Five songs American Idol contestants shouldn’t perform this season unless they’re idiots

You know what else everyone hates at karaoke bars? The new couple singing some stupid duet.

You know what else everyone hates at karaoke bars? The new couple singing some stupid duet.

In a couple of weeks American Idol is moving on to live shows – which is great – where producers will give them a sheet of songs to pick from – which isn’t so great.

Contestants are terrible at picking songs. They bring voice coaches, spiritual advisers, family for support but nobody brings a song selection guy. The contestants all figure they can pick the right song because they know what kind of artist they are and what they should perform. All contestants should have a “strategic adviser” who picks songs that will help them advance on the show.

You know who else has a similar type of “I know better than everyone else” attitude? The chick who was in the high school chorus 10 years ago that’s singing country ballads at karaoke night. Nobody wants to hear that garbage. If you sing at a karaoke bar your No. 1 goal is to entertain. You’re not winning American Idol drinking whiskey sours at some craphole bar.

(PS This remains the greatest karaoke performance. Kid sings Smash Mouth’s “All Star” over John Lennon’s “Imagine.” That’s balls. If someone did this on Idol it would supplant Lambert Lambert as the best song in Idol history)

You can get away with ballads if you’re on American Idol, but the goal is still the same. You have to entertain the voting audience with song and performance. If you pick some indie band song nobody has heard of, you’d better hope somebody forgets the words because you’re going home. Pick a song with a huge note and miss? You’re on the first train back home preparing for a career in hosting trivia night at local bars.

Song choices are gambling, but if you figure out the audience you can do well. As much as Idol wants to say it’s got a young votership, it’s just not true. There’s a reason WGWG have dominated and it’s because cougars, panthers or whatever older women call themselves have taken over as the primary voters. Appeal to them and you’ll go far but they’ll turn on you in a second.

You need to be original, but don’t get cute. And that means staying the hell away from these five songs.


I know. Everyone loves Adele. She’s brilliant. Women love Adele more than their own children – who they almost named Adele – and family. But singing Adele is a bad, bad decision. It’s like that scene in The Social Network when Jesse Eisenberg says to the d-bag twins – “If you invented Facebook you would have invented Facebook.” If you were good enough to sing Adele, you would be Adele. Someone is inevitably going to try and sing “Hello” and one of things will happen: 1) it will be OK; 2) It will be bad.

Fetty Wap
“Trap Queen”

This really isn’t limited to Trap Queen. Pretty much anything by Fetty is going to sound bad when sung by a hipster with skinny jeans and side-slicked hair. Plus, Trap Queen is about a man who trusts his woman so much he lets her cook his crack cocaine. There is no other interpretation, so when Harry asks “what’s your interpretation” you’d better be a drug dealer, and not just weed. Weed doesn’t count.

This really only applies to the white contestants. We ruin everything. See, it already happened to Fetty.

Don’t let it happen again. Looking at you WGWGs.

The Weeknd
“Can’t Feel My Face”

This song applies both to context and talent. The Weeknd is the best male vocalist going right now. He’s a modern-day Michael Jackson (minus the pedophilia and other weird stuff) and if you’re going to try and sing one of his songs, you’d better rearrange it so no one can tell it was his.

But whatever you do, don’t rearrange this song. It’s about cocaine addiction. I don’t need some 16-year old Idol who thinks sneaking some sips of Hard Root Beer makes them qualified to sing about this. The only way, and I mean the only way anyone should sing this is if they say “I chose this song because I had/have a massive cocaine habit. Brushed my teeth with the stuff.”

Any Song Considered a Legendary Idol Performance

It’s pretty simple. Don’t sing songs that are gonna make judges/fans/anyone think about the time Clarkson/Underwood/Lambert/Cook performed it. Once you start getting compared to Idol royalty and it’s clear you aren’t as good as Idol royalty, you’re cooked and I’m not talking David. You can sing “Alone,” but you better not be trying to do it just like Carrie did because you’re going to sound like a drunken karaoke bar rat nine times out of 10.

This is really the toughest part of Idol. You need to sing the song so nobody compares the contestant to the original artist. Problem is when you sing a song a previous Idol sang, it’s impossible not to compare the contestant to the contestant to the original Idol, or something like that.

Bro Country

There’s a certain strategy and singing bro country is a good way to get booted from the show. There’s a good reason country singers don’t win Idol unless they have a gimmick, like a voice that sounds like a cartoon Tugboat. Country music is popular but most people who listen to “country music” are listening to the terrible bro country that’s all about drinking beers, hanging out at the beach and doing all the crap white people love to do. That’s not country music. That’s pop music with guitars and banjos and the people who listen to it are terrible people but they don’t exclusively listen to that garbage.

If you’re going to sing real, old-school country, that’ll play well with voters as a whole. If you’re gonna play Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Brian Kelly or any other song by a guy with two first names, you’re not going to win Idol.

Any I’m missing here? Tweet me @DudesReviewIdol or comment below.