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

By: Robbie Daw / April 14, 2011

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!

THE STANDOUTS

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!”

THE SO-SO

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.

THE UH-OH

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.