'American Idol': 12 Songs That Should Be Banned from the Show Forever!
It would require great hubris, or complete ignorance of Idol history, for a contestant to cover the one song that's indelibly linked to the success of the insanely popular Underwood. And yet that's exactly what season 6's Gina Glocksen and season 7's Ramiele Malubay did in selecting ''Alone,'' the soaring Heart number that catapulted Carrie Underwood from reality show hopeful to musical superstar. Hey, maybe for an encore, Gina or Ramiele could rip the mic out of Aretha's hands midway through a rendition of ''Respect''? (Okay, okay, Allison Iraheta provided the exception to the rule in the season 8 semifinals, but The Rocker doesn't follow the EW playbook, she rewrites it!)
Anything from the Stevie Wonder songbook
Over the past nine seasons of Idol, close to 40 atrocities have been committed against the music of Stevie Wonder — and we're not even counting the audition rounds. There was A.J. Gil bludgeoning ''My Cherie Amour'' with a vibrato baton in season 1. There was Camile Velasco smothering ''For Once in My Life'' with her nasal whine in season 3. And let us not even speak of the crime perpetrated against ''Knocks Me Off My Feet'' by season 6's Sanjaya Malakar (pictured). In light of the evidence, it's a wonder that Wonder hasn't sought a restraining order.
''Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," Phil Collins
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Which is why we question what was going through the damn minds of Corey Clark, George Huff, Jessica Sierra, Scott Savol, Katharine McPhee, Ramiele Malubay (pictured), and most recently Paige Miles when they each offered a lackluster rendition of the same overwrought Collins ballad, now the No. 1 most-covered song in Idol semifinals/finals history. Hey, kids, if you like the Genesis frontman so much, might we suggest ''Sussudio''?
''I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),'' The Four Tops
Idol loves the Motown sound, and who are we to argue? But let's be honest: the phrase ''sugar pie honey bunch'' should be reserved for cereal commercials and golden oldies stations. Just ask R.J. Helton, Clay Aiken, and Scott Savol (pictured), none of whom benefited from attempting this woefully dated number.
''I Have Nothing,'' Whitney Houston
Every diva-in-waiting wants to prove she can tackle the greatest balladeer of all — regardless of Simon's words of warning about Whitney's untouchable status. Fair enough. But how come Trenyce (pictured), Jennifer Hudson, Leah Labelle, Vonzell Solomon, Katharine McPhee, and LaKisha Jones all settled on the same exact track, when Ms. Houston's Greatest Hits compilation is a two-disc set? Is ''I Have Nothing'' really that incredible, or do Idol's producers need to invest a little more time (and money) clearing tracks for use on the show?
''Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me,'' Elton John
Here's a curious Idol factoid: Over the course of eight seasons, Elton John's 1974 ballad has not only reared its overdone head six separate times, but on three of those occasions it was foisted on contestants via ''Clive Davis's choice'' (for Bo Bice and David Archuleta) or judges' choice (Justin Guarini). (The other three finalists who chose to cover the song were Jorge Nuñez, Clay Aiken and Jasmine Trias.) Note to Mr. Davis: You may have signed everyone from Janis Joplin to Aerosmith to Billy Joel, but your skills in the Idol song-selection department are just ai'ight for us, dawg.
''Son of a Preacher Man,'' Dusty Springfield
Hey, here's an idea! Let's have a moratorium on teenage female contestants — in the tradition of season 3's Camile Velasco and season 4's Mikalah Gordon (pictured) — singing about their sexual awakening at the hands of the offspring of their family's religious adviser! Actually, given the way 23-year-old Julia DeMato manhandled the number in season 2, perhaps it's best to outlaw it from Idol altogether.
''I Believe,'' Fantasia Barrino
Everyone knows Idol coronation songs are nothing but sentimental dreck. So why in the name of all that's holy have two separate seasons featured deluded songbirds (LaKisha Jones, pictured and Syesha Mercado) volunteering for a mission that only Fantasia Barrino and a full gospel chorus could successfully complete?
''It's Raining Men,'' The Weather Girls
Note to future contestants: If you're flirting with the idea of covering a novelty disco hit, please reconsider — especially if said song features an exceedingly difficult vocal line that nearly felled big-voiced Kelly Clarkson and Kimberly Locke, and left poor Jasmine Trias (pictured) gasping like an asthma sufferer in a pollen factory.
''Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,'' Gloria Estefan
Let's be honest: The entire Gloria Estefan oeuvre should be strictly verboten for all future editions of Idol. But as season 3 star LaToya London and season 6 champ Jordin Sparks (pictured) will tell you, it's especially hard to sound cool when you're paired with a lyric about hiding beneath a blanket to escape the relentless pursuit of...the rhythm.
''My Girl,'' The Temptations
Unless you're at a Temptations' reunion concert, ''My Girl'' is best relegated to karaoke bars and wedding receptions. And yes, that is meant as an insult to Aaron Kelly (season 9), John Stevens (season 3, pictured), EJay Day (season 1), and Mark Scott (season 1 seminfinalist). Not to worry, I forgot that last dude, too.