Contestants on the upcoming US version of The X Factor (premieres this Wednesday, finally) will obviously be getting a lot of advice from various people, professional or no, on what songs to sing as they compete to be the country's official #1 X Factor person thing. But as for what songs they shouldn't sing—well, show judge (and reality music competition veteran) Simon Cowell has some advice about that. Speaking on a conference call to a number of reporters, Cowell named a group of five songs that he never wants to hear again sung at audition. The list, as reported by Billboard:

  • R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly"
  • Etta James' "At Last" ("I'm allergic to it," he says.)
  • The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" ("Whoever said that was my favorite song was joking.")
  • Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours"
  • John Legend's "Ordinary People" ("It's never as good as the original.")

Honestly, we weren't particularly itching to hear any of these songs done over on X Factor either, so bravo, Mr. Cowell. (Hey, they don't call Simon "The Guru" for nothing. Or at all.)

Of course, you know we couldn't let Simon put his no-fly list out there without getting a few words in edgewise ourselves. Here are twelve songs (in alphabetical order by artist) that we'd also like to see denied, "Stairway"-style, at future X Factor tryouts, to make it an even 17:

  • Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
  • Aerosmith, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
  • Toni Braxton, "Unbreak My Heart"
  • Aretha Franklin, "Chain of Fools"
  • Judy Garland - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
  • Heart, "Alone"
  • Jennifer Holiday, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"
  • Alicia Keys, "If I Ain't Got You"
  • John Lennon, "Imagine"
  • Simon and Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  • Stevie Wonder, "Superstition"
  • U2, "One"

We know, we know—there's only like 80 known pop songs in the history of the universe (90 tops), so getting rid of such a large chunk of them is gonna make things a little bit challenging. But we and Simon think you're up to the task. Prove us right, kids.