You know the producers of American Idol are on to something when they choose to open and close the show with James Durbin. It's the number one rule of showbiz: first, smack 'em upside the head and get their attention, then leave 'em wanting more. James delivered on both counts.
Although it was advertised as Leiber & Stoller night (the veteran songwriting duo who penned countless rockabilly, R&B, and Motown hits in the '50s and early '60s), Wednesday night's show was divided into two segments, giving each of the four remaining contestants two big numbers. The Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller catalogue was used in the second half of the show, but in the first half, the competitors had to pick a song that they found "inspirational."
James chose to remain absolutely true to himself, opening the show with the Journey anthem, "Don't Stop Believin'." In the preview clip, he said it represented his own personal journey that has led him to A I, "because, since Day One, I've never stopped believing." His was a straight-ahead, stand-up rendition with no tricks; some minor pyrotechnics upstage, but otherwise it was all about his powerful, persuasive voice. He brought the crowd to its feet.
It was also left to James to close the show with a high-octane, rockin' version of "Love Potion No. 9," with a powerhouse, delayed finish that was so worth the wait. (Read more)
For those of you who came in late, here's the backstory on James Durbin's excellent American Idol adventure.