James Durbin Shocked by Elimination, Has a Hunch Who Will Win 'American Idol'

by Hilary Rothing, posted May 13th 2011 2:20PM
"Give metal a chance!" Those words have been James Durbin's battle cry throughout his 'American Idol' run and his parting comments during today's exit interview conference call.

"It's been a real whirlwind of emotion, but I've been really thinking about why I came on this show and why I even auditioned in the first place and I'm brought back to those feelings," said Durbin. "It's for my family, and it's to try and give a voice to a genre of music that seems like it's really slowly fading away. I just really accomplished a lot on the show, and I'm just really grateful and thankful for the opportunities."

Like many fans who expected Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart to battle it our for a place in the Top 3, last night, James Durbin admitted that he too was shocked by his elimination.

"I'm not gonna lie. I definitely was [shocked], but there was something off with the kinetic energy with everyone at the studio yesterday, and I just kinda felt it with everyone's body language. There was something, a real somber feeling I just kinda caught it. I freaked out a little before the show started and I just knew it. I was told 'Don't worry about it,' but I knew it."

Of course, comparisons to another famous fourth-place finisher, Chris Daughtry, are inevitable. But the season 5 rocker commented that not winning 'Idol' probably preserved his "rock cred," in retrospect. Asked if he felt taking the crown in America's no. 1 singing/popularity contest would hurt his rocker rep, James acknowledged the potential downside.

"That makes plenty of sense, but winning would have been just great, too. I don't know, there's the first instinct when you're up there and Ryan says you're going home. First instinct is, Gosh, I wanted to win so badly and it feels like like I failed, but thinking about it, I haven't failed at all. It's still just the beginning."

On that note, James revealed some of his musical plans moving forward, post-'Idol.' Aside from Zakk Wylde, the rocker has already connected with another great metal / prog rock artist.

"Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater -- I talked to him, I got to meet him, and I asked him if he'd be down for anything like that, and he said 'absolutely,' so that's pretty amazing," he said. "Zakk Wylde, again but I have a little secret weapon back home, my best friend back home, I asked him if he'd be my guitarist for anything post 'Idol' and that's why I'm really looking forward to this now, because we have a plan to bring back great frontmen and their lead guitarists. You had Ozzy and Randy Rhoads or Ozzy and Tony Iommi and or Dio and Iommi or Dio and Vivian Campbell, just amazing metal duos. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry or Steve Perry and Neal Schon. It just keeps going and going....the list goes on and on and for some reason it seems like it stopped and we really want to bring it back. The essence of rock and roll."

Looking back on his 'Idol' run, James commented on the best piece of advice he's received as well as his performances leading up to this his fourth-place finish.

"[The best advice I got] would probably have to be just don't hold back, just overall, just roll with it. Just keep going, keep giving it everything. And Randy said this is your competition to lose. You know and I felt like I'm going out on top, Wednesday. I had two of my best performances of my entire my life. They were both really consistent, they were both pinpoint perfect. You know, I'm my own biggest critic and I shut myself up on that one. I didn't have anything to say. I was really proud of myself and just really excited to see what was next and go home for that top 3 [visit], but not everything works out the way you expect it."

Asked who he thinks will win, now that he's out of the running, unlike past eliminated contestants, who typically dodge the question, James said he's got a feeling about the Top 3 but played it coy when pressed for a name.

"I have a feeling who might take it but at this point, you can't really choose...Who do you think? I ain't saying but who do you think...?"

A few other tidbits from The Durbinator's last words:

• James storyboarded all of his performances, working closely with the crew on each number

• James has been told he looks like both Matt Damon and Steven Seagal (when he had long black hair in a pony tail)

• He met his fiancee Heidi when he was just 9 and she was 13; both their moms attended the same church.

• Performing in children's theater was a great help to James as he learned to deal with high-functioning Autism and Tourette's.

• Now chums with pro-wrestler and 'Dancing with the Stars' contestant, Chris Jericho, James noted that both were eliminated after dancing to/singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin.'"

• Expect a Black Sabbath / Iron Maiden feel on James' album. He noted both Neon Nights and Holy Diver, as big influences.

• "Expect the unexpected" from James at the finale!

What are your thoughts of James Durbin's elimination? Let us know in the comments and for more on this week's results show, check out our full recap and the latest edition of 'Something Pitchy!'

'American Idol' airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8PM ET on Fox.

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Hey...I have a comment. Where's my comment? I posted before. Any way I agree James was by far the best talent. He was told by the judges that he gave great performances EVERY week. He did. So why is he gone? Look at the comments. He was a definate favorite. I will not watch the show again until they change the voting or whatever is going on. Adam Lambert and James Durbin? NOT . And by the way i'm not a teeny bopper. I am 63 years old and Know good music. Change it!

May 20 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

James, I am a 60 year young woman who grew up during the fabulous late 60's/early 70's. I fell in love with your performances and was very saddened when you didn't make it. I feel in my heart that you WILL have a wonderful career in music but most of all you will have a wonderful life with a wife and children. Keep the faith in what you do. God bless and good luck.

May 20 2011 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Hall

Every year its the same old crap, You get the cream of the crop and then you have all the tots voting for the cute ones who have no vocal range, and about as much showmanship as a funeral. Durbin could sing it all,with more passion than any of the left over talent!!!!!

May 20 2011 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh yeah, instead of "Give Metal A Chance", how about "Shove Metal Down Your Throat". Some of these underage voters need a good lesson in what real talent is about, as do those who just don't get metal. Down their throats until they say, "Metal Rules!!". BTW, as an example, James mentioned Dio (R.I.P). His voice towers over anyone in any genre of music. Shove that in your pipe and smoke it.

May 20 2011 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

James was the ONLY reason worth watching AI. I did not watch this week since it would have been, well, really boring. Thankfully, finally, Haley went home. UGH!! Anyway, if James has Zakk and Mike Portnoy lined up for something, he will smoke these other people in unit sales when his CD comes out. SMOKE THEM. Just like Chris Daughtry did (who had the highest selling debut CD than anyone on AI, including previous winners - check out that stat if you don't believe it). The fact that he could get an unbelievable drummer like Mike Portnoy to sit behind the kit and bring some amazing beats is good enough for me. I hope he does what Daughtry did. He's better off not winning so that they wouldn't have a chance to turn him into something he's not. The voting, however, needs to change. Too bad there isn't a minimum age for voting like there is for drinking. This is a singing and not a popularity contest.

May 20 2011 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have quit watching american idol. I will not watch the show ever again. I think it is fixed. James Durbin should have won hands down. He is the only on that made the show exciting. I hope the ratings took a big hit this week. Maybe they will wake up and do something about this madness.

May 19 2011 at 10:10 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I'm not watching anymore...have too many other things to do. The top 3 are good-but-yeesh-boring.

May 18 2011 at 11:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

David Archuletta, Adam Lambert and now James Durbin.............a definate pattern of voting corruption here. If "Idol" is to remain on the air it must fix the voting to 1 phone 1 vote. These 3 guys are the very best of the best and what makes the show a winner. To deny them the title because of voting fraud is criminal. I think they should all file a class action law suit against the show to prevent this from ever happening again! To quote Jlow "This is serious business!" These boys deserve 25 million dollars each for being decieved by the producers. Not a promise of a recording contract that they can easily get themselves.

May 18 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

James was the only reason I watched. There needs to be more influence in the voting by the judges. Professionals rather than the current system. I see no reason to continue watching if the best is not rewarded.

May 18 2011 at 12:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

James should not have gone home, Haley should have. They really need to look at the voting process and I think the judges should have more influence. American voters are a disappointment in all areas of voting. Shame on us.

May 18 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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