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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 (1950s and earlier)


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
I Don't Hurt Anymore0001I Don't Hurt Anymore
90.0
 
1 90 90 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
2
I Got Rhythm0001I Got Rhythm
86.0
 
1 86 86 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
3
Too Close For Comfort0001Too Close For Comfort
85.0
 
1 85 85 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
You've Changed0001You've Changed
85.0
 
1 85 85 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
5
Minnie The Moocher0001Minnie The Moocher
84.0
 
1 84 84 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
6
Moodys Mood For Love0001Moody's Mood For Love
82.0
 
1 82 82 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
7
These Foolish Things0001These Foolish Things
82.0
 
1 82 82 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
8
Over The Rainbow0001Over The Rainbow
81.8
 
4 90 77 18.3 0 0 0 2 2
9
Youll Never Walk Alone0001You'll Never Walk Alone
From: Carousel
80.0
 
1 80 80 17.0 0 0 0 0 1
10
Once Upon A Dream0001Once Upon A Dream
79.0
 
1 79 79 25.0 0 0 0 1 0
11
It Had To Be You0001It Had To Be You
  • Standard
76.0
 
1 76 76 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
12
Summertime0001Summertime
From: Porgy & Bess
75.3
 
3 94 62 16.7 0 0 0 2 1
13
I Walk The Line0001I Walk The Line
75.0
 
1 75 75 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
14
Come Rain Or Come Shine0001Come Rain Or Come Shine
73.0
 
2 79 67 20.0 0 0 0 2 0
15
That's All Right0001That's All Right
73.0
 
1 73 73 22.0 0 0 0 1 0
16
You Send Me0001You Send Me
73.0
 
1 73 73 17.0 0 0 0 1 0
17
Route 660001Route 66
70.0
 
1 70 70 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
18
Teach Me Tonight0001Teach Me Tonight
67.0
 
1 67 67 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
19
Someone To Watch Over Me0001Someone To Watch Over Me
66.0
 
4 87 48 19.8 0 0 2 1 1
20
Somewhere0001Somewhere
From: West Side Story
66.0
 
3 88 23 14.3 0 1 0 0 2
21
Trouble 10001Trouble
65.3
 
3 86 48 19.7 0 0 1 1 1
22
Mack The Knife0001Mack The Knife
65.0
 
2 72 58 19.5 0 0 1 1 0
23
Cry Me A River0001Cry Me A River
62.0
 
1 62 62 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
24
Hello Young Lovers0001Hello, Young Lovers
From: The King And I
62.0
 
1 62 62 17.0 0 0 0 1 0
25
My Funny Valentine0001My Funny Valentine
61.7
 
6 92 39 19.0 0 1 2 2 1
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