This January saw the start of American Idol’s thirteenth season. Thirteen! When the show started way back on June 11, 2002, so much was different. We’d never heard of Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. Ryan Seacrest looked like this and had a hosting sidekick. (Yeah, remember that dude Brian Dunkleman?) Jennifer Hudson was years away from her Oscar, as was Simon Cowell from leaving the show for an entirely different Fox reality series.
Flash-forward 12 years later and the show may not be going as strong as it once was, but still continues to be a staple of reality television. And while many things have changed over the years, a few have remained the same.
That includes song choice. The folks over at Vulture recently rounded up the most frequently performed songs in all of reality TV. Sound like a daunting task? It was. They tabulated data from 12 different shows including Idol, The Voice, and X Factor with specific rules on what was and wasn’t counted. The result is a treasure trove of information we’re not sure how we lived without.
Here are the top three most frequently performed songs on reality TV:
3. “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin
This psychedelic classic has been performed a total of 13 times including twice on The Voice and six on Idol. Carrie Underwood gave it a country twang during her season before going on to win the whole darn thing.
2. “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
Originally a smoky, bluesy number, “Feeling Good” has been revamped 15 times. It’s also proven the swan song of three Idol contestants: AJ Tabaldo and Leslie Hunt, both in Season Six and Hallie Day in Season 11. Clearly they don’t feel so good about this particular song.
1. “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
Perhaps not surprising to any seasoned reality TV viewer, the most popular song is a Whitney Houston tune. “I Have Nothing” has been performed a whopping 17 times in shows ranging from once on America’s Got Talent to eight separate Idol performances. Interestingly enough, the song has never been performed by an Idol winner the closest it got being Jennifer Hudson’s stirring rendition during Season 3. How did she not win again?
Surprised by the results? Knew it was a Whitney song on top? Tell us in the comments below!