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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 (1960s only)


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
Build Me Up Buttercup0001Build Me Up Buttercup
93.0
 
1 93 93 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
2
Will You Love Me Tomorrow0001Will You Love Me Tomorrow
92.0
 
1 92 92 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
3
Dont Rain On My Parade0001Don't Rain On My Parade
91.0
 
1 91 91 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
Whipping Post0001Whipping Post
90.0
 
1 90 90 20.0 0 0 0 0 1
5
Whole Lotta Love0001Whole Lotta Love
88.5
 
2 93 84 19.0 0 0 0 0 2
6
People Get Ready0001People Get Ready
88.0
 
1 88 88 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
7
Homeward Bound0001Homeward Bound
87.0
 
1 87 87 17.0 0 0 0 0 1
8
Sweet Sweet Baby Since Youve Been Gone0001(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone
87.0
 
1 87 87 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
9
What Is And What Should Never Be0001What Is And What Should Never Be
85.0
 
1 85 85 24.0 0 0 0 0 1
10
House Of Rising Sun0001House Of The Rising Sun
84.5
 
2 94 75 14.0 0 0 0 1 1
11
Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down0001Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
84.0
 
1 84 84 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
12
Donít Make Me Over0001Don’t Make Me Over
82.0
 
1 82 82 10.0 0 0 0 0 1
13
Fool In Love0001Fool In Love
82.0
 
2 83 81 13.5 0 0 0 0 2
14
Shes A Woman0001She's A Woman
82.0
 
1 82 82 19.0 0 0 0 0 1
15
Saved0001Saved
81.0
 
1 81 81 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
16
Come See About Me0001Come See About Me
80.0
 
1 80 80 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
17
Since I Fell For You0001Since I Fell For You
80.0
 
1 80 80 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
18
You Cant Always Get What You Want0001You Can't Always Get What You Want
80.0
 
1 80 80 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
19
Seven Day Fool0001Seven Day Fool
79.0
 
1 79 79 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
20
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)0001I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
78.5
 
2 80 77 14.0 0 0 0 1 1
21
Im A Woman0001I'm A Woman
78.5
 
2 88 69 13.5 0 0 0 1 1
22
To Love Somebody0001To Love Somebody
77.3
 
4 87 68 18.0 0 0 0 3 1
23
All Along The Watchtower0001All Along The Watchtower
77.0
 
1 77 77 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
24
Daydream0001Daydream
77.0
 
1 77 77 17.0 0 0 0 1 0
25
Dazed And Confused0001Dazed And Confused
76.5
 
2 88 65 20.0 0 0 0 1 1
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