001The Bee Gees 9 18
50.3
 
87 19 19.2 1 5 6 5 1
21 Hill, Faith0001Faith Hill 9 11
45.8
 
82 20 17.4 0 6 1 2 2
22 King, Carole0001Carole King 9 12
51.9
 
92 23 20.0 0 4 4 1 3
23 Rimes, LeAnn0001LeAnn Rimes 9 16
36.9
 
77 5 19.3 1 9 4 2 0
24 Brooks, Garth0001Garth Brooks 8 11
55.4
 
80 25 19.3 0 1 6 3 1
25 Carey, Mariah0001Mariah Carey 8 18
49.9
 
82 14 19.9 1 4 8 3 2
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