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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 Wonder, Stevie0001Stevie Wonder 25 67
46.3
 
84 14 18.3 9 19 17 19 3
2 Beatles0001The Beatles 36 58
51.2
 
85 3 18.9 6 13 16 17 6
3 Clarkson, Kelly0001Kelly Clarkson 12 23
44.3
 
89 6 15.2 5 7 3 5 3
4 Gaye, Marvin0001Marvin Gaye 4 19
44.6
 
78 11 17.9 4 4 5 6 0
5 John, Elton0001Elton John 19 38
50.1
 
90 8 19.2 4 11 9 6 8
6 Aerosmith0001Aerosmith 5 21
48.9
 
85 7 17.9 3 4 6 4 4
7 Bolton, Michael0001Michael Bolton 4 18
53.1
 
91 18 18.0 3 4 3 6 2
8 Collins, Phil0001Phil Collins 6 18
40.6
 
71 2 17.1 3 4 7 4 0
9 Dion, Celine0001Celine Dion 13 33
52.6
 
92 11 17.1 3 8 5 14 3
10 Hall And Oates0001Hall & Oates 3 3
16.0
 
19 13 14.0 3 0 0 0 0
11 McKnight, Brian0001Brian McKnight 5 9
30.7
 
50 6 17.0 3 3 3 0 0
12 Queen0001Queen 12 25
43.0
 
90 12 21.4 3 10 5 5 2
13 Ross, Diana0001Diana Ross 9 17
43.4
 
85 8 15.2 3 5 5 3 1
14 Temptations0001The Temptations 4 15
46.8
 
87 6 17.1 3 3 4 2 3
15 Wham!0001Wham! 2 3
14.7
 
17 12 13.3 3 0 0 0 0
16 Adele0001Adele 10 16
51.1
 
84 7 18.7 2 3 5 3 3
17 Buble, Michael0001Michael Buble 2 7
35.9
 
64 13 19.7 2 3 0 2 0
18 Chesnutt, Mark0001Mark Chesnutt 1 9
38.3
 
68 13 17.3 2 2 3 2 0
19 Diamond, Neil0001Neil Diamond 10 10
43.1
 
77 10 20.1 2 2 3 3 0
20 Dixie Chicks0001The Dixie Chicks 3 4
46.3
 
89 7 16.3 2 0 0 1 1
21 Fleetwood Mac0001Fleetwood Mac 4 7
44.0
 
72 7 17.7 2 1 1 3 0
22 Four Tops0001The Four Tops 3 11
53.2
 
82 6 16.4 2 1 2 5 1
23 Houston, Whitney0001Whitney Houston 15 46
54.4
 
92 19 17.9 2 9 15 15 5
24 Manilow, Barry0001Barry Manilow 7 7
45.6
 
78 7 19.0 2 1 2 2 0
25 Marley, Bob0001Bob Marley 2 2
9.0
 
9 9 15.5 2 0 0 0 0
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