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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 (2010s 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
Chandelier0001Chandelier
91.0
 
2 92 90 10.5 0 0 0 0 2
2
Blue Eyed Lie0001Blue Eyed Lie
89.0
 
1 89 89 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
3
Fancy0001Fancy
89.0
 
1 89 89 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
Waiting Game0001Waiting Game
89.0
 
1 89 89 10.0 0 0 0 0 1
5
Fairytales0001Fairytales
86.0
 
1 86 86 18.0 0 0 0 0 1
6
Skyfall0001Skyfall
84.0
 
1 84 84 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
7
Unbreakable Me0001Unbreakable Me
82.0
 
1 82 82 7.0 0 0 0 0 1
8
Crow And Butterfly0001The Crow & The Butterfly
81.0
 
1 81 81 16.0 0 0 0 0 1
9
Glory0001Glory
80.0
 
1 80 80 21.0 0 0 0 0 1
10
Dont Ever Let Your Children Grow Up0001Don't Ever Let Your Children Grow Up
79.0
 
1 79 79 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
11
Roses0001Roses
79.0
 
1 79 79 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
12
Stuttering0001Stuttering
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
13
Who You Are0001Who You Are
79.0
 
1 79 79 18.0 0 0 0 1 0
14
Flashlight0001Flashlight
78.0
 
1 78 78 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
15
Earned It0001Earned It
77.5
 
2 78 77 19.5 0 0 0 2 0
16
Wings0001Wings
77.0
 
1 77 77 16.0 0 0 0 1 0
17
Tightrope0001Tightrope
76.5
 
2 79 74 16.0 0 0 0 2 0
18
Im Here0001I'm Here
76.0
 
1 76 76 17.0 0 0 0 1 0
19
Love The Way You Lie0001Love The Way You Lie
76.0
 
1 76 76 22.0 0 0 0 1 0
20
Summertime Sadness0001Summertime Sadness
76.0
 
1 76 76 21.0 0 0 0 1 0
21
Thinking Out Loud0001Thinking Out Loud
76.0
 
1 76 76 15.0 0 0 0 1 0
22
Back Home0001Back Home
75.0
 
1 75 75 20.0 0 0 0 1 0
23
Never Enough0001Never Enough
75.0
 
1 75 75 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
24
Turn On The Radio0001Turn On The Radio
75.0
 
1 75 75 21.0 0 0 0 1 0
25
All Of Me0001All Of Me
74.0
 
1 74 74 19.0 0 0 0 1 0
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