One year ago, James Durbin was sailing along on “American Idol,” riding a string of powerhouse performances to a (presumed) spot in the finals — until he was sent packing in a shocking elimination . And yes, he remembers it well. In fact, it’s why he’ll be tuning into the show this week.
“Oh, I’ll definitely watch this week, because this was the week [last year] when I was like, ’Yeah, I’m so pumped, I kicked ass, it couldn’t have gone better!’ And then I go into work the next day, and no one’s making eye contact with me,” he laughed. “So that was like, ’Oh, son of a bitch.’ I knew the moment I got to work that day [that I was going to be eliminated]. But it is what it is. I was happy to make it that far. … It’s a whirlwind that they put you through, especially when you’re as unstable as I was.”
And while he’s more than moved on — his debut album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, was released in November, and he’s currently touring with hard-rock brethren Buckcherry — he still watches “Idol” on occasion. He can’t help but think that history repeated itself this past week when another “Idol” fan favorite, Skylar Laine , was voted off the show.
“I’m disappointed. She was my pick to win,” he said. “She actually has stage presence. She puts on a show. That’s what I try to do as much as possible, that’s what I evoke, and that’s what inspires me. And that was cool to see for her genre. She loves Miranda [Lambert], and she loves Reba [McEntire] and she loves Jason Aldean, and that’s perfect for her, that’s her audience that she’s aiming at, and that’s the kind of music I could see her making.”
Durbin also had kind words for “Idol” castoff Colton Dixon — which is interesting, considering he made headlines earlier this season for criticizing the tight-trousered rocker for a perceived lack of authenticity — and for biting his performance from the previous season. But all that is water under the bridge these days, because Durbin has buried the hatchet (or, more appropriately, the broadsword, which he inexplicably clutched for the entirety of his interview with MTV News) and is only focused on one thing: spreading the gospel of rock.
“The only reason I said that was because it seemed like he had shied away from what he was,” Durbin explained. “I got to talk to him when I was there [last month], and he’s a great kid, he’s a great singer, and I’m excited to hear what he puts out. It’s exciting for any sort of genre of music just to see something new, and he definitely has his base. He knows where he’s at, so I just like to see artists like himself who know who they are be who they are.
” ’Idol’ is an interesting thing to be on, because people are pulling you in every which direction, and you just have to be comfortable in your own skin, knowing who you are and knowing what makes you tick and knowing what you want to convey and how you want to be perceived,” he continued. “I mean, it basically boils down to you. If you want be looked at as a Rock God, then you have to act like a Rock God. … You gotta be it, live it, breathe it, eat it, sleep it, poop it.”
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