‘American Idol’: James Durbin Roars With Heavy Metal On Movie Night

The remaining eight contestants on American Idol showed their cinematic flair last night by taking on songs from movie soundtracks. Like last week, will.i.am was back at Season 10 mentor Jimmy Iovine’s side (making it his fourth appearance on Idol in the past month). And James Durbin pretty much tore the roof off the stage by bringing a whole lot of heavy metal thunder. Read on!

Since the theme is songs of the movies, Ryan Seacrest can’t help calling out Idol‘s resident actress, Jennifer Lopez, for being named the World’s Most Beautiful Woman by People magazine. J.Lo thus employs her thesp skills and comes off as passably bashful over all the attention.

Anyway, on to the Top 8. Roll ‘em!


James Durbin, who actually closes out the night, rocks the most with his take on Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal” from the cult 1981 animated film of the same name. Jimmy Iovine is somewhat mortified at James’ song choice, but the 22-year-old singer refuses to budge, which causes some visible tension between he and Iovine while rehearsing. Durbin has an ace up his sleeve in the form of veteran guitarist Zakk Wylde, who joins him on stage to shred things up. Rawk!

The judges are clearly into James’ plea for America to bring metal back. “That felt really, really real!” J.Lo exclaims, while Randy notes, “You guys were just at a James Durbin concert.” 

Other notable performances come from Stefano Langone (believe it or not), who steps things up by showing a bit of emotion while singing Boyz II Men’s chart-topping Boomerang ballad “End Of The Road, and Scotty McCreery, with his rendition of George Strait’s Pure Country tune “I Cross My Heart.”

Casey Abrams also makes an impression by ignoring Jimmy Iovine’s advice and doing Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy.” Jimmy tries to convince the young crooner from Idyllwild, California to go with Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” instead, but at the last minute Abrams switches back to his original song choice. It pays off when the audience goes wild and the judges give him a standing ovation. Randy says he can see Casey making a Michael Buble-type record and declares, “The world cannot live by pop stars alone!”


Lauren Alaina delivers a just-okay, if not entirely predictable, performance of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Also predictable: the judges fawn over her, while we’re just left feeling underwhelmed.

Meanwhile, Haley Reinhart follows up previous back-to-back triumphs with a fairly limp “Call Me.” J.Lo isn’t very enthused about the singer’s take on Blondie. “I’m so afraid to say anything about the girls because I don’t want any of the girls to go home,” the judge says, acknowledging the fact that only two female singers are left in the Top 8. “After two killer performances like you just gave, baby, you gotta just keep taking it higher and higher and higher.”

A more-humble-than-last-week Jacob Lusk rounds out the So-So category for us after his “Bridge Over Troubled Water” proves to be somewhat unmemorable.


Paul McDonald‘s gimmick of wearing flowery suits is pretty much the only thing he’s got going on at this point, as far as we’re concerned, because hearing him do Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock And Roll” was pretty horrific. Paul sounded out of breath and off-key, and shame on the judges for letting him off the hook with some minor praise.

THOUGHTS ON THE NIGHT: With Pia Toscano now gone, it’s still a toss-up over who will be standing in the Season 10 finale. But if we had to take a wild guess, it would be James and Scotty, who proved with these latest performances that they’re both in it to win it.

  • Becky Bain

    What a weird finale that would be with Scotty and James. How much do you want to bet the country fans voting will outnumber the rock fans voting?

    • Robbie Daw

      It’s been a long time since a country vocalist has won the show, so perhaps… But I’m all about metal winning out for the first time!

  • grey74

    First of all before I actually do my grades for this evening. I must say I was very uncomfortable about the extended length of time they went on and on about Casey. To me it seemed so set up it’s not even funny. Nobody in the room I was watching the show with tonight thought that was that great of a performance, and a few of us were snickering as it was going on. Then the fact that the only person they heaped any form of criticism on was Haley who followed. It was after that demonstration I was convinced we were looking at a set up, a pure pandering for votes by the judges. Casey is their guy, and with Pia being voted off, they all got together and said hey, we need to make him look really good tonight. I proposed this to the group I was watching the show with and everyone agreed. Let’s face it as much as I like Paul, his performance had flaws all over it. Lauren was pretty much monotone until the end of the song. So yes there were other performers who could have been knocked but they chose not to. So convenient they knock Haley. They’ve knocked her before, so to most of the viewing public they might not notice this was a voting coup. But I’m not fooled

  • grey74

    1. Jacob- he took his spot back on the perch tonight. He nailed this performance like only Jacob can.
    2. Haley- I thought this was right in her wheelhouse. Was shocked to have her universally panned, but as I mentioned earlier I’m very suspicious she was the only one to get dumped on. She was part of a judge vote pandering set up. To me not only was this performance outstanding it shows she is growing as an artist, and actually learning in the process.
    3. James- What can I say he put on a show, and he nailed the vocals on this, easily his best performance. Coming from me who’s never been a fan of him this is amazing, and easily his highest rating for me this year.
    4. Stefano- I just love hearing him sing. He could make a hit with that song all over again
    5. Scotty- I don’t think I have ever rated him this low, but it’s not because he did a bad job, its just that a few others did so much better
    6. Paul- While not a technically perfect routine (he never is), but it was entertaining. I just like the guy.
    7. Lauren- the gal is a broken record. She stopped competing weeks ago, but the judges will never tell her that. Talk about someone who is just going through the motions. She borily sang that song for all but the last 10-15 seconds of it. Just an uninspiring performance, but genius song selection. who’s hotter than Miley Cyrus among the teen crowd. That will keep her in the show another week
    8. Casey- ugh. Now his knew gimmick is angry lounge singer. He took a Jazz classic and made it unlistenable and dare I say worthy of a few snickers. Just when I was kind of liking him again, he went and did this. He took a huge step back for me this week. I think the fact the judges went on and on about it made me hate it more.

    Bottom 3
    Stefano- only because America seems to not like him they are missing out
    Lauren- people are going to start seeing through this pretender, but I think Miley Cyrus keeps her around yet
    Casey- The judges darling finally goes home. That’s it I have had enough, and I think America has too

  • lah

    What James Durbin did was not singing but more or less talking to music. His voice is best suited for heavy metal because you don’t have to be a good singer. So far, this season he has been consistantly inconsistant. His vocals have not improved and his high note is still shrill. Without the on stage antics his performance would be nothing. I’m tired of all the hype around this guy. People open your ears this guy in not a good singer.

  • grey74

    Don’t tell that to the folks that run this website. They think he’s the next best thing since sliced bread. I agree with you, I think the reason I liked this performance the best was because of what you said, you really don’t have to be a good singer to pull it off.