'American Idol's Clark Beckham disagrees and argues with mentor Scott Borchetta over "groovy" song choice
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/30/2015
American Idol Top 4 artist Clark Beckham and the show's mentor Scott Borchetta are not seeing things eye-to-eye.
During Wednesday night's performance show, each artist had two songs to sing. The first was a song from one of the judges' home cities -- New Orleans, New York or Nashville -- and the second was a tune that best represents his or her soul, which Harry Connick Jr. likes to call "the gravy song."
For Clark's "gravy song" he planned to sing "Your Man" by Josh Turner, which is an old-school song designed to show off a guitarist's skills. While Clark was in love with his choice, Scott and the week's mentor Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts disagreed wholeheartedly.
"I think this song is what I think is the most 'me' that there is," Clark told the cameras.
After Clark performed the song for Scott and Jay in rehearsals, a little squabble broke out.
"You and I have argued about this," Scott told Clark. "If you lose this competition, it's because you're doing the wrong things."
"If this loses me the competition, then I don't want to win it," Clark noted.
"Okay, fair enough," Scott said.
"In your position, the only thing I would encourage you to do is to listen to the folks you've been blessed enough to have put around you," Jay suggested.
"Dude, this isn't 'American Musician,' okay? It isn't," Scott fired. "You keep throwing out all these chords, all this stuff. You're on a fast track to a Holiday Inn with this kind of music. I don't know what I have to do to make you understand."
"At the end of the day, I've got to just take what works for me and what I think, as an artist, is the best," Clark explained.
"Well, live by the sword my friend," Scott warned him.
"I respect your resolve, I really do," Jay chimed in before he started laughing. "I don't think it's going to work out for you, but, I respect it."
"This is the best way I can communicate to everybody what comes out of my soul musically," Clark said in a confessional before taking the stage for what turned out to be a good performance.
After singing, Jennifer Lopez, Harry and Keith Urban had their say about the situation that they just saw unfold in the mentoring package.
"Little controversy here -- should you sing the song, should you not sing the song, is it the right song? All that stuff. I thought you sang it well... I think the argument is, 'Is this the type of musician you want to be?' This is American Idol. There is a place for every kind of music in the world, for sure... But you're on the show American Idol. Is this the right thing for that? Do you really want to win? Can this music win?" Jennifer explained.
"Is this really your 'gravy' song? I don't know how this is your gravy song... This didn't [blow us away]. That's what I think they were worried about for you. And I'm worried about it too, because I do think you can win American Idol... You have to think about that, like, which direction do you want to go?"
"What it all boils down to is extremely hyper-specific song choice," Harry said, commenting on how all the people left in the competition are super talented.
"You have to think about it from the perspective of people watching this show more than what it does for you personally. You really have to think, 'If this was the only song that I had, could I win on that based alone?' I think we would probably both say, 'I'm not so sure.' It was kind of tepid, man. We've heard you do things that are much more exciting and you really need to do that from now on. No one can drop the ball now."
"If you're taking a single to radio and you've got an album full of songs, and everyone goes, 'This is the killer. This thing is going to kill it!' Those are the songs you need now," Keith added. "You don't need album tracks. You need hit singles right now."
"No," Clark beamed with pride. "To be specific, that is -- If I've ever known what 'gravy' is, that is. I mean... that kind of sexy-groovy-type stuff, that is my stuff! So maybe I need to -- I'm going to use this phrase -- musically articulate a little better on the show."
Harry then advised Clark that if the song was supposed to be sexy, he could've performed it sexier.
"I thought I did, but I will absolutely sink into it even more," Clark said.
Clark then wanted to clarify a statement he had made in the mentoring package that either came out wrong or didn't come across the way he meant it.
"And to be clear, I've got to say this, I desperately want to win this show. We all do. Why I say that is because in the package [I suggested otherwise]. But I'm never going to forsake the music and this is my music," Clark explained.
"And just to be clear, I really believe people like this music that I'm playing. Deep down, I really believe it, and that's what I have to stay true to. And I think, you know, America votes and decides. It's my job to paint the truest picture I can as a musician, and that's what I'm doing."
"But as an entertainer, it's also your responsibility to create an amazing moment for your audience," Jennifer said.
"I totally agree," Clark noted.
"Don't confuse people liking you with the music that you're playing. If you get it right, they'll love all of it," Keith added.
Scott and Clark then had a chance to talk during the commercial break, and Ryan asked Scott what went down.
"I care about these guys. When I show my passion, it's experience talking. I'm not trying to hurt anybody. I'm trying to help everybody. And when I present that kind of information, I don't have two years to develop them. I have a two more weeks and then, May 14, guess what? The show's over and they're on Big Machine Records and it's go time," Scott told Ryan.
"So I'm trying to inject everything I can for whoever wins -- you have four great artists over there. I want all of them to do great. And so, I kick them in the butt because I want them to do great!"