10 Songs I Never Want To Hear On American Idol Again

It’s week two of American Idol Season 12 and I thought this was a perfect time to post this article. Nothing makes me tune out more than when a contestant reveals they’ve chosen a song that’s been covered to death on Idol. Or even worse, a title so closely associated with another previous contestant, trying to match perfection would be a monumental task. “Alone” by Carrie Underwood, anyone?

Given the show’s long history, fans have been subjected to several songs so overused that the mere sight of them on paper, makes me vomit. You’d think with how much money the FOX singing competition rakes in, they could afford more songs and NOT limit Idol contestants to a rumored small selection list. Hopefully, this year’s crop of wannabe superstars have done their homework and discovered Idol fans don’t want to hear any of the following songs this season or the next.

Note to The X Factor and The Voice producers, this list applies to you as well. Picking fresher songs is one way to steal diehard Idol fans over. Without further ado, check out my Top 10 songs that have been so overplayed, I never want to hear them on Idol ever again. Be sure to post your comments afterward.

Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)

Original Artist: Phil Collins (1984)

American Idol Covers: Corey Clark (S2), George Huff (S3), Jessica Sierra (S4), Scott Savol (S4), Katharine McPhee (S5), Ramiele Malubay (S7), Paige Miles (S9)

Best Cover: None of them

I’m not joking. There’s not a one in the lot that kicked this ball out of the park. You’d think if no one’s killed it, why would anyone want to play with a ticking time bomb. If I had to choose the most tolerable, it’s McPhee’s version and only because she’s a “smashing” star now. On the flip side, it was a no-brainer choosing Paige Miles’ cover as the worst. Proceed with caution.

I Have Nothing

Original Artist: Whitney Houston

American Idol Covers: Trenyce (S2), Leah Labelle (S3), Jennifer Hudson (S3), Vonzell Solomon (S4), Katharine McPhee (S5), LaKisha Jones (S6), Shannon Magrane (S10), Jessica Sanchez (S11)

Best Cover: Trenyce

I previously wrote a post dedicated to all the Idol covers of this Whitney Houston classic. I ranked all the ladies from best to worst. Disclaimer: I wrote it before Jessica Sanchez gave her rousing rendition. If I were to add her in, I’d place her in the Top 3, but Trenyce still takes the cake, while Shannon lands face flat in it. Check out her painful cover below.

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

Original Artist: Aerosmith

American Idol Covers: Josh Gracin (S2), Lindsey Cardinale (S4), Antonella Barba (S6), David Cook (S7), Allison Iraheta (S8), Aaron Kelly (S9), Jessica Sanchez (S11)

Best Cover: David Cook

Picking the worst cover was a dead heat between Lindseay Cardinale and Antonella Barba. In the end, the much-ridiculed semi-finalist Barba won out. Before I checked out their performances again, I was ready to pick Aaron Kelly as the worst, but his country-tinged rendition wasn’t nearly as bad as those two ladies.

And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going

Original Artist: Jennifer Holiday

American Idol Covers: Tamyra Gray (S1), Melanie Sanders (S1), LaKisha Jones (S6), Nick Mitchell (aka Norman Gentle) (S8), Ashthon Jones (S10), Jessica Sanchez (S11)

Best Cover: Jessica Sanchez (DUH)

Sanchez’s show-stopping duet with Jennifer Holiday on the season finale of American Idol 11 was EPIC. The dueling diva hands and face-pulling was a sight to behold. Clearly, Norman Gentle was the easy pick here. While comical, it should’ve never made it to the semifinals stage. This is when you could start smelling the desperation from Idol producers.


Original Artist: Heart

American Idol Covers: Carrie Underwood (S4), Gina Glocksen (S6), Ramiele Malubay (S7), Allison Iraheta (S8), Jacob Lusk (S10)

Best Cover: Carrie Underwood

Anyone who watched Carrie’s performance live on television immediately knew this chick was going to win and become a huge star. It was one of those defining moments on American Idol. Why anyone would want to try to live up to Underwood’s perfection is beyond crazy? Ramiele, who was sick at the time, was in the running for worst cover, but Jacob’s odd arrangement and incessant wailing put him over the top, so to speak.


Original Artist: Leonard Cohen

American Idol Covers: Jason Castro (S7), Tim Urban (S9), Lee DeWyze (S9)

Best Cover: Jason Castro

Truth be told, no one has really sucked on this track. I’m just so tired of hearing it on all the competition shows. Enough already. Castro’s performance was his best during his run and the best of the trio above. Since Urban was often the butt of the joke, I picked him as the worst. In his defense, it was his best performance too.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

Original Artist: Elton John

American Idol Covers: Justin Guarini (S1), Clay Aiken (S2), Jasmine Trias (S3), Bo Bice (S4), David Archuleta (S7), Jorge Nuñez (S8), Pia Toscano (S10)

Best Cover: Clay Aiken

This track was Clay Aiken’s Carrie Underwood “Alone” moment. His version was pitch perfect. Most of the subsequent Idol covers tried to mimic his phrasing but to no avail. This was a tough one to pick, but in the end I chose Trias because it placed her in the Bottom 2 for the first time. Plus, Aiken’s version was still so fresh in everyone’s mind from the previous season.

Piece of My Heart

Original Artist: Janis Joplin

American Idol Covers: Nikki McKibbin (S1), Candice Coleman (S2), Carrie Underwood (S4), Asia’h Epperson (S7), Haley Reinhart (S10)

Best Cover: Haley Reinhart

For the sheer fact alone Nikki robbed Tamyra Gray a spot in the Final 3 should be a good enough reason to name her performance as the worst. Luckily for her, Asia’h Epperson’s cover is that bad. Plus, who puts a frigging apostrophe in the middle of their name for no reason. EPIC FAIL.


Original Artist: Mariah Carey

American Idol Covers: Heather Cox (S5), Brooke White (S7), Danny Gokey (S8), Karen Rodriguez (S10)

Best Cover: Surprise… Karen Rodriguez (The bilingual version was hot)

Brooke White is one of my favorite all-time Idol contestants. When she was in her wheelhouse, the girl was on FIRE. Sadly for her, it was Mariah Carey week and she was force to sing a big diva ballad. That said, I would’ve picked Heather Cox’s version as the worst, but I couldn’t find a video of her performance. So, Brooke got the short end of the stick and won the dishonorable honor.

I’ll Be

Original Artist: Edwin McCain

American Idol Covers: EJay Day (S1), Adriel Herrera (S1), Josh Gracin (S2), Bo Bice (S4), Jovany Barreto (S10)

Best Cover: Bo Bice

Truth be told, I’d say anything from Edwin McCain should be banned. “I’ll Be” and “I Don’t Want To Be” sorta blend in my head as the same song. Out of all the decisions I had to make for this post, picking Ejay Day’s awful rendition was the easiest choice. How he advanced to the Top 10 of Season 1 based on this performance is one of those unsolved Idol mysteries– like Jennifer Hudson placing in seventh.

Which Are The Most Overused Songs On American Idol?

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I should probably mention that “I Believe I Can Fly“, “Turn The Beat Around“, “I’ll Always Love You“, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” were in the running too, but just didn’t make the cut. Did I miss any particular song out? If so, which one? Sound off below. Also, if you disagree with a particular “worst” performance for any of the above songs, I’d like to hear your choices.

  • Josh

    Jacob Lusk was probably the worst contestant they’ve had in the last few years. Every week when J-Lo and Steven kept heaping praise on his nails-on-a-chalkboard performances I was speechless

  • JMC

    In Australia they banned Fallin’ by Alicia Keys from auditions because of the frequency hopefuls performed (destroyed) it.

  • justin

    the website “what not to sing” actually has a whole database on how many times a song was covered. pretty interesting site.
    hero was only 4 times which isnt that bad compared to the other songs.
    i think im just tired of hearing Beatles or by Beatles band members now.

  • Pidge

    How many times has “Dance with my father again” been done. Has to be the most boring sloppy song and every year out if comes along with sob story…..

  • Kevin Randles

    I don’t know where you came up with your list on who sung I Have Nothing, the best or worst but I just listened to the first 4 people and Leah and Trenyce need to be at the bottom, their performances were terrible and pitchy.