Like the stabbing victim at the center of Murder on the Orient Express, this Phil Collins ditty has sustained grave injuries from multiple contestants through the years.
Performed by: Corey Clark (S2), George Huff (S3), Jessica Sierra (S4), Scott Savol (S4), Katharine McPhee (S5), Ramiele Malubay (S7) and Paige Miles (S9, pictured).
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
Granted, this soaring Elton John number hasn't been as badly roughed up as "Against All Odds," but after seven different covers, it needs to be treated like a dehydrated marathon runner, wrapped in a foil poncho and taken from the Idol stage via ambulance.
Performed by: Justin Guarini (S1), Clay Aiken (S2), Jasmine Trias (S3), Bo Bice (S4), David Archuleta (S7), Jorge Nuñez (S8, pictured) and Pia Toscano (S10).
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
You gotta be cool/ Relax/ Get hip/ Stop covering this track/ Take a back seat/ No like/ Run the song over with a motorbike/ Time to retire…Crazy Little Thing Called Love!”
Performed by: Fantasia Barrino (S3), David Radford (S5), Taylor Hicks (S5), Tim Urban (S9, pictured) and Joshua Ledet (S11).
“Dance With My Father”
With only four covers over 11 prior seasons, the Luther Vandross ballad hasn’t been as done-to-death as some of the other songs on our countdown, but after being subjected to its mawkish sentimentality not once but twice last year, swift action must be taken.
Performed by: Scott Savol (S4), Jacob Lusk (S10), Jermaine Jones (S11, pictured) and Jessica Sanchez (S11).
Frankly, a total ban on the entire Stevie Wonder songbook wouldn't be such a bad idea, but this particular uptempo track has reared its head for four straight Idol seasons. To quote Mr. Wonder himself, "Superstition ain't the way."
Performed by: RJ Helton (S1), Bucky Covington (S5), Ricky “He Was Robbed!” Braddy (S8, pictured), Siobhan Magnus (S9), Clint Jun Gamboa (S10), Phillip Phillips (S11).
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”
And I am telling you, I’m not going to be happy if one more contestant uses this Dreamgirls soundtrack gem to spread his or her peacock feathers (vocally speaking) and not-so-subtly demand another week in the competition from the judges/audience. J’enough!
Performed by: Tamyra Gray (S1), Melanie Sanders (S1), LaKisha Jones (S6), Nick Mitchell (aka Normund Gentle) (S8, pictured), Ashthon Jones (S10) and Jessica Sanchez (S11).
This 1987 Heart track is a good example of why a song shouldn't necessarily be retired from the Idol stage just because a prior contestant sang the bejeezus out of it. After all, Carrie Underwood slayed the octave-scaling beast in Season 4, then Allison Iraheta gave it her own memorable treatment in Season 8. But after what Jacob Lusk did to it two years ago, it’s time to move on…maybe to "What About Love" or "These Dreams" or "Nothin' at All"? Come on, Uncle Nigel, America (and the Wilson sisters) will thank you.
Performed by: Carrie Underwood (S4), Gina Glocksen (S6), Ramiele Malubay (S7), Allison Iraheta (S8) and Jacob Lusk (S10, pictured).
“Turn the Beat Around”
Let’s be honest: Idol‘s wide-eyed divas-in-training are rarely capable of giving a quarter turn, let alone a full rotation, to Vicki Sue Robinson’s disco classic.
Performed by: Carmen Rasmusen (S2), Diana DeGarmo (S3), Amanda Avila (S4), Haley Scarnato (S6, pictured) and Jessica Sanchez (S11).
“It’s always gonna be an uphill battle” for an insecure teenage girl being judged by an all-star panel and 20 million viewers. I just wish that teenage girl would come with a more original way to express her struggles, y’know?
Performed by: Haeley Vaughn (S9), Lauren Alaina (S10) and Hollie Cavanagh (S11, pictured).
“I Have Nothing”
All hail the reigning champion of Idol‘s overplayed ballads! Yes, folks, it’s the Whitney Houston Bodyguard soundtrack cut that has never been elevated to anything better than solid karaoke in eight separate renditions over the course of 11 seasons! SOMEBODY MAKE IT STOP ALREADY!
Performed by: Trenyce (S2), Leah Labelle (S3), Jennifer Hudson (S3), Vonzell Solomon (S4), Katharine McPhee (S5, pictured), LaKisha Jones (S6), Shannon Magrane (S10) and Jessica Sanchez (S11).
In the aftermath of Jason Castro’s electrifying Season 7 cover, Leonard Cohen’s stirring but enigmatic ditty has been used on Idol — and countless other reality-competitions — as a kind of lazy shorthand to tell viewers that it's time to feel something. Personally, I feel like never hearing it on the show again.
Performed by: Jason Castro (S7), Tim Urban (S9) and Lee DeWyze (S9, pictured). (Plus, X Factor‘s Carly Rose Sonenclar and Josh Krajcik).
"(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave"
If the definition of insanity is repeating the same played-out Idol song over and over again and expecting a less disappointing result, then perhaps some high-ranking Fox executive could call a moratorium on the madness?
Performed by: Kimberley Locke (S2), Jennifer Hudson (S3), Vonzell Solomon (S4), Lil Rounds (S8, pictured) and Thia Megia (S10).
Honestly, Mariah Carey already has enough on her plate feuding with Nicki Minaj. Could we spare her the indignity of hearing yet another subpar rendition of her treacle-y 1993 ballad?
Performed by: Heather Cox (S5), Brooke White (S7), Danny Gokey (S8, pictured) and Karen Rodriguez (S10).
“I Believe I Can Fly”
If you need a paragraph explaining why Idol producers should give R. Kelly’s “inspirational” ballad the permanent hook, then the entire concept of a “Banned Songs List” is probably not going to resonate with you on any level.
Performed by: Anwar Robinson (S4), Katharine McPhee (S5), Aaron Kelly (S9, pictured) and Jacob Lusk (S10).
"I'll Be"/"I Don't Want to Be"
Okay, so maybe it's cheating to combine two songs in one swoop, but time and again, these midtempo rockers by Edwin McCain and Gavin DeGraw have been trotted out by male contestants to milquetoast, middle-of-the-road effect. Also, holy crap, I almost fell asleep just writing this paragraph.
“I’ll Be” performed by: EJay Day (S1), Josh Gracin (S2), Bo Bice (S4), Jovany Barreto (S10, pictured) and (because the Internet told me so) Adriel Herrera (S1).
“I Don’t Want to Be” performed by: Bo Bice (S4), Elliott Yamin (S5), Chris Richardson (S6), Michael Sarver (S8) and Casey James (S9).
“A Change Is Gonna Come”
You know what change I’d like to see? Idol producers deciding it’s time for Sam Cooke’s civil-rights anthem to be retired from the show’s oeuvre — immédiatement.
Performed by: Gedeon McKinney (S5), Syesha Mercado (S7), Adam Lambert (S8), Lilly “She Shoulda Been a Contender!” Scott (S9, pictured) and Joshua Ledet (S11).
“Piece of My Heart”
This epic “woman done wrong” anthem is simply not the kind of howling rocker that translates to the Idol stage. To twist one of Janis Joplin’s own lyrics to fit the situation, “Each time I hear this on Idol, I think, ‘Dang, I’ve had enough!'”
Performed by: Nikki McKibbin (S1), Candice Coleman (S2), Carrie Underwood (S4), Asia’h Epperson (S7, pictured) and Haley Reinhart (S10).
“Any Man of Mine”
Contestants probably think Shania Twain’s upbeat stomper is an easy way to “have fun” and capture some down-home “country spirit.” Two out of the three times it’s been sung, though, it’s captured a one-way ticket back home.
Performed by: Mandisa (S5), Siobhan Magnus (S9, pictured) and Lauren Alaina (S10).
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
Even before Idol added Steven Tyler to its cast, this ditty was being performed ad nauseum by contestants both great and middling. If it rears its head again during a Season 12 performance show, I’m going to start praying for Armageddon (which, perhaps not coincidentally, is the name of the movie from which this soundtrack ballad hails).
Performed by: Josh Gracin (S2), Lindsey Cardinale (S4), Antonella Barba (S6), David Cook (S7), Allison Iraheta (S8), Aaron Kelly (S9) and Jessica Sanchez (S11, pictured).
“A Little Less Conversation”
On a show where ballads seem to outpace uptempo numbers by a ratio of something like a gugillion-to-one, it’s hard to lobby against a jaunty hip-swiveler. Unfortunately, when this particular track is being performed by anyone other than Elvis Presley, it comes across as campy to the point of joke-dom. Plus, it was the downfall of Season 5 standout Chris Daughtry. You ready to run it out of town with brickbats and torches yet? Let’s do this!
Performed by: Jon Peter Lewis (S3), Chris Daughtry (S5, pictured), Jackie Tohn (S8) and Lee DeWyze (S9).
Which songs would you ban from Idol? Did we miss any obvious picks? Call out some songs unfairly? Sound off in the comments!