The Dude Abides: What the American Idol Top 8 Should Sing – Quentin, Clark, Nick, Qaasim and Rayvon

With the upcoming theme, expect big things from this group.

With the upcoming theme, expect big things from this group.

(Intro to girls and guys are the same; skip if you’ve already read it)

American Idol’s ambiguity with the theme is zero fun.

Around the interwebs it says next week’s Idol theme is the Billboard 100. I’ve been told it’s the Billboard 100 for the last 10 years and while that narrows the field, it doesn’t really do much in making things tough for our singing Elite 8. Is that who ended up on the Top 100? Or any song that’s been on the Top 100 any week?

So instead of getting too serious with picks – and because I have no clue what year or genre the contestants are choosing from – I decided to have some fun this week.

I’m running with Billboard 100 from the last 10 years. Any song that’s been on the list is good by me. Each contestant will have two songs listed; the first is my “this would be awesome but highly unlikely” choice, the second is a more ideal choice.

Hope you’re in it for the long haul, because between the word count and the videos, this is gonna be a great way to kill an hour or so.


Quentin Alexander
DRI DREAM PICK: “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons

We’ve heard dark Quentin. We’ve heard upbeat Quentin. Now it’s time to mesh those worlds together.

This is such a good choice I don’t think he should do it because it would let me down until he did it and totally dominated in such a way I’d have to ditch my BFF Clark Beckham.

I get legit excited thinking about Quentin, surrounded by smoke (of course), singing this wearing a suit that makes him look like the purple monster in the video, and just crushing the vocal. I don’t know if he’s got enough power to do this, but I really want to believe he can. If he does this, it’s a game changer.

It’d be the type of performance where the judges don’t even comment. They just stand, appplaud and say “good god hope everyone has fun finishing second.”

WHAT QUENTIN SHOULD SING: “Secrets,” OneRepublic

Depending on your point of view, this song is either perfect because of its popularity or a horrible choice because of how overplayed it was.

I love the idea of Quentin singing something with haunting overtones but not in that spooky, should-be-in-a-serial-killer-movie tempo. After last week doing a hell of a jump with an uptempo Kelly Clarkson song, I think the Smoke Monster (copyright Dudes Review Idol) can handle OneRepublic.

Why this helps his cause is because of its popularity. People love this song, hate this song, or love it but say they hate it but always rock out to it when it pops up on Spotify. Quentin adds his touch to this and it will be gangbusters.

Clark Beckham
DRI DREAM PICK: “Use Somebody,” Kings of Leon

I wanted to go “Sex on Fire” but this will do the trick. Either way, I wanted Kings of Leon because Clark’s the only one who can come close to matching this dude’s voice, which is majectic.

Obviously we’re toning the rock out of the song a little. Clark’s voice is so good you don’t want to drown it out with the music – which kinda sucks because this song is awesome – but you want to hear CB’s tone and inflection on those subtle “someone like you” lines.

The only big question is who does the “oh oh oh, oh oh ohs” in the background? Because if those get fucked up, it would be a huge deal.

Because of the versatility of his voice, he’s got a lot of potential songs he’s got to save for later in the show. Honestly, I could see him singing this at some point because he could pull it off. Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” is going to win the competition and CB’s gotta have that in his pocket, ready to go for the final 3.

But if we’re being completely honest, my first “dream” song was to have the super-religious Clark Beckham strip the down Ying Yang Twins’ “Whisper Song,” but then I realized it was impossible to do a jazzy cover of that because there isn’t enough bleach in the world to clean that up for primetime TV.

WHAT CLARK SHOULD SING: “Waiting on the World to Change,” John Mayer

Can’t tell if I’m making this because of my sneaky mancrush on CB or my sneaky mancrush on Mayer.

Mayer is horribly underrated and gets crapped on because he sang a lot of songs solely to make some money and to make chicks want to bang him more. A buddy took me to his concert and I was not happy, but it was one of the best shows I’ve been to (and not just because two drunk girls got in a parking lot fight that included a hot dog being thrown and a beer being poured on a head).

CB can pull this off in a variety of ways; he can stand sans instrument and sing, do it with an acoustic guitarist, a dark stage and his glowing baby blues as we woos the crowd, or he could sit down at the keys and find a CB arrangement that would make everyone want to sex him some more.

Beckham’s gonna keep picking songs by versatile bands and singers like Mayer and he’s going to keep crushing performances. This song is no different.

Nick Fradiani
DRI DREAM PICK: “Crazy B*tch,” Buckcherry

Listen, do I think Fradiani could pull this off? Probably. I’ve seen plenty of singers at bars with significantly less talent get it done, so why couldn’t a Top 8 Idol?

I do know if he did he’d probably win the damn show.

This is what inspired the dream list; if you were ever in a bar with a live band from 2006-08 they played this and the place went crazy because chicks love dancing to this and drunk dudes love finding chicks who love this song.

If Nick found a way to sing this, the women in the audience would just start ripping off clothes and have no idea why. It would just happen. Nick’s sex appeal is a huge factor and this song is one of those that every girl loves even though it’s highly misogynistic (leader in that category: Akinyele’s “Put It In Your Mouth.” I was shocked how many girls I went to high school with knew it word for word) and when a hot dude sings it they love it even more.

It would be an awesome change of pace for Fradiani, because if he ditched the Adam Levine kitty-cat rock and just wait straight F.U. Rock, I don’t know if the judges could wrap their brains around it (OBV J-Lo wouldn’t care because soaked).

Plus, try and tell me you couldn’t see Fradiani in tight leather pants, a tight black T with a leather bracelet and a Mr. T Hipster Starter Set around his neck, singing this as every chick moans “he’s singing to me.”

WHAT NICK SHOULD SING: “How to Save a Life,” The Fray

As much as I want Nick Frandiani to ditch the babyface and go straight kayfabe (wrestling term), I don’t know if it’s in his best interest. The style he sings isn’t going to change how women feel about the man’s looks, so let’s pick something that might just fit his style and ability a little better.

In all honesty, my first choice for him way “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers; when I found out he had covered it with his band, I decided that would be cheating so I went a different direction.

This song is perfect, especially for where Fradiani is now. He’s gonna need a song that’s popular enough to carry casual fans and something he can perform well enough in a potential sing-off. If you put Fradiani in a ring with anyone and he executes this, the only way he doesn’t win a singoff is if the crying females can’t see their phones when they’re trying to #SaveNick.

Because this week will be about survival for Nick, this is exactly what he needs to survive a singoff and get votes to avoid the Bottom 2 the following week.

Qaasim Middleton
DRI DREAM PICK: “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snap),” T-Pain

I’ve been pitching this song on Idol for years. Way before it became popular to take hip-hop/rap songs and play them on acoustic guitar. Every year I pitch it an no one ever does. It pops up in auditions now and then, but nobody seems to do it right because they’re trying a wee bit too hard.

I want to see Qaasim go for this. Why? Because if he’s going to use his swag, he might as well use it for my entertainment.

He’s got the attitude that he could start this acoustic, then get up and do all his dancing, then finish soulfully. And as much as people (I’ve) crapped on Qaasim for his voice, people do the same thing about T-Pain. And you know what T-Pain sounds like without all the production?

That’s right. A goddamn angel. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

I don’t think Qaasim’s voice is as good as T-Pain’s (sentence I’d never thought I’d ever write) but I think he’s got the stones to pull of this song.

Only downside to him nailing this is I’ll have to take all my criticism and stick it in a very uncomfortable place, but I guess hearing Qaasim crush this out would make the pain bearable.


In a perfect world, Qaasim does this unedited. Since that isn’t possible, he’s gotta do this, but this song would be so fitting for him.

Qaasim is Cee-Lo, minus the sex crimes and midget status. If Qaasim doesn’t do Forget You, he’s doing “Crazy” because Cee-Lo is perfect for him – the vocal doesn’t need to be great because the stage performance is going to sell the song.

In this case, I wouldn’t hate it. It really matches him with the type of music he wants to create. Cee-Lo isn’t a talented vocalist, but criminal stuff aside, the man is a musical genius. He understands how to put stuff together in such an original fashion you completely forget he was a member of one of the most underrated rap groups of all time.

Qaasim would be crazy not to sing Cee-Lo, and if he could do this he’s singing it to all the “haters.”

If he manages to sneak an F-Bomb past a censor, he gets all my votes.

Rayvon Owen
DRI DREAM PICK: “Apologize,” One Republic

He’s the only one who’s got the voice to pull this off.

Rayvon’s said he wants to be like a John Legend (which is what made my Real Pick so obvious) but it would be cool as hell if he did this and kept it close to the original.

As much as he’s been crapped on for not being able to translate his talents to the show, a strong performance with this song – which was just about the most popular thing ever when it came out – would steal the show. I see Rayvon, a stool, and a buttload of candles. His ability to sing powerful and go to the falsetto would change the complexion of the contest.

There’s no doubt in my head he can pull this off. Rayvon’s only weakness this season hasn’t been his voice; it’s been his inability to pick a song and arrange it to fit his stylle.

With this he could just sit up there and play to his strengths.

WHAT RAYVON SHOULD SING: “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith

At this point, Rayvon has to assess his position in the contestant and pick songs accordingly.

He’s near the bottom of the pack. He needs to alleviate that situation and if he actually wants to win, he needs to do it now.

This is the only option. I know Rayvon has said he wants to be an artist like John Legend, but John Legend’s songs don’t carry the power of “Stay With Me.” Plus, I thought this song was by John Legend, so that has to mean something.

When you’re picking songs, you have to figure out your best- and worst-case scenarios. Worst case for Rayvon is he goes home. In fact, there’s a decent chance he goes home regardless of how he performans, so he has absolutely nothing to lose – and that makes this song even more attractive.

If he comes out and sings this poorly, it just seals his fate. But if he comes out and crushes it? It might save him in a sing off. He might be able to jump up one or two spots and avoid elimination the following week.

From there? Anything can happen.

The easy pick – and my first one – was John Legend’s “All of Me,” but as beautiful as that song is this one carries so much more weight with the Idol viewer.

And at this point, Rayvon’s got nothing to lose.

If you want to read the picks for the girls, they can be found here.