Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Aug 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Yowza

jamesdurbin_museThe James Durbin show just keeps rockin' along on American Idol. Last week he was the closer, and brought down the house with his raucous "Heavy Metal." In this week's random shuffle, he was the evening's second performer on Music of the New Millennium night; typically, he brought the show to a premature climax with his powerhouse delivery of the anthem, "Uprising" by Muse

I love Muse. I've seen them live onstage, and I can tell you, covering one of their songs is not for the fainthearted. "Uprising" is probably one of their best known numbers, played incessantly on TV a couple of years ago as the driving theme song for the sci-fi series "V." But as usual, James put his own stamp on the number.

First, there was the production: he marched out of the wings with a corps of drummers who circled the stage, pounding out the beat, while James sang. Then there was the performance itself. James sang the busy lyrics with power and clarity, but while the song builds in intensity, it doesn't afford the opportunity to hit those high wailing notes that he loves. Undaunted, he created his own drama by singing two of four lines in the final chorus an octave higher. ("They will stop degrading us!") In a word: yowza.

"That's going to be the best performance of the night—and you're only number two!" enthused judge Jennifer Lopez. "Dude, you are unbelievable out there!" Randy Jackson chimed in.

Granted, there seems to be less and less to fear from the competition as time goes by. Scotty McCreery played it country safe with a laid-back version of LeAnn Rimes' "Swingin'." Ditto Lauren Alaina, closing with a sweet, but uninspiring "Born To Fly" by Sara Evans. Jacob Lusk channeled Luther Vandross with an emotional "Dance With My Father," and sang beautifully (although Jackson did suggest he not hold back, and learn to "bring it" like James). Haley Reinhart did a pretty strong vocal on the Adele song, "Rolling in the Deep," but the backstage clips of producer Jimmy iovine instructing her to look for the "heartache" in the song were illuminating for a singer who doesn't always seem to grasp what her lyrics mean. Stefano Langone, too, sang a fairly confident cover of Ne-Yo's "Closer," but only after we saw clips of Iovine trying to explain to him the "difference between whining and begging, and sexy." Ouch.

Then there was wild-card Casey Abrams, who confounded expectations again by coming out with a guitar and a back-up band to work out on the Maroon V rocker, "Harder To Breathe." He lost a little of the song's relentlessness, but otherwise gave an accomplished performance. Besides which, there's just something indefinable about Casey, something sly and fun that makes you just want to see what he'll do next.

On the other hand it's easy to define James' appeal—he's exciting! He also understands the science of performing. The production he envisions for his number every week (no doubt honed during all those years in local musical theater) is light years ahead of what any of the other contestants ever thinks of. And you certainly never hear Iovine lecturing James about what his songs mean.

What does America think? Tune in tonight, 8 pm, for the next round of judging.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover