Return to James Durbin






Who’s Hot in Hollywood

May 18, 2012 | by Jamie Wilson

Former American Idol finalist James Durbin, 23, is rockin’ around America while dealing with Tourette syndrome daily. He discusses the disorder, which causes movement and speech tics, in the documentary Different Is the New Normal, airing on PBS. Durbin, a role model for the teen at the heart of the film, finds he doesn’t have as many tics when he’s performing — a far cry from the past. It was around the time of his diagnosis at age 11 that he got his first guitar. “I realized music is my escape. I can create my own galaxy,” Durbin says. “If I’m bullied and beat up and spit on at school for being different and not being able to control the things I have, I can go home and instead of crying about it, I can play it. If I’m feeling down, I’ll make up something cool and play something happy. It’s the same today, that’s the way I am onstage.”