11:33 PM EDT 10/16/2013

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James Durbin

American Idol

American Idol: Is James Durbin the One to Beat?

Originally posted 04/28/2011 07:50AM



It was a night of songs by Carole King – a great pop songwriter with a big catalog of hits reaching back decades, but with a pop style that must seem almost classically formal to American Idol's six young finalists. The result was a well-sung, not terribly dynamic 90-minute show.

James Durbin skipped the big theatrical statements for "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." In rehearsal, he tried it as a simple ballad on guitar, but producer Jimmy Iovine urged him to go with his strong hand – rock – and the result, which was rhythmic and sweet, was his most satisfying performance yet. Jennifer Lopez bopped along as if she were alone in that magic disco we call romantic fantasy. "That was the first song I ever made out to a girl with," said Steven Tyler at the end of a (fairly) positive assessment. "It was in a bowling alley and, no, Randy, I didn't strike out." Jennifer called him "the star of the night." Randy Jackson made a bold prediction: "This guy just might win the whole thing," he said, before giving Durbin a hug.

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