'American Idol' contestant to perform at Dos Amigos
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 5:31 pm
James Durbin wants the disenfranchised youth in the Permian Basin
to know they can endure and overcome the bullying and loneliness they
may be feeling. He's living proof.
The 23-year-old singer will be performing Tuesday at Dos Amigos in
Odessa, opening for Buckcherry. The Santa Cruz, Calif., native is
best known for the booming rock voice he showcased on season 10 of
"American Idol," in which country teen crooner Scotty McCreery
was crowned the winner.
Of his season on "Idol,"
in which he finished in fourth place, Durbin said in a recent phone
interview with the Reporter-Telegram that he is grateful for the exposure
the show gave his career. He also is a little defensive of the criticisms
some have levied on the series, which include the possibility the
results are predetermined.
"I know for a fact it's not rigged. It's America," Durbin
said. "People thought Pia (Toscano) was gonna win last year and
she got eliminated. Someone will have a great performance and people
will figure they're totally safe. They don't need their vote. And
then they get eliminated. That's what happened with me."
Durbin also doesn't buy into the charge that the dominate "American
Idol" voting bloc of tween girls and older women might have been
turned off or threatened by his song choices. True rockers -- including
Chris Daughtry and Constantine Maroulis -- tend to fare well on the
show, but don't win. He pointed out that with the exception of a Sammy
Hagar song and a performance with Judas Priest, his appearances represented
"I really did what I could to please everyone," Durbin said
"I love metal but that's not all that I am. Muse is far from
metal. Paul McCartney is far from metal. 'Idol' isn't about what song
you sing. It's about what you do with that song that makes you unique."
Being unique and loyal to "American Idol" is paying off
for Durbin. His April 12 performance on the show garnered the singer
votes in a new way -- through sales of his new album, "Memories
of a Beautiful Disaster." Durbin said his appearance gave the
album quite a boost.
"It's doing great," Durbin said of the album. "It sold
100,000 units before the 'Higher Than Heaven' performance on 'Idol.'
We looked at where the album was (before the appearance) on iTunes
rock charts and it was No. 130 in the country and now it's No. 5.
When we looked at it on Amazon, it was No. 503, and now it's at No.
Durbin's California upbringing was far from idyllic. His father, also
an aspiring musician, died when Durbin was 9. Shortly after his father's
death of a drug overdose, Durbin was diagnosed with Tourette's and
Asperger's syndromes. The symptoms of those maladies -- which manifest
in tics, or uncontrollable physical movements -- led to bullying that
caused Durbin to retreat to his room and a world of music. That world
probably saved his life, or at least his sanity, Durbin said.
"As soon as I started showing interest (in music), my mom immediately
worked it out so that I could have music scholarships," Durbin
said. He abandoned traditional schooling to enroll in various performing
arts programs, where he polished his stage presence and honed his
Although his tics from can be seen and heard when he talks, there's
no sign of them when he's performing. He's confident to the point
of being brash and cocky onstage, traits admired and respected by
his fans. But, it wasn't always so easy for him
"When I was younger, it was hard dealing with my tics and dealing
with just being different, being bullied," Durbin said. "It's
hard having to deal with that rejection. But, I learned to rise above
it. I never fought back."
"That's really sad," Durbin said upon hearing of Midland's
recent teen suicides and advised anyone going through that kind of
pain to hang on and try to find some way of turning it into something
"I was bullied every day through elementary school, middle school
and high school," he said. "I'm still bullied. I got beat
up. The hardest thing anyone can do is tell someone what's happening.
But, I always did. It tore me up inside until I discovered music."
Durbin's experiences with bullies have led him to use his celebrity
to passively combat the cruelty some human beings can inflict on others.
"It's fortunate that I get to work with the Creative Coalition
and World Wrestling Entertainment to do our part to end bullying,"
he said. "Through an anti-bullying ad campaign I'm really happy
to be a part of called Be a Star, we go to middle schools all over
the country and talk to kids and tell them our stories and how we
rose above it and still achieve our dreams and achieve success."
Also appearing at Tuesday's show will be Redlight King. Tickets for
the concert are $23 and were still available at press time late Thursday.