"American Idol" viewers were shocked when season 10 rocker James Durbin was eliminated last week. His over-the-top performances — complete with fiery pianos, apocalyptic costumes and rock-and-roll wails — earned rave reviews from the judges. Up until his farewell, he had always been a top vote-getter.
With his penchant for dramatic staging (and the occasional stylish trench coat), producers often framed James as "the Adam Lambert" of season 10. Durbin even cited Lambert as an influence early on in his "Idol" run and was thrilled to get personal advice from the successful "Idol" alum when he visited the set. But when push comes to shove, James insists he and Adam are apples and oranges.
"I don't know what the comparison's all about. He sings pop and electronic, and I sing rock and metal," Durbin told MTV News on Monday (May 16).
It's a distinction that Lambert himself noted in February, Tweeting, among several positive comments, "While we both have a rock scream, I think we're pretty different stylistically." Recently, Lambert — and a host of past "Idol" stars — publicly shifted support to Haley Reinhart.
Durbin dismisses any theories that Adam's opinion swayed fans to another camp, although he did take notice when his "Idol" brother told The Hollywood Reporter that he was "kind of over" James.
Durbin casually shrugged, "I was nothing [but] nice to that guy and, you know, he decided to take it to a different level. Whatever."
With a buzz-worthy "Idol" run under his belt and a big summer tour with the other season 10 finalists on the way, Durbin has every reason to brush off any naysayers. In fact, the California native received an unprecedented hero's welcome in Santa Cruz last Friday, with 30,000 fans showing up for a free concert.
For now, Durbin is only looking ahead to what the future holds, and he's hungry to get into the studio to make some colorful hard-rock music.
"I'm gonna keep it real my post 'Idol' career. I'm not gonna pretend to be somebody else on the show and then do something completely different with my career. I know who I am, I know what I wanna do, and I know where my fans are. And I know what they want."
Fans can check out James Durbin and the rest of the Top 11 on this summer's American Idols Live! Tour, which kicks off in West Valley City, Utah, on July 6.
Don't miss "Idol Party Live" every Thursday at noon on MTV.com for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke — get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.