Television is overflowing with singing competition shows. From The Voice to American Idol to The X Factor, there is no shortage of chances to watch people dreaming of a big break. The moment Simon Cowell began crushing contestants around the world, we all became vocal experts and music critics.
The problem with there being so many seasons of these shows, is that we’ve basically heard the same songs over and over. Whitney, Mariah, Adele, Elton, The Beatles and Queen have all been covered in every possible arrangement. It’s time for some of these songs to be saved from awful renditions. With that in mind, these are the ten songs that should be retired from TV singing competitions.
10 SHALLOW - LADY GAGA AND BRADLEY COOPER
Though this song is new, it has very quickly become a regular on the circuit. In the year since the song was released and became a massive success, it has made the rounds on American Idol, The Voice and The Voice Australia, where Chynna Taylor had an amazing blind audition.
A particular problem with “Shallow” is that it sticks with you. If you hear it one time, you’ll be singing it for the rest of the week. It’s also one of Lady Gaga’s hardest songs to sing, so it’s not something everyone can handle.
9 ALONE - HEART
There are certain songs that make an appearance at the same moment in every show. When a contestant has sung too many ballads and the judges want to know she can sing something else, you know “Alone” by Heart is coming up.
Ann Wilson has a voice that can’t be replicated by regular humans, so most of the time viewers are getting a karaoke version of the ‘80s hit. It’s a fun sing-along tune, but we’ve heard so many renditions, they’re all starting to run together. Plus, no one will ever top Carrie Underwood on American Idol.
8 FEELING GOOD - NINA SIMONE
Standards are always popular, but there are a few that come up more than others. Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” is the song that contestants use to show they can be more mainstream or to show they’re not like everyone else. We McDonald’s blind audition is an example of how it works really well.
It’s true that the Michael Buble remake has bolstered its popularity, but it’s time for aspiring stars to find a new classic. With every bland performance, the song loses its ability to help them stand out in the crowd.
7 PIECE OF MY HEART - JANIS JOPLIN
If you’re a fan of singing shows, you know the exact moment when “Piece of My Heart” will show up. It’s always during rock and roll week, when someone wants to show how big their voice is. Honestly, we don’t think there’s ever been a season of American Idol where someone didn’t perform it.
We’re not expecting these singers to sound like Janis Joplin, but it would be nice if a few of them did more than scream for two minutes. On the other hand, if you nail it, it can put you on the map, like Haley Reinhart during season 10 of American Idol.
6 NEVER ENOUGH - LOREN ALLRED
The Greatest Showman soundtrack was one of the best selling albums of 2018, so it’s no surprise that many of the songs have made the rounds on all the shows. For awhile it seemed like “This is Me” would be the one we got sick of, but “Never Enough” very quickly took the lead.
It’s a massive song that falls into the big risk, big reward category. It’s an amazing showcase when done right, like America’s Got Talent’s Glennis Grace, but it can lead to instant elimination for someone with an ok voice.
5 DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME -ELTON JOHN
Elton John is a staple of the singing show circuit. American Idol and The X Factor routinely have themed weeks of just his music. The song that gets performed the most is definitely “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
It’s a brilliant song, but at this point, it’s become so watered down that every version is basically karaoke. It doesn’t matter who sings it, we’re just not impressed anymore. At this point, it feels like an easy, safe choice.
4 (YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE) A NATURAL WOMAN - ARETHA FRANKLIN
Look, there’s only one Aretha. Frankly, we’re shocked when contestants pick her songs. However, they keep trying with “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Since American Idol premiered and launched the craze, we’ve been hearing versions of this classic, and we just don’t need any more.
Every once in awhile, we get someone memorable like Christina Wells on America’s Got Talent, but for the most part everyone should stop. The best tribute people could give Aretha, would be to stop mangling her music.
3 MAN IN THE MIRROR - MICHAEL JACKSON
As the most successful artist of all time, obviously Michael Jackson has been performed a lot on these shows. There’s no question “Man in the Mirror” comes up the most. This is the wedding song of singing competition shows. Everyone sings it and no version is great.
We can’t figure out why singers keep choosing it, as it’s not going to give them a break out moment and frankly, might make them forgettable. Yes, Brian Justin Crum did a nice version, but he didn’t win did he?
2 I HAVE NOTHING - WHITNEY HOUSTON
The general rule of singing competitions is never do Whitney. Of course, this is a rule that no one seems to follow. Not a season goes by without some plucky singer doing their best “I Have Nothing.” Usually, their best isn’t good enough.
We get it. Everyone wants that big moment where they show the world they can sing like one of the greatest of all time. The truth is, the majority of contestants will never be good enough to climb this mountain and trying will result in elimination. Leave Whitney to Jennifer Hudson and Jonny Manuel.
1 HALLELUJAH - LEONARD COHEN
We understand the need for an emotional gut punch to make the audience take notice and vote. However, that moment doesn’t always have to come from a mediocre rendition of “Hallelujah.” Long before singing shows, there were endless covers of this song, the shows have just made it worse.
It’s a beautiful song that we never need to hear again. There are perfectly nice versions, but it’s just gotten so repetitive, the emotions these contestants want are no longer there. We officially have nothing left for “Hallelujah.”