The Dude Abides: What Clark, Jax and Rayvon should sing for American Idol Top 6 Arena Anthem Week

I'm hoping when they said "Arena Anthems" this is what they meant.

I’m hoping when they said “Arena Anthems” this is what they meant.

(Intro the same; feel free to skip it)

When Ryan Seacrest announced next week’s theme I was extremely curious because I wanted to know how many different glam-rock or Jock Jams songs could be turned into something viable for the American Idol Top 6 to sing.

Then I read and Michael Slezak (who I like to pretend is my rival; the dude obviously reads my stuff because he LOVES stealing my jokes and, all of a sudden, starting writing a “what they should sing” blog. Hmm, wonder where that came from) and apparently “Arena Anthems” means “songs that can entertain a massive crowd and are performed by mega superstars.”

So another week with a vague theme meant your boy had to double down on the booze and YouTube searches and find songs that would fit the Top 6 and help them move on.

To narrow the focus, I found a list of Top 100 Tours of 2014 and whoever on it was in play. Everyone else? NOT IN PLAY. I saw one list (the guy’s name rhymed with Pleazak) and he had songs by the Doors and other bands who couldn’t possibly fit the bill seeing how their lead singers are dead. If you’re dead, you can’t entertain a crowd, massive or otherwise. Common sense, bro. Gotta have rules if you’re playing Idol.

I’ll warn you now – there are some repeated selections from previous lists because my previous selections that weren’t sung are pretty awesome and fit for this theme.

Since we have four guys and two girls I don’t want to split them up uneven but still want extra clicks on my site, we’re breaking them down into these two groups: The Awesome Hair Group – and the Ordinary Hair and Rayvon Owen. (Bald Life Dude. I live it every day).

So there’s two songs for each contestant; one is a song I’d pick for them in order to have the dopest setlist in the world. The second is something a little more realistic that I think would play well with the American Idol audience as a whole.

I’m three 16 oz Coors Lights and two Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s Deep, one Black Cherry Mike’s and two Captain and Cokes deep. SO LET’S GO.


Clark Beckham
DRI DREAM PICK: “How ‘Bout Now,” Drake

Um, what?

Yeah, I know.

So for anyone who reads the site, you know I have the funniest Vine game among Idol reviewers (actually, I’m alone in the game). I check Vine a lot and this video was HOT a few weeks back:

The gospel in grandma’s voice entered my brain; could that be translated to Idol?

If you think Clark Beckham couldn’t take this song and turn it into a gospel rock hit, you’re insane. Clark, who I’m pretty sure is super religious, would have to edit out the swears and all the hard N’s (not a good look if he starts firing N-bombs off) but I genuinely believe that with Vine grandma’s tone and the way the music in the original track sounds, this could end up being something soulful and beautiful.

Is it a stretch? Yup.

But that’s kinda the point. If Clark steps up on stage and starts singing fucking Drake, nobody is going to know how to respond, especially if it sounds the way it does in my head (PS It’s BEAUTIFUL). This would be Clark’s moment. This would be the “Remember when” moment.

When Idol retires in a couple years, they’ll talk about this being the last great moment for the show.

And he should go for it.

Why not?

WHAT CLARK SHOULD SING: “Sex on Fire,” Kings of Leon
A couple weeks back I said Clark should sing “Use Somebody,” which he didn’t but I’m sure he’s saving it for the finale (NOTE TO CLARK: I’m right).

His voice is too perfect not to sing Kings of Leon. Clark really seems like the kinda guy who won’t bang a chick until they’re married (HORRIBLE DECISION; JUST BANG EVERYONE) so I don’t know how he’d feel about singing a song with the word ‘Sex’ in it, but if Clark sings this every chick watching will simultaneously say “Nick who?”

It’s a perfect song. There’s the drawl in the voice, the hold of notes, the grind of the song; if Clark takes out the douchey guitars (which periodically show up in the song) and turn this into a soul song, lights out.

This choice should almost be in the “DRI DREAM” selection, but I’m faithful to my man. He’s gonna sing a Kings of Leon song and I know this because when he auditioned and I said “He needs to sing McDonald,” and then he did, we made a connection.

We’re BFFs y’all, so watch out.

DRI DREAM PICK: “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z

I wrote a couple weeks ago Jax should perform this., but I’m changing my tone.

She has to perform this.

Obviously Jax isn’t gonna flow like Jay, so she should take this angle instead:

The ties to the song are too big to overcome. She from New Jersey, her dad’s a firefighter and when you get that type of emotional connection between real life and song, you know what happens?

Fireworks. Fucking fireworks. That’s what happens.

If she performs this, she’s Final 3. Lock. This is one of those songs that’s so good, it will carry you as far as you want (unless you completely screw it up).

Now if Jax doesn’t do it, I’m not gonna guarantee her safety because while Qaasim looked like the Predator, Rayvon kills like the Predator.

If Jax survives Rayvon and Quentin and Nick and finds herself Top 3 and then decides to sing this, then things will make sense. This is the No. 1 song she needs to sing. Finding the right time when to sing it is almost as important as singing it.

It won’t hurt to bust early. She sings it Wednesday, that gets her to the Top 4 guaranteed.

But if she wants to be greedy, I won’t judge one bit. I just don’t want her going home with this sitting in her back pocket.

WHAT JAX SHOULD SING: “Cry Me a River,” Justin Timberlake

This week’s Arena theme really plays in Jax’s favor. The hottest and most mega-star bands are all genres she can handle with ease; if she needs to go classic, no problem; if she needs to strip a song down and re-do it, that’s just as easy. I really think, barring a disaster, she walks away from this week in better shape than she entered it.

So that’s why I don’t mind her trying a version like this:

The song is crazy popular and every Jax fans continues to vote for her and with her twist on super-hunk Timberlake, she’ll pick up more votes.

But it’s really the arrangement and vocal that drew me in. I don’t want Jax going totally techno/electronica; but hearing a female to a bang-up job with a song gives some confidence than Jax will crush the shit out of this.

If Jax breaks out an electric keyboard, I really think she can go somewhere between the real version and this cover. Her voice fits, the Jaxcent will play; the hard part will be registering with the audience because of all of a sudden this is a total man-hater song and you can’t fake those. They have to be real.

Oh, and if Jax does this, there’s a zero percent chance she doesn’t dress super hot. ZERO.

Rayvon Owen
DRI DREAM PICK: “I Want It That Way,” Backstreet Boys

Rayvon’s a straight assassin at this point, but like I’ve been saying – he’s got no choice but to go big or go home.

That’s why I want to see him go crazy big.

The vocal on BSB’s biggest hit isn’t tough, especially with how Rayvon has proved he can sing, but I think doing a super-popular song like this (it connects to older audience who grew up with it and younger audience which views it as a cool classic song – now excuse me as I swallow a gun) can extend his sing-off streak to four.

So Rayvon has one of two angles. I like this one:

It’s simple and easy. People love acoustic, especially on cheesy pop songs. It really gives Rayvon a chance to blend his vocal strength with the strength of the band.

Of course, there’s always this:

I found this late, but I’m all in. ALL IN.

This plays more toward the vocal. People will recognize the song, but if he came out and crushed this? I mean, there’s a 90 percent chance if Rayvon did something like that whoever was in the Bottom 2 with him would just say “You know what Ryan? Rayvon wins. Because he always wins.”

Either way, Rayvon needs to sing the Backstreet Boys and he needs to sing them NOW.

WHAT RAYVON SHOULD SING: “Grenade,” Bruno Mars
As sure as I am Tyanna is singing Beyonce I am more sure Rayvon is singing Bruno Mars.

If he’s going this route, you gotta give yourself a chance to win the sing-off and Grenade is the only way to go.

My hope is Rayvon isn’t doing something stupid like trying to sing Prince or another untouchable artist. He’s got a hell of a streak going with these sing-off wins and he needs to keep that in tact.

This song fits Rayvon. It’s got strength. It’s popular. It requires a voice.

Will it be original? I don’t know. Nah, I don’t think it will.

But I do think if he goes this route it lines up well for him. A popular song nobody hates brings votes; if you do a hell of a version you gain some more; if you arrange it a little differently, it gets even more.

I’d love to see Rayvon really go out of his shell here, but the problem is he’s facing elimination.

Comfort is key and Rayvon’s gonna do whatever gives him the most confidence. He has to feel like he’s gonna win before he steps on the stage and if there’s a song that’s no by Bruno Mars, I have no clue what it’s going to be.

While the theme is vague, I love the odds of it being a strong week. If we can get anything close to what we had last week, I’ll be pumped. If all the contestants ditch their song choices and go with what I picked? If that happens I’m on the first car trip to Hartford to watch with Fradiani’s sister and fans, which I may do the following week anyway.

If you want to read what the three with awesome hair should sing, just click in this general direction.