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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
1
Sorry0001Sorry
39.0
 
1 39 39 32.0 0 1 0 0 0
2
Come Pick Me Up0001Come Pick Me Up
41.0
 
1 41 41 30.0 0 0 1 0 0
3
Black Or White0001Black Or White
82.0
 
1 82 82 29.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
Hey Jude0001Hey Jude
56.0
 
1 56 56 28.0 0 0 1 0 0
5
I Hate Myself For Loving You0001I Hate Myself For Loving You
58.0
 
1 58 58 28.0 0 0 1 0 0
6
Rebel Yell0001Rebel Yell
62.0
 
1 62 62 28.0 0 0 0 1 0
7
Ring Of Fire0001Ring Of Fire
38.5
 
2 51 26 28.0 0 1 1 0 0
8
Skyscraper0001Skyscraper
62.0
 
1 62 62 28.0 0 0 0 1 0
9
Somebody That I Used To Know0001Somebody That I Used To Know
55.0
 
1 55 55 28.0 0 0 1 0 0
10
Tell Me Something Good0001Tell Me Something Good
42.0
 
1 42 42 28.0 0 0 1 0 0
11
Bold As Love0001Bold As Love
43.0
 
1 43 43 27.0 0 0 1 0 0
12
Look Of Love0001The Look Of Love
46.0
 
1 46 46 27.0 0 0 1 0 0
13
Love Me Tender0001Love Me Tender
54.0
 
1 54 54 27.0 0 0 1 0 0
14
Somebody Like You0001Somebody Like You
53.0
 
1 53 53 27.0 0 0 1 0 0
15
Uprising0001Uprising
72.0
 
1 72 72 27.0 0 0 0 1 0
16
Folsom Prison Blues0001Folsom Prison Blues
50.5
 
2 58 43 26.5 0 0 2 0 0
17
Believe0001Believe
66.0
 
1 66 66 26.0 0 0 0 1 0
18
Butterflies0001Butterflies
35.0
 
1 35 35 26.0 0 1 0 0 0
19
Edge Of Seventeen0001Edge Of Seventeen
36.0
 
1 36 36 26.0 0 1 0 0 0
20
Gravity0001Gravity
54.0
 
1 54 54 26.0 0 0 1 0 0
21
Incomplete0001Incomplete
58.0
 
1 58 58 26.0 0 0 1 0 0
22
It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing0001It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing
41.0
 
1 41 41 26.0 0 0 1 0 0
23
Love Came Down0001Love Came Down
66.0
 
1 66 66 26.0 0 0 0 1 0
24
Nature Boy0001Nature Boy
37.0
 
1 37 37 26.0 0 1 0 0 0
25
Nothing But The Water0001Nothing But The Water
40.0
 
1 40 40 26.0 0 0 1 0 0
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