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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 (1990s 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
Stuff Like That There0001Stuff Like That There
95.0
 
1 95 95 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
2
In A Dream0001In A Dream
94.0
 
1 94 94 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
3
A Whole New World0001A Whole New World
90.0
 
1 90 90 10.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
Nothing Compares 2 U0001Nothing Compares 2 U
89.0
 
1 89 89 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
5
Prayer0001The Prayer
84.0
 
1 84 84 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
6
Trouble Is A Woman0001Trouble Is A Woman
84.0
 
1 84 84 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
7
Give In To Me0001Give In To Me
83.0
 
1 83 83 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
8
Beauty and the Beast0001Beauty and the Beast
82.0
 
1 82 82 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
9
Black Or White0001Black Or White
82.0
 
1 82 82 29.0 0 0 0 0 1
10
Sting Me0001Sting Me
82.0
 
1 82 82 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
11
Sin Wagon0001Sin Wagon
80.0
 
2 89 71 19.0 0 0 0 1 1
12
Hand In My Pocket0001Hand In My Pocket
79.0
 
1 79 79 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
13
All I Really Need Is You0001All I Really Need Is You
77.0
 
1 77 77 16.0 0 0 0 1 0
14
Blaze Of Glory0001Blaze Of Glory
77.0
 
1 77 77 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
15
This Aint A Love Song0001This Ain't A Love Song
77.0
 
1 77 77 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
16
Always Be My Baby0001Always Be My Baby
76.0
 
1 76 76 24.0 0 0 0 1 0
17
If We Hold On Together0001If We Hold On Together
75.0
 
1 75 75 13.0 0 0 0 1 0
18
Ill Stand By You0001I'll Stand By You
75.0
 
3 93 51 18.0 0 0 1 0 2
19
Think Twice0001Think Twice
75.0
 
1 75 75 21.0 0 0 0 1 0
20
Babylon0001Babylon
74.0
 
1 74 74 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
21
Can You Feel The Love Tonight0001Can You Feel The Love Tonight
74.0
 
1 74 74 21.0 0 0 0 1 0
22
Give Me One Reason0001Give Me One Reason
74.0
 
3 90 60 14.3 0 0 0 2 1
23
Smoky Mountain Memories0001Smoky Mountain Memories
74.0
 
1 74 74 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
24
I Need To Know0001I Need To Know
73.0
 
1 73 73 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
25
Still Rainin0001Still Rainin'
73.0
 
1 73 73 22.0 0 0 0 1 0
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