Backstage with ‘American Idol’s’ James Durbin

Hours before the Top 11 from American Idol season 10 took the stage at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, I had the opportunity to talk with a certain Idol contestant that was extremely excited and happy to be back in his neck of the woods.

Santa Cruz native, James Durbin and I sat down backstage for a pre-show chat, where he discussed getting the crowd up and on their feet during the tour, writing and recording for his album, and the episode of Idol that neither of us will be forgetting anytime soon.

So how does it feel to be performing in the Bay Area?

It feels great. We did Oakland last night, and that was insane. I’m really excited for tonight.

It has to be a cool feeling to have tried out for the show in San Francisco, and have this full circle kind of moment.

This place, HP Pavilion, I came to my very first sporting event here. It was the Sharks versus the Avalanche. I was five-years-old, packed arena, and out of every single person, my one seat, I won a CD player. And then a hockey puck got hit over [the barrier] and landed right next to me. Unfortunately the Sharks lost, but two out of three things ain’t bad.

I’ve been here so many times. I’ve seen countless wrestling shows here. I once waited for three hours and climbed on top of that cement wall to catch a glimpse of Chris Jericho. Now I have him on speed dial. We were just texting and he’s in Europe with his band touring. We went and saw Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, Poison, and Motley Crue, and hang out all the time. It’s so crazy, it’s a full swing.

Very cool. Have you been able to get back to Santa Cruz while you’re here, or does everyone kind of have to come to you?

Everyone’s had to come here. I’m dying to go to Socrates and get a sandwich, but unfortunately not, which really sucks. It’s a twenty minute cab ride. I could grab lunch and come back.

So, how has the tour been going so far with the handful of shows you’ve done so far?

This will only be our sixth show out of forty-seven. It already feels like it’s been awhile, but it’s only been a blink. But, it’s gone really good; every show’s been great. Everyone’s been really receptive, everyone’s there to have a good time. Sometimes they need to be reminded that they’re supposed to have a good time. A lot of people have been sitting down.

You know, I’ve gone to a handful of Idol tours, and sometimes people treat the live show like they’re at home watching y’all on TV, instead of embracing the vibe of being at a concert.

I know some people get agitated if people are standing up, Sit down! We’re trying to watch the show! It’s a concert; you’re supposed to stand up! We enjoy it when you stand. That’s why when I come out for my set, I come out through the crowd. I want people to stand up! Stand up! Try and find me!

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Idol Wired >> Wait…What Just Happened?

I could be heard throughout American Idol’s Thursday night’s results show repeating the same question, “What just happened?”

I mean, seriously, where to start? Do I start with the “Judges’ Save?” Do I start with Hulk Hogan? Or do I start with Steven Tyler turning 120? (I kid, I kid!)

Let’s start with the “Judges’ Save,” because a little more than a week ago I made what has been I believe my only prediction about season 10 so far via Twitter. It was then shown on MTV.com’s “Idol Party Live!” hosted by the super awesome Jim Cantiello live after each results show. Check out who I thought the “Judges’ Save” was going to go to this season.

Of course, if you watched Thursday night, you know that my prediction was totally wrong. Supposedly Casey Abrams had the lowest total number of votes after Wednesday night’s performances. I can kind of believe it, because he didn’t have a great performance and he went first that night, which means that with 10 other performances, people could have just forgot about him. Also, there’s the possibility of voter complacency. However, the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that Idol really wanted to create some buzz. And what better way to create some buzz than to possibly eliminate a huge fan favorite?

Even I have to admit that when the judges told Casey he was saved was a great moment. Although, I thought for sure he was going to throw up, or have to take another trip to the hospital. Casey’s reaction was truly the icing on the cake for the night.

Other than that, I hope next week’s results show can be as entertaining and unexpected as last Thursday’s was. I loved seeing the contestants singing with Stevie Wonder. More than that, I loved Steven Tyler’s reaction to Stevie Wonder on stage. As much as I enjoyed Idol pulling out the stops to celebrate Steven’s birthday, I had to wonder if Randy was sitting there thinking, “I’ve been on this show for the entire time it’s been in existence, and never has anyone surprised me with Mariah Carey serenading me on my birthday!”

I have to say that seeing Hulk Hogan on Idol is hands down the craziest thing that I have seen on this show. I loved the video of the contestants talking about James Durbin’s love of pro-wrestling. His reaction to Hulk Hogan coming on stage to let him and Paul McDonald know they were safe and going on tour was pretty hilarious. Hogan “punching” Ryan Seacrest into the crowd was also funny. I don’t care to see a professional wrestler every week on Idol, but it was a cute moment this past week.

Thinking ahead to next Wednesday, with Casey being saved this week, what does that mean for the contestants? Well, all 11 contestants will be going on tour this summer, so there’s that. But, they still have to sing their butts off next week, because it is “Elton John Week” and two of them will be eliminated. My only advice for the contestants next week is more like a plea. Please don’t sing “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.” It’s been done over and over and over again.

So to recap, Casey was saved from elimination, the Top 11 will tour, and two contestants will go home next week. What did y’all think about the results and Thursday’s overall show?

Originally posted on BlogCritics.