Simon Cowell's five songs you shouldn't sing on 'X-Factor"

Ian Derry/Fox

When X Factor premieres on Wednesday, there are five songs that the show’s contestants would be very unwise to bring their first auditions, Simon Cowell told reporters on Tuesday.

The main offenders?

- R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”
Etta James’ “At Last” (“I’m allergic to that song,” he says.)
The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” (“Everybody seems to think ‘Unchained Melody’ is my favorite song of all time. It is not.”)
Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” (“I cannot listen to that anymore.”)
John Legend’s “Ordinary People” (“They always try to sing it like [Legend’s] version. It’s never good.”)

We agree with Cowell, especially about “Unchained Melody,” a song that was originally written for an obscure prison movie and was revived, of course, for cinematic pottery sex.

And there are so many others to add! Take “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” especially the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version that no one except actual Hawaiians and strict adherents of the “barefoot lifestyle” should ever attempt. And then there’s the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” (No, we don’t.)

And please, don’t ruin Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” (after hearing Collins talk about that song in this incredibly moving This American Life episode, we don’t want anyone to touch it) or Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” (so many key changes, so little Whitney-worthy talent!), or any of the other picks in our gallery American Idol: 20 Songs We’d Ban From the Show Forever.

So, what would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments.

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Comments (36 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike

    I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again, somebody who cannot sing nor read music should have no place telling other people they are awful at singing.

    • Esox

      Honestly, I believe that makes Cowell more objective.
      I’d trust the opinion of someone who is not musically trained over someone who already has established their opinion about what a good musician, and good music is.

      • Esox

        Let me try another way of explaining my point…sometimes the best football coaches have never played the game.

      • Dave

        Then you don’t mind priests telling you about sex?

      • Esox

        No. Objectivism.

    • Dave

      Not true. You can know what good singing is and know what kind of artist will sell without being one yourself.
      I’m a bad singer. And I can certainly call out other bad signers if I hear them.

    • whatevs

      I don’t really understand that logic. You’re saying that only people who can sing/read music can tell if someone sounds good or not?

    • JakeTheDog

      Well, he must be good at it because he’s practically a billionare

      • Jon

        Google: ‘Argumentum ad crumenam’.

  • Esox

    Maybe this not completely related, but please remove Don’t Stop Believin’ from all karaoke collections.

  • Dorkus

    I can’t believe Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, and Jean Grey aren’t in this.

  • Pama

    “I will always love you” blech

  • crispy

    At least we get Magneto.

  • Sharon Agajanian

    I just want to know why Simon Cowell, with all his $, doesn’t invest in a new suit. Or does he have dozens of the same suit? This looks like the same suit he’s been wearing for years in the AI finale shows.

  • Jim

    No Chain of Fools, No Natural Woman, No hallelujah & No Superstition.

  • Magdalena Nowak

    I hope they still bring Cheryl Cole in as a guest judge one day as well as Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos from the UK X Factor.

  • Kat

    I Have Nothing must be the most used song on talent shows.

  • Ryan

    Im not watching this show, it is basically Idol with a different name.

    • Esox

      Honestly? That’s why I’ll watch. It’s like Idol Classic with Simon and Paula.

  • hello

    Please no Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, When a Man Loves a Woman, And I Am Telling You(I’m Not Going), My Girl, I Don’t Wanna Be, or We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions. Very few people can do those songs justice. My Girl and Dock of the Bay usually end up being screamed and/or filled with vocal tricks. I agree with Hallelujah. If I hear one more person sing that I might throw my set out of the window.

    • Mo

      Not to mention, with Dock of the Bay, I have seen so many of these idiots singing it with the biggest grin on their face, like it’s such a happy, just chillin’ song. I always want to ask them if they have listened to the whole of the lyrics, or just the “sitting on the dock of the bay” part.

      • hello

        So true!

      • Mifty

        You are so right! The song is about failure and near-suicidal depression, and these dimwitted youths just bebop through it. If you can’t sing the words, shut the f*** up.

        Also, the idea that only singers can judge singers is really stupid. And I say this as a former professional singer — who can read music, which is such a rare skill that only hundreds of millions of people can do it.

  • Ruth

    Lets not forget the classic “all by myself” . Lord knows someone will attempt to sing/butcher that one too.

  • no

    I Who Have Nothing is Linda Jones not Whitney Houston.

    • J

      That may be, but “I Have Nothing” is indeed Whitney Houston.

  • old rocker

    these shows have nothig but wanna be’s they never had to work hard to get to the top so when they get their it’s 15 mins and gone. no talent sing in one key and no soul !

    • X

      Not true. The x factor has an over 30s category and some of the people im that have been working at breaking in the music industry for years.

  • Parker51

    No one seems to sing “If I Were a Carpenter” anymore (save for a few recent country artist duets in the style of Johnny and June Carter Cash). Wonder how the original songwriter Tim Hardin (or covered Bobby Darin, which was actually published first) versions would go over.

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