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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 (1970s 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
Solitaire0001Solitaire
92.0
 
1 92 92 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
2
Long As I Can See The Light0001Long As I Can See The Light
90.0
 
1 90 90 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
3
Jealous Guy0001Jealous Guy
89.0
 
1 89 89 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
Treat Her Like A Lady0001Treat Her Like A Lady
89.0
 
1 89 89 17.0 0 0 0 0 1
5
Band Of Gold0001Band Of Gold
88.0
 
1 88 88 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
6
Slow Ride0001Slow Ride
88.0
 
1 88 88 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
7
Kiss And Say Goodbye0001Kiss And Say Goodbye
87.0
 
1 87 87 17.0 0 0 0 0 1
8
Vienna0001Vienna
87.0
 
1 87 87 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
9
Take Me To The Pilot0001Take Me To The Pilot
86.0
 
1 86 86 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
10
I Who Have Nothing0001I (Who Have Nothing)
85.4
 
5 92 75 13.0 0 0 0 1 4
11
Higher Ground0001Higher Ground
84.0
 
1 84 84 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
12
Ive Got The Music In Me0001I've Got The Music In Me
84.0
 
1 84 84 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
13
Its All Wrong But Its Alright0001It's All Wrong But It's Alright
83.0
 
1 83 83 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
14
Youre So Vain0001You're So Vain
83.0
 
1 83 83 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
15
Candle In The Wind0001Candle In The Wind
81.0
 
1 81 81 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
16
Beautiful0001Beautiful
80.0
 
1 80 80 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
17
Crazy On You0001Crazy On You
80.0
 
1 80 80 10.0 0 0 0 0 1
18
For The Love Of Money0001For The Love Of Money
80.0
 
1 80 80 19.0 0 0 0 0 1
19
Nutbush City Limits0001Nutbush City Limits
80.0
 
1 80 80 22.0 0 0 0 0 1
20
Someone Saved My Life Tonight0001Someone Saved My Life Tonight
80.0
 
1 80 80 15.0 0 0 0 0 1
21
Everybody Has A Dream0001Everybody Has A Dream
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
22
If I Cant Have You0001If I Can't Have You
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
23
Vehicle0001Vehicle
79.0
 
2 88 70 13.5 0 0 0 1 1
24
All The Time0001All The Time
78.0
 
1 78 78 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
25
Cause I Love You0001Cause I Love You
78.0
 
1 78 78 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
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