James Durbin’s vocals have been compared to Adam Lambert since he auditioned for “American Idol” in San Francisco. He certainly has the Adam Lambert scream down pat. And Tuesday evening, during the Top 12 guys performances on the Hollywood stage, Durbin brought out that scream to display for the audience just how much vocal control he had. Singing Judas Priest’s pounding “You Got Another Thing Coming,” Durbin rocked the house — and impressed the glam rocker as well.
Lambert took to Twitter Tuesday to document his impression of James’ offering. “Durbin sounded badass tonight!” he wrote. “Lot more control! And while we both have a rock scream I think we’re pretty different stylistically.”
Different stylistically. Could be. Durbin does seem to be more in touch with his inner metal god. Still, although Lambert may be more of a glam guy, one remembers him lighting up the stage with a couple of hard rocker tunes. Remember him rocking Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love?” How about Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild?”
On Tuesday night, Durbin cranked up the volume on “American Idol” a bit. Singing sixth, the show had seen a rousing opener by Clint Jun Gamboa (Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”), but Gamboa’s Asian Urkel look distracted from his admittedly great singing. What followed was two forgettable performances by Jovanny Barreto and Tim Halperin; a really awful karaoke version of Usher’s “OMG” by Jordan Dorsey; and a strangely engaging, if understated, “Light My Fire” by Brett Loewenstern, who must have tossed his hair 20 times (someone on the show said 14, but the count seemed a bit low).
Wearing a scarf tail (he later said it was something to make him stand out), the 22-year-old father of one nailed “You Got Another Thing Coming.” And one can’t help but note the clarity, timbre, and sound of Durbin’s voice is eerily similar to Adam Lambert’s…
As an aside, Rob Halford no doubt would agree that Durbin did his song justice…
Judge Steven Tyler, who has had a bit of trouble dropping the f-bomb at times, had control issues in his critique of James’ performance as well. “James,” he said, “That was f***ing crazy good!” Fellow judge Jennifer Lopez pointed to the little “American Idol” oval host Ryan Seacrest had presented Tyler with at the show’s beginning and Tyler clownishly redelivered his sentiments from behind the oval. He then pointed out that “You Got Another Thing Coming” was the first Judas Priest song ever performed on the show. Durbin agreed that it was.
“I love it that you’re over the top,” Tyler finished.
Lopez, who had rocked and swayed and clapped and held up her finger on high in the No. 1 position during Durbin’s performance had glowing remarks as well. She told him she loved the way he sang, how “organic” and “naturally” he performed. “It’s insane,” she said, then reinforced Tyler’s comment that Durbin was “crazy good.”
“I tell you what,” judge Randy Jackson said. “This is right here how you do it!” He pointedly reiterated to the other contestants that that was how it was done. “Excellent,” he said.
Although he didn’t invoke Adam Lambert’s name, it was in the air. Jackson told Durbin that he did well by controlling his high note and called the way he had used his scream “tasty.”
But how “tasty” did the “American Idol” viewing audience find James Durbin’s performance? That will be learned on Thursday’s results show, when the Top 10 vote receivers — five guys and five girls — are announced, along with three judges Wild Card picks. Six other guys performed after James and, allowing for the judges’ responses to guys like Scotty McCreery, Jacob Lusk, and the irrepressibly creative Casey Abrams, they either met or exceeded the bar set by Durbin.
“American Idol” Season 10 has quickly become a tight competition…
“American Idol,” Fox Television
“Adam Lambert,” Twitter.com
American Idol, “James Durbin — You Got Another Thing Comin, 3/1/11,” YouTube.com