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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. 2 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
Folsom Prison Blues0001Folsom Prison Blues
50.5
 
2 58 43 26.5 0 0 2 0 0
2
Somebody To Love0001Somebody To Love
55.5
 
2 68 43 26.0 0 0 1 1 0
3
Black Velvet0001Black Velvet
56.5
 
2 57 56 25.5 0 0 2 0 0
4
Circle Of Life0001Circle Of Life
70.5
 
2 89 52 25.0 0 0 1 0 1
5
Bring Me To Life0001Bring Me To Life
74.0
 
2 77 71 24.5 0 0 0 2 0
6
One0001One
48.0
 
2 49 47 24.5 0 0 2 0 0
7
Rolling In Deep0001Rolling In The Deep
76.0
 
3 82 69 24.3 0 0 0 2 1
8
Bridge Over Troubled Water0001Bridge Over Troubled Water
65.5
 
2 86 45 24.0 0 0 1 0 1
9
Fat Bottomed Girls0001Fat Bottomed Girls
41.0
 
2 51 31 24.0 0 1 1 0 0
10
Kiss From A Rose0001Kiss From A Rose
36.0
 
2 51 21 24.0 0 1 1 0 0
11
She Believes In Me0001She Believes In Me
38.0
 
2 47 29 24.0 0 1 1 0 0
12
Show Must Go On0001The Show Must Go On
49.3
 
3 66 21 24.0 0 1 0 2 0
13
Yesterday0001Yesterday
63.0
 
2 64 62 24.0 0 0 0 2 0
14
Youre Still The One0001You're Still The One
36.0
 
2 40 32 24.0 0 1 1 0 0
15
Hallelujah0001Hallelujah
70.3
 
3 86 54 23.7 0 0 1 1 1
16
Bad Romance0001Bad Romance
41.0
 
2 46 36 23.5 0 1 1 0 0
17
What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?0001What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?
67.0
 
2 72 62 23.5 0 0 0 2 0
18
Who Wants To Live Forever0001Who Wants To Live Forever
41.5
 
2 57 26 23.5 0 1 1 0 0
19
Falling Slowly0001Falling Slowly
73.7
 
3 79 65 23.3 0 0 0 3 0
20
Jailhouse Rock0001Jailhouse Rock
46.7
 
3 60 38 23.3 0 1 1 1 0
21
A Change Is Gonna Come0001A Change Is Gonna Come
63.8
 
5 75 57 23.0 0 0 2 3 0
22
Any Man Of Mine0001Any Man Of Mine
38.0
 
3 49 23 23.0 0 1 2 0 0
23
I Guess Thats Why They Call It The Blues0001I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
22.0
 
2 26 18 23.0 1 1 0 0 0
24
In The Midnight Hour0001In The Midnight Hour
51.5
 
2 57 46 23.0 0 0 2 0 0
25
Rocket Man0001Rocket Man
30.0
 
3 39 24 23.0 0 3 0 0 0
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