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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
1
Love Song Cure0001Lovesong
76.0
 
2 96 56 14.0 0 0 1 0 1
2
Billie Jean0001Billie Jean
95.0
 
1 95 95 12.0 0 0 0 0 1
3
Stuff Like That There0001Stuff Like That There
95.0
 
1 95 95 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
4
House Of Rising Sun0001House Of The Rising Sun
84.5
 
2 94 75 14.0 0 0 0 1 1
5
In A Dream0001In A Dream
94.0
 
1 94 94 11.0 0 0 0 0 1
6
Mad World0001Mad World
87.0
 
2 94 80 19.0 0 0 0 0 2
7
Summertime0001Summertime
From: Porgy & Bess
75.3
 
3 94 62 16.7 0 0 0 2 1
8
Build Me Up Buttercup0001Build Me Up Buttercup
93.0
 
1 93 93 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
9
Ill Stand By You0001I'll Stand By You
75.0
 
3 93 51 18.0 0 0 1 0 2
10
Imagine0001Imagine
60.7
 
6 93 39 19.7 0 1 3 1 1
11
Whole Lotta Love0001Whole Lotta Love
88.5
 
2 93 84 19.0 0 0 0 0 2
12
A House Is Not A Home0001A House Is Not A Home
68.5
 
4 92 39 17.0 0 1 1 0 2
13
All By Myself0001All By Myself
56.8
 
5 92 23 15.0 0 2 0 1 2
14
Hemorrhage In My Hands0001Hemorrhage (In My Hands)
92.0
 
1 92 92 6.0 0 0 0 0 1
15
I Who Have Nothing0001I (Who Have Nothing)
85.4
 
5 92 75 13.0 0 0 0 1 4
16
I Will Always Love You0001I Will Always Love You
66.0
 
3 92 53 16.0 0 0 2 0 1
17
My Funny Valentine0001My Funny Valentine
66.2
 
5 92 43 18.8 0 0 2 2 1
18
Solitaire0001Solitaire
92.0
 
1 92 92 14.0 0 0 0 0 1
19
Will You Love Me Tomorrow0001Will You Love Me Tomorrow
92.0
 
1 92 92 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
20
Dont Rain On My Parade0001Don't Rain On My Parade
91.0
 
1 91 91 13.0 0 0 0 0 1
21
New York State Of Mind0001New York State Of Mind
68.7
 
3 91 47 15.3 0 0 1 1 1
22
When A Man Loves A Woman0001When A Man Loves A Woman
50.0
 
6 91 19 18.0 1 1 3 0 1
23
A Whole New World0001A Whole New World
90.0
 
1 90 90 10.0 0 0 0 0 1
24
Aint No Sunshine0001Ain't No Sunshine
72.0
 
4 90 46 15.0 0 0 1 1 2
25
Bohemian Rhapsody0001Bohemian Rhapsody
57.3
 
3 90 38 22.7 0 1 1 0 1
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