Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Sep 03rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

DurbWatch with video

james-durbinApril 14, 2011 "DURBIN ROCKS!" It may be completely random, the order the contestants perform in on American Idol (it never seems to be the same way twice). But they saved the best for last on Movie Night last night when James Durbin rocked the house with Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal" for the grand finale.

Okay, if you're like me, you never heard of this song before (although I do remember the trippy animated rock movie it comes from, based on the cult '80s comic). But that didn't make James' performance any less exciting and dynamic as he circled the stage, jumped up on the judges' table, or boogied down with his accompanist, legendary rock guitarist Zakk Wylde from the Ozzy Osbourne band, hitting every one of his spine-tingling power crescendos along the way.

 

Because here's the thing about James: it's not all about the power. He sings every song as if he actually gets what the lyrics mean. When he prowls the Idol stage, singing, "Are you ready for midnight?" you get the feeling he's been to midnight a time or two himself. Other contestants may hit all the right notes (or not) and deliver a pretty tune, but when James sings a song, you feel like he's lived it, and that's how he makes every song his own. (He also has the confidence to know what material is right for him, as we saw in a backstage clip from earlier in the week when James politely declined producer Jimmy Iovine's suggestion that he pick another song.)

The judges were as thrilled as anyone. "That felt really, really real," enthused Jennifer Lopez. "That was crazy!" "You guys were just at a James Durbin concert," Randy Jackson told the crowd. "I'm happy you stuck to your guns," he added, to James. "Durbin rocks!" Steven Tyler added approvingly, "Nice lip to Jimmy."

The rest of the show was a pretty mixed bag. Country boy Scotty McCreery (who you can't say exactly challenges himself) flirted with "Everybody's Talkin'"—which would have been interesting—but opted for a yodel-y George Strait song instead. Lauren Alaina sang (yawn) Miley Cyrus from the Hanna Montana movie, Stefano Langone gave a big, earnest vocal on Boyz II Men's "We Belong Together" (from Boomerang), and Haley Reinhart delivered an anemic version of Blondie's "Call Me" (a few bars of which evidently were heard in American Gigolo). Jacob Lusk was persuaded not to unleash his big, throbbing voice on either of his first two choices "The Impossible Dream," or "You'll Never Walk Alone" ("Don't get too corny," cautioned Iovine), and instead powered his way through "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (which they say was used in The Pursuit of Happyness).

Paul McDonald opened the show with a bouncy version of Bob Seger's "Old-Time Rock 'n' Roll" from Risky Business, which was at least better suited to his lightweight talents than his attempts on Johnny Cash and Elton John in previous episodes. But it was up to Casey Abrams to throw a curve ball with his rendition of Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy," accompanied by his own upright bass, bongos, and a piano. (Was this song even in a movie? I'll have to look it up...) It had a kind of cool, retro-hip, smoky jazz club vibe to it, and the judges praised him for "knowing who you are."

But I wonder if he does, exactly; he still seems to be searching for his groove. More to the point, does America know who he is? (After all, last month he was strutting across the stage with an electric guitar, singing Nirvana.) Casey doesn't need to be a big rocker like James, or confine himself to a narrow field, like Scotty. It's great that he's versatile, but he still has to learn James' trick of owning every song he sings, whatever the genre.

Tune in tonight, 8 p.m., to find out how America voted, and meet me back here tomorrow for the download.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Girl Gone Wild

’70s SF recalled in raw, poignant ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs