James Durbin’s impressive run on “American Idol” ended last night (May 12) in a shocking elimination that left the rocker visibly upset. While Scotty McCreery, Haley Reinhart and Lauren Alaina move on to the Top 3, Durbin, who had never entered the Bottom 2 during the show’s 10th season, ended his run by performing Paul McCartney‘s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and making judge Jennifer Lopez teary.
In a conference call one day later, Durbin admitted that he didn’t see the elimination coming, but that he plans to fashion a long career out of returning metal to the mainstream. Check out what Durbin had to say about hanging out with the other “Idol” guys, his favorite hard rock albums, and the TV curse of Journey‘s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which he performed on Wednesday’s episode.
Were you blindsided by what happened last night?
James Durbin: I’m not gonna lie, I definitely was. But there was something off with the kinetic energy of everyone at the studio yesterday. I just kind of felt it off of people’s body language — not that people knew, it’s just that there was a real somber feeling… I freaked out a little bit before the show started, and I just knew it, I really did.
You came in fourth place, which was when Chris Daughtry went out. When he was eliminated, he said he was glad he didn’t win because it would have ruined his “rock cred.”
That makes plenty of sense; winning would have been just great too. There’s the first instinct when you’re up there, and Ryan says, “You’re going home,” the first instinct is, “Gosh, I wanted to win so badly,” and it feels like I’ve failed. But now, thinking about it, it’s like, I haven’t failed at all. This is just the beginning… I can really appreciate now — and I’ll figure it out more in the coming days — the finale, and the tour, and releasing my stuff, and just really getting to work, is exciting, and I’m really stoked.
What will your record sound like?
It definitely has to have a real throwback feel. “Holy Diver” is probably my favorite album, or “Neon Knights” by Black Sabbath… My guitarist is a total shredder, and he’s amazing. It’s gonna be awesome, and we’re going to force it onto the airwaves. It’s no joke — we feel very strongly about our music, and real strongly that it seems like it’s dying out and that can’t happen. We gotta find some way to get it back out there. I’m definitely really excited to collaborate with people and work with different songwriters and musicians. It’s just gonna be awesome.
Who did you become closest with on the show?
I’m definitely closest with all the guys, really. Stefano’s gonna be the best man at my wedding. Paul’s gonna be one of my groomsmen. We had a little jam band with myself, Paul, Casey and Stefano. It was just fun hanging out and making up silly songs — boys stuff, songs about boogers.
Do you think there was anything about Wednesday’s songs, “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Love Potion No. 9,” that didn’t connect with people for some reason?
I don’t know, and it’s kind of funny: a friend I made while out here is Chris Jericho, who’s on “Dancing with the Stars.” Big metalhead, singer in a metal band, pro wrestler. The last song he danced to before his elimination was “Don’t Stop Believin’.” So “Don’t Stop Believin'” eliminated James Durbin, Chris Jericho and Tony Soprano.