The buzz surrounding this week's episode of "American Idol" was especially high, given the major elimination shocker of assumed front-runner Pia Toscano last week. And while the contestants are always dealing with the looming pressure of elimination, there seemed to be an extra sense of anxiety coming from the eight remaining "Idol" hopefuls.
Nevertheless, there were a few standout performers who sang their hearts out during the always-interesting Songs of Cinema theme week. One in particular was heavy metal enthusiast and all-around rocker James Durbin.
Durbin made "Idol" history earlier this season when he sang the first Judas Priest track "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," marking the first time Priest was ever performed on the main stage. On Wednesday night (April 13), he went raw rocker again and, against the recommendations of mentors Jimmy Iovine and wil.i.am, performed Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal," from the '80s movie of the same name. "Give metal a chance!" Durbin said to the camera in the preview package that aired before his performance.
Joining Durbin onstage for his loud, energetic and guitar-solo-heavy performance was legendary Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, who said afterward that Durbin "sang his ass off."
"That felt really, really real!" a very excited Jennifer Lopez exclaimed. "I really loved that. I don't know what these are sounding like at home but here they are killing it dead," she said. "Who would have ever thought that on 'Idol' we would have heavy metal?"
Fellow judges Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler were equally impressed.
"My God, you guys were just at a James Durbin concert, at a Zakk Wylde concert," Jackson told the audience. "I'm happy you stuck to your guns," he told Durbin of going against mentor Iovine's wishes. "We always tell contestants to 'do you' and tonight you did you. ... I can see you onstage with Ozzy at the next Ozzfest! Durbin rocks!"
"Outstanding, Durbin," Tyler said. "I'm glad you went with your feelings. ... Nice lip to Jimmy, man."
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