Nicki Minaj Feat. Rinhanna vs. Sugar Ray, ”Fly”
Is the combined wonder-twin wingspan of Nicki and RiRi enough to overcome the ultimate aural bro-hug of late-’90s beach rock?
Winner Sugar Ray — In case you weren’t paying attention, statues all around the world crumble for frontman Mark McGrath. That’s magic.
David Guetta Feat. Usher vs. Mötley Crüe, ”Without You”
Sure, the Crüe were borrowers too, recycling the name of the classic AM-radio weepie. But while Vince Neil pined for a vixen who left him standing with an Aqua Net can full of tears, Usher sounds like he’s still got the girl — he just wants to make sure she’s not going anywhere.
Winner Guetta & Usher — Nothing says ”No, seriously — I’ll die” like full-on falsetto.
Rascal Flatts Feat. Natasha Bedingfield vs. The Commodores, ”Easy”
Even for a Rascal, it’s hard work to make a lady (especially a pretty British one) think you’re over her. If you’re Lionel Richie circa 1977, you know you’re about to be a giant solo star — and in the meantime, you’re going to have an awesome Sunday morning.
Winner The Commodores — They’re both slow-burn breakup songs, but only one of them owns a whole weekday.
Nickelback vs. Trey Songs Feat. Nicki Minaj, ”Bottoms Up”
Both Songz and Nickelback want you to pound that bottle, the former because that’s what you do when you’re getting freaky with Nicki in the club, the latter because you want to forget you’re at a Hooters in Nova Scotia.
Winner Songz — His lyrics also make a passing reference to ladies’ derrieres. Double entendre!
Adele vs. Van Morrison, ”Someone Like You”
One has soundtracked decades of swoony newlyweds’ first dances; the other is the official theme song of the ex who’s still deciding whether to charge the altar during ”…or forever hold your peace.”
Winner Adele — Happy people have honeymoons; miserable ones get dibs on killer ballads like this.
Coldplay vs. Sade, ”Paradise”
Chris Martin’s vision of perfect bliss is a place where tweens fly and catch bullets in their teeth. All Sade wants is a man to call her own (and maybe some nice hoop earrings).
Winner Coldplay — In our own dreams we’re constantly attacked by rabid giraffes, so we’ll take Martin’s gentler after-hours reality.
Avril Lavigne vs. Pink Floyd, ”Wish You Were Here”
One of the loveliest ballads of the ’70s pines for burned-out Floyd cofounder Syd Barrett, while the Canadian wild child probably just hopes Brody Jenner won’t come back from Safeway without a case of Four Loko.
Winner Pink Floyd — There’s a reason your dad tears up every time.
Christina Perri vs. Sting, ”A Thousand Years”
Sting pledges that he would wait metaphorical millennia for his love, though Perri one-ups him by tapping into the Twilight universe, whose immortal inhabitants can actually back up that claim.
Winner Perri — As urban legend suggests, it takes Sting a tantrically long time to finish anything — including this New Age hoo-ha.
Foo Fighters vs. Nico, ”These Days”
Who wears their battle scars best: the alt-rock survivors or the German model-slash-Warhol Superstar?
Winner Nico — Gwyneth’s iconic bus dismount in The Royal Tenenbaums may have brought this cult ’60s touchstone into a new era, but like the dour Teutonic goddess who sang it, it was always a beauty.