The Dude Abides: What Tyanna, Quentin and Nick Fradiani should sing for the American Idol Top 6 Arena Anthem Week on American Idol

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.

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 (with Black Cherry’s on deck, Captain Morgan in the hole) so let’s get this thing started.


Tyanna Jones
DRI DREAM PICK: “Irreplaceable,” Beyonce

If you said my kid’s life (the one I like) depended on me correctly picking which artist Tyanna was going to sing for this week, I’d say “Beyonce” and be a god damn hero for saving humanity, because my oldest is a friggin genius.

The song’s theme isn’t really pro-Tyanna, but that doesn’t matter because this is part of my dream set list and part of that means Harry Connick won’t be an a-hole an ask “how does that song relate to you.”

Vocally, this song blends pop and ballad perfectly; it’s got a ton of great runs and I’m not gonna let Tyanna sing some boring-ass Beyonce song. If we’re being honest, I’m not a Beyonce fan (I say that, but chances are I probably like 50 of her songs and I’m completely unaware) but I love this song. Like, I used to sing it in the office when I worked and people would make fun of me.

If Tyanna does this, I’ll hack Apple to buy it before it’s available. It’ll work for her because it’s insanely popular and schmucks like me who don’t actively listen to Beyonce will immediately recognize it, which should help Tyanna gain a few more votes. Not like she needs them though.

WHAT TYANNA SHOULD SING: “Umbrella,” Rhianna

If she ain’t gonna do Bey, she might as well do something featuring Jay, no?

I’ve been chirping this for years and have watched stupid contestants fail to do this song, but there is only one cover version of this song anyone should try and it’s the one by Mandy Moore. Listen:

If I’m Tyanna, I’m going off Mandy’s version and adding a bit more pace and soul. Actually, a lot of soul because while Mandy Moore’s voice is gold, it’s white gold. She pasty.

Tyanna is in a very comfortable place on the show, but we’re getting to the point where she can’t worry about surviving; she needs to show why she should win. If it means she gets eliminated, who cares. Like Ricky Bobby said, if you’re not first, you’re last.

This song, or at least in the style of Mandy Moore, gives her a hell of a shot. Tyanna’s voice is so big there are a million ways she could go with Arena Anthems, but this would be the choice that would surprise everyone.

Quentin Alexander
DRI DREAM PICK: “The Stone,” Dave Matthews Band

This is what happens when I get stuck in the YouTube vortex. It all leads back to Dave Matthews Band and two hours later I forgot how I arrived.

Year in and year out DMB is one of the biggest tours in the world, so they definitely qualify for this Idol theme and I thought, “what the hell, might as well take a shot at one of their songs.”

If you’re not a fan, you don’t know Stone but it’s fucking hauntingly beautiful, which fits Quentin to a T. He’s gonna have to change the arrangement a tad, seeing how he’s not a white guy from South Africa, but I think the dark tones of the song fit him well.

There is a downside. A huge one actually – this song didn’t exactly tear up the charts.

As is the case with DMB’s best, the songs are for the fans even if they’re written better than 99 percent of the crap that gets played on the radio. If Quentin did this, he’s not turning a DMB song into a Quentin one; he’s making it his song. He might as well be doing an original because anyone who’s not a halfway decent Dave fan isn’t knowing this song despite how awesome it is.

Good news is there’s a small portion of the end where Dave usually slides in Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and that could get thrown in here no biggie.

My other choice for Quentin was another DMB song, “Don’t Drink the Water,” which I think would also fit for him but I couldn’t for the life of me picture an arrangement that would work. I barely think this would work but since it’s for me, I want to see it now.

WHAT QUENTIN SHOULD SING: “The Scientist,” Coldplay

I know Geena Gina Jena Irene covered this last season, but it needs to be done again and done not nearly as fun and poppy.

Calling Quentin Alexander to the stage.

The song fits his style. I actually was more inspired by the Willie Nelson version more than Coldplay’s, because the sound that comes out of Willie’s voice makes me feel the love and pain of the song so much more.

It’s weird that I can hear someone strumming a banjo and still hear Quentin’s voice over it. Quentin is obviously not a country guy, but his songs are done the style he does them for a reason; there’s pain somewhere in QA’s life and this song is filled with pain.

Some of the notes in the song I just want to hear Quentin hold. There are some big parts I think he could rearrange and slow down; even if he doesn’t, it fits.

If he sits on a stool with a dark stage – ton of smoke, OBV – I think we end this performance with J-Lo in tears. Legit ones this time.

Nick Fradiani
DRI Dream Pick: “Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears

You done watching that video yet? Yowza. That was pretty much hard-core porn in the late 90s. I remember a chick I dated used to dance to that song and, well, awesomeville.

Anyway, I don’t want Nick to strut up on stage in a schoolgirl outfit (OR DO I???) but I would not mind if he did the Fountains of Wayne cover of that song simply to see everyone’s head explode.

This sticks right in line with the Horny Housewives Theory because every chick who loved that song growing up is now married with kids. My buddy’s wife paid like $200 for crappy tickets to see Britney lip-synch live, so yeah, she’s still crazy popular and if he does that every woman 30-plus will swoon more than they already have for Nick.

I’d like to see this because this song is awesome. Just awesome. Plus, this scene from a truly awesome 90s movie:

If anyone can get away with doing a cheesy pop cover right now it’s Fradiani. Dude has momentum and a song like this is a perfect risk; if it doesn’t sound good, he still has a shot with the save, but if it does sound good I legit think he bumps himself to No. 3 and if he can maintain the pace he’s on, who knows what can happen.

WHAT NICK SHOULD SING: “Story of My Life,” One Direction

Everyone loves trashing One Direction.

Then they hear them perform live and wonder why in the hell these kids waste their time with boy band songs (money, chicks, money, money, money).

“Story of My Life” would be a Rolling Stone Top 100 song if it was by just about anyone that wasn’t labeled a boy band. It’s a truly beautiful song and crap on these Brit kids all you want, dem boys can sang.

Last season Alex Preston covered this and it was fantastic. I nearly put it Top 30 of all time. That’s how good this was:

Nick needs to do something close to that and this song is perfect because, duh, the Mom theory. Do you know how many times Moms have to listen to this? Every day. And you know what moms want to do? Someone a little closer to their age who happens to be super hot singing it. Simple demand.

The song fits Fradiani because it’s poppy but not too poppy. He can update Alex’s arrangement and really crush this out.

My other choice for Nick was a HUGE one. I’ve heard the Adam Levine-Alicia Keys duet on Wild Horses and really thought Nick could do that solo (mainly because I’ve been comparing him to Levine all season) but then I realized the song wouldn’t connect as well as a solo as it does as a duet. Next pick was “Love & Memories” by O.A.R., but picking that would be skirting the rules of the theme, so I’m hoping he gets to a duet portion where he and Tyanna Jones can do “Wild Horses” and crush it out.
And if they have a “Bro Rock Week” on Idol, Nick sings OAR and wins the damn thing.

OK, that’s it for the people with the best hair left on the show. This will probably cause controversy because Jax’s hair is beautiful, but I think she’ll freely admit to being behind Tyanna and Quentin’s coifs and, let’s just be honest, no one has prettier hair than Nick.

Part 2 with the Idols with not-quite-as-good-hair can be read by clicking here.