Judging American Idol - Final 4 Edition: James Durbin

From American Tail to American Idol?
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James Durbin - American IdolSaving the best for last, we will now look at James Durbin. Anyone reading this probably knows I’ve been Team James since the moment I saw his audition. Sad story: check, down on his luck: check, amazing vocal ability with a flair for glam rock: check, looks exactly like Fievel from An AmericanTail: check, check. I’m secretly hoping he does the “There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese” song, and I’m only half kidding.

James has actually grown over the course of this competition, I know many think he’s just the heavy metal screamer, but we’ve gotten rid of the bandanas, screeching is down to a minimum, faux hawk has been retired, and we learned he can really sing. 

Why he won’t win: I think the biggest obstacle for James right now is Scotty McCreery, to be honest. I think once he’s up against Haley or Lauren; his age, experience, confidence, stage presence and sheer talent will dwarf either of those girls in comparison. Not saying Scotty is more vocally talented than James because we all know that’s not true but, Scotty is young, single and so vanilla, all-american kid. The little girl voters and their cougar momma’s can pretend he’ll one day be theirs…James is happily engaged with a kid, no fantasy potential there. None of that should matter but, unfortunately those are the one’s doing a large amount of the voting. I seriously do not think James can do anything more than what he’s doing right now, I don’t see anything he should change, tweak or stop doing.

Why he could win: James could win because he’s the best, most versatile singer left in the competition (sorry Haley fans). He is unique in a cookie-cutter genre, and is certainly vocally superior to his likely post-Idol competition. They need him and so do we. James is exactly what I want a heavy metal singer to be, he has range for days, can scream to Heaven, and then slow it down to be beautiful and soft and still so powerful…much like Sebastian Bach and David Draiman.  

Best moment: James has had almost nothing but, good moments; his best moment being a tie between “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” which he did recently for Carole King week. And of course, doing Judas Priest on American Idol has to be mentioned and commended, it was one of my favorite Idol moments, ever.

Not-so-best-moment: I didn’t like “I’ll Be There For You” at all, it was corny and ridiculous, I don’t see James going in a Bon Jovi direction, the song choice was a little misguided. “Living For The City” and “Saturday Night’s Alright” were less than stellar as well.

Verdict: Of the four we have left, James is the 100 percent right choice to win, he has experience, he’s paid dues, he is ready to record right now and can absolutely work the stage and command the audience’s attention. He has to make it past two more eliminations then no matter who is in the finale with him…James will be victorious.