The Dude Abides: With the American Idol Top 7 singing American Classics, here’s what Jax, Joey and Tyanna should sing

These three aren't going anywhere for a while.

These three aren’t going anywhere for a while.

For the second week in a row, American Idol teases an incredibly vague theme.

Wonder if the Idols had any trouble picking out an “American Classic?”

American Classic could mean anything and with fan tweets involved – but let’s be honest; they’re letting the Idols pick whatever they want and will make up the Tweet if need be, a la Kimmel and his “Stars Read Meant Tweets” bit – who knows what’s getting thrown out there because most people just want the Idols to sing a song they like, regardless of how it will play on the show. Idiots.

To narrow the song selection, here were the parameters: song had to be at least 20 years old and had to be something anyone who’s ever listened to music could actually name without thinking.

For each contestant, there’s two selections. First is the Dudes Review Idol Dream Pick – which is me putting together a crazy set list that would entertain the hell out of me – and the second is songs I think fit the Top 7 and would help them move up or move on.

With seven people, this is still gonna get lengthy so again, breaking it up by guys and girls, in order of my personal rank.

Up first, the ladies.


Tyanna Jones
DRI DREAM PICK: “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Sam Cooke

If she actually did this, I’d be screaming “NO NO NO” because it’s so impossibly hard to sing and pull off and make sound not like a bad ripoff of the original.

But since this is my dream pick and Tyanna has pretty much taken every hard song and crushed it, yeah, go for it kid.

If she stepped up to the mic and pulled off the first line of the song loudly with soul in her voice, she’d crush Clark Beckham’s heart on stage. The contest would be over.

This song is here because of the challenge. Singing poorly doesn’t seem to be in Tyanna’s vocabulary, so I have a feeling even if she didn’t nail this one it’d be good enough to wow everyone.

Because let’s be honest – at this point, what can’t she do?

WHAT TYANNA SHOULD SING: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” Aretha Franklin

As you can tell, there’s no safe with Tyanna’s song choices. No point until she shows she can’t sing big.

I bounced between this song and “Respect,” but I stuck with this one for what this song means to American Idol. For those unfamiliar with Season 1, here’s what Kelly Clarkson did with the song:

It’s perfect. It’s probably a (SPOILER ALERT) Top 5 all-timer American Idol performance and when those songs are done on Idol, they shouldn’t be done again.

But I want to see Tyanna try. She performs so beyond her years, why not take on the Queen of R&B?Hell, I was half-tempted to put “Nessun Dorma” on the list, just to see if a) Tyanna could learn Italian and b) if she shouldn’t learn Italian, she could sing Aretha’s version from the Grammys.

Until she sleeps, all picks for Tyanna will fall in the “Go Big or Go Home” category because anything less would hurt her chances more than a sub-par performance.

Joey Cook
DRI DREAM PICK: “Buddy Holly,” Weezer

It was so depressing to find out this song is 20 years old.

But that works for Joey.

She’s obviously not doing this like Weezer, but the good thing is there’s enough music in here that it can be played with and the song is silly enough that she can have fun and not deal with Harry’s wrath. Yes, I could definitely hear a squeezebox and that would be a good thing because I’m going through withdrawals without it.

Picking this would be awesome because Weezer is criminally underrated, but this song would play beautifully with the audience because anyone over the age of 15 knows this song from hearing their parents talk about listening to it when they were in college or seeing the video.

If Joey takes a song that the audience immediately recognizes and loves, she continues to make a play toward the Top 3 as she searches for a way to sneak into the Top 2.

WHAT JOEY SHOULD SING: “Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin

This choice is way out there, but if Diddy could sample it I figure Joey could find a way to turn this to something amazing.

Lyrically, it’s awesome. Nobody pays attention to the lyrics because they’re jamming out to the guitars and drums. But there’s so much depth and visual writing involved, if you take the original music out and replace it with a sound Joey is more familiar with, the lyrics because the focus and make them the focus, which is what Joey needs.

The challenge is the song is 8 minutes, 24 seconds left and that’s a hell of a lot of music to condense into a 90-second to 2-minute live performance. But it’s so repetitive it’s not impossible.

However, as good as this could be it could also fall apart. If she did this and the arrangement wasn’t right, goodbye Joey. So is the risk worth it?

Uh, yeah. With the No. 1 and 2 spots pretty much in tact, Joey needs to maintain momentum and stay on the cusp of upsetting Tyanna or Clark and not trying a legendary song could be the difference maker.

With the Twitter Fan Save still in play, she’s got a decent chance of surviving if this went wrong so that’s a nice safety net to have.

But if she nails a Zeppelin song on Idol it won’t be necessary until the Top 2.

DRI DREAM PICK: “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’Connor

Perfect song for Jax. She gets so into the themes if she did this she’d probably shave her head and wear a black turtleneck, then rip up a picture of the Pope just to make a point that she’s not messing around.

This song is great because her Jaxcent is pretty damn close to Irish and while I appreciate her effort in messing with arrangements, after last week she needs to get some momentum back on her side.

Best way to do that is sit down at a black baby grand, borrow the rest of the smoke Quentin Alexander has left, and sing this. Sans Face Tat. Dark stage, smoke and a spotlight just on Jax.

The song is so strong on its own it doesn’t need to be tinkered with. Jax can get up there, do this and walk right off the stage.

My guess? She’s obviously got something else picked, but we will see this down the line if she gets the chance. Hi Jax.

WHAT JAX SHOULD SING: “I’ll Stand By You,” The Pretenders

Another one of those songs that just fits Jax. In fact, with this theme, I came up with about seven songs that I think she could have crushed. When you can play the piano your options are infinitely greater than a guitarist, which makes me amazed a piano-based Idol hasn’t won the damn thing yet.

It’s another song that is song and doesn’t need to be tinkered with much for it to be effective. Hell, do the same stage set up – solo, just a piano, dark clothes, enough smoke that you can barely see, a spotlight on Jax – and once she gets done, walk off the damn stage.

It’s an old song, but falls into the “Buddy Holly” category except everyone knows this song regardless of age. Plus, the cry factor on this is off the charts and if you don’t think a monster performance that makes the audience cry is good for business, you’ve never watched Idol before.

Downside to this song is Pia Toscano sang the hell out of it and for Idol historians – who make up a decent portion of the viewership – it might spark a flashback, which could be good or bad. It’s good because they might realize Pia got screwed and Jax shouldn’t so they vote for her; or they remember how good Pia was (just read this if you don’t remember), think Jax wasn’t, then don’t vote for her.

This can’t go wrong because it’s so in her wheelhouse.

Of course, I said that last week with “Poker Face,” so we’ll see.

That’s in for the girls. To read the guys picks, you can just click right here.