“Creep” is one of those songs that has taken on a life of its own over the years. First released in 1992 and included on Radiohead‘s debut album Pablo Honey, the song became an underground hit in America when a San Francisco college radio station’s music director found it in a Berkeley record shop and added it to their playlist. “Creep” became the most requested song at Radiohead concerts — but the band soon got fed up with playing it when fans would leave once the song was over.
Frontman Thom Yorke hated selling out, so he probably doesn’t love that his band’s breakthrough single is one of the most covered songs on reality singing competitions, both here in the States and in the UK. But if it’s any consolation to him, the enduring popularity of “Creep” speaks to how universally relatable it is.
While “Creep” began its life as an alternative hit, it’s traveled straight to the mainstream via these shows, cementing its place among a repertoire of tried-and-trued tracks that aspiring performers never get tired of singing — songs like “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, “Imagine” by John Lennon and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. The song has proven to be a cross-genre hit that is perfect for showing off a performer’s vocal range and emotional capacity, and it likely now bears more meaning than Yorke ever imagined.
Below, find the best TV covers of the Radiohead classic, from a 2013 X Factor USA performance to the 2022 season of American Idol.