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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


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
951
If It Hadn't Been For Love0001If It Hadn't Been For Love
37.0
 
1 37 37 22.0 0 1 0 0 0
952
Just A Kiss0001Just A Kiss
37.0
 
1 37 37 22.0 0 1 0 0 0
953
Just Once0001Just Once
23.0
 
2 37 9 13.5 1 1 0 0 0
954
Lost0001Lost
37.0
 
1 37 37 22.0 0 1 0 0 0
955
Love Hurts0001Love Hurts
37.0
 
1 37 37 23.0 0 1 0 0 0
956
Moves Like Jagger0001Moves Like Jagger
37.0
 
1 37 37 21.0 0 1 0 0 0
957
Nature Boy0001Nature Boy
37.0
 
1 37 37 26.0 0 1 0 0 0
958
Never Tear Us Apart0001Never Tear Us Apart
37.0
 
1 37 37 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
959
One Hand One Heart0001One Hand, One Heart
From: West Side Story
37.0
 
1 37 37 17.0 0 1 0 0 0
960
Roxanne0001Roxanne
37.0
 
1 37 37 23.0 0 1 0 0 0
961
Save Me0001Save Me
37.0
 
1 37 37 20.0 0 1 0 0 0
962
Waiting On The World To Change0001Waiting On The World To Change
29.0
 
2 37 21 18.5 0 2 0 0 0
963
Wild Angels0001Wild Angels
35.5
 
2 37 34 22.0 0 2 0 0 0
964
Aint Misbehavin0001Ain't Misbehavin'
36.0
 
1 36 36 19.0 0 1 0 0 0
965
Best Day Of My Life0001Best Day Of My Life
36.0
 
1 36 36 16.0 0 1 0 0 0
966
Cant Buy Me Love0001Can't Buy Me Love
36.0
 
1 36 36 15.0 0 1 0 0 0
967
Edge Of Seventeen0001Edge Of Seventeen
36.0
 
1 36 36 26.0 0 1 0 0 0
968
Here We Are0001Here We Are
36.0
 
1 36 36 19.0 0 1 0 0 0
969
I Wont Dance0001I Won't Dance
36.0
 
1 36 36 13.0 0 1 0 0 0
970
If Youre Not The One0001If You're Not The One
36.0
 
1 36 36 18.0 0 1 0 0 0
971
Incomplete0001Incomplete
36.0
 
1 36 36 22.0 0 1 0 0 0
972
Live For Loving You0001Live For Loving You
36.0
 
1 36 36 17.0 0 1 0 0 0
973
Long Long Road0001Long Long Road
American Idol original song
36.0
 
1 36 36 10.0 0 1 0 0 0
974
MacArthur Park0001MacArthur Park
31.5
 
2 36 27 22.5 0 2 0 0 0
975
Radio0001Radio
36.0
 
1 36 36 20.0 0 1 0 0 0
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