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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 (Min. 3 Perfs)


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 Who Have Nothing0001I (Who Have Nothing)
85.4
 
5 92 75 13.0 0 0 0 1 4
2
Mad World0001Mad World
84.3
 
3 94 79 16.3 0 0 0 1 2
3
Up To The Mountain0001Up To The Mountain
83.3
 
3 89 78 11.7 0 0 0 1 2
4
Over The Rainbow0001Over The Rainbow
81.8
 
4 90 77 18.3 0 0 0 2 2
5
Bring Me To Life0001Bring Me To Life
78.7
 
3 88 71 20.0 0 0 0 2 1
6
To Love Somebody0001To Love Somebody
77.3
 
4 87 68 18.0 0 0 0 3 1
7
Midnight Train To Georgia0001Midnight Train To Georgia
76.7
 
3 83 72 15.3 0 0 0 2 1
8
Summertime0001Summertime
From: Porgy & Bess
75.3
 
3 94 62 16.7 0 0 0 2 1
9
Ill Stand By You0001I'll Stand By You
75.0
 
3 93 51 18.0 0 0 1 0 2
10
Give Me One Reason0001Give Me One Reason
74.0
 
3 90 60 14.3 0 0 0 2 1
11
Falling Slowly0001Falling Slowly
73.7
 
3 79 65 23.3 0 0 0 3 0
12
Ready For Love0001Ready For Love
73.7
 
3 78 68 18.0 0 0 0 3 0
13
Always On My Mind0001Always On My Mind
72.8
 
5 86 60 20.4 0 0 0 4 1
14
Aint No Sunshine0001Ain't No Sunshine
72.4
 
5 90 46 17.4 0 0 1 2 2
15
Every Breath You Take0001Every Breath You Take
71.8
 
4 79 65 20.3 0 0 0 4 0
16
Maybe Im Amazed0001Maybe I'm Amazed
71.8
 
4 82 50 19.3 0 0 1 2 1
17
Diamonds0001Diamonds
71.7
 
3 87 43 20.3 0 0 1 0 2
18
Respect0001Respect
71.3
 
3 84 62 14.7 0 0 0 2 1
19
I Believe In You And Me0001I Believe In You And Me
70.8
 
4 72 67 19.3 0 0 0 4 0
20
Dont Let The Sun Go Down On Me0001Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
70.6
 
7 90 45 18.1 0 0 2 2 3
21
Inseparable0001Inseparable
70.3
 
3 87 60 18.7 0 0 0 2 1
22
Trouble 20001Trouble
70.0
 
3 75 63 18.0 0 0 0 3 0
23
What A Wonderful World0001What A Wonderful World
70.0
 
3 85 53 19.3 0 0 1 1 1
24
A House Is Not A Home0001A House Is Not A Home
69.8
 
5 92 39 17.2 0 1 1 1 2
25
Think0001Think
69.8
 
4 84 36 17.8 0 1 0 1 2
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