Friday, May 13, 2011

'American Idol 10' - The fall of James Durbin

Blogger was down Thursday night, and when it came back up, it appears my performance show recap got lost in the shuffle. An entire 90-minute recap gone. Sheesh. And, of course, I was unable to do the results show recap. This wouldn't normally be such a big deal, but this was the one week people probably would have been interested in reading. Oh well. I'm actually more aggravated by the loss of the performance show recap.

I have to say I did not see James' elimination coming. Even when Haley was sent to the stools of glory, I figured Scotty would be out. Certainly, though, no one was more surprised than James, who had completely bought into all the hype and clearly thought he'd be in the finals. And why not? Randy all but placed the crown on his head two weeks ago, and the judges constant pimping of him had to make him feel pretty damn secure.

What really frosts me is that all this really hurt James, both with the viewers and personally. Viewers do not like to be told who is going to win four weeks before the finale. Period. This kind of heavy pimpage has been the downfall of many very good contestants on this show, and certainly led to James' elimination. Daughtry is one, but over the years, there have been numerous contestants who have been prematurely "crowned" only to see their 'Idol' journeys end way too soon.

Earlier this season, it was Pia who found herself on the short end of the voting tally in what was a pretty surprising elimination. Remember Melinda Doolittle, the judges' darling from Season 6? She is probably one of the best pure vocalists the show has ever had, but found herself edged out by Blake Lewis for a spot in the finals with Jordin Sparks. LaToya London (Season 3) sang circles around Jasmine Trias, but found herself out in the Top 4. And of course, there's Tamyra Gray, the first season's early favorite, who was also eliminated in the Top 4.

But James' elimination might have been the toughest to watch. Here's a guy with two fairly debilitating conditions who has overcome a great deal in his life to get to where he is today. And although the producers capitalized on his disabilities early on, James never used this as an excuse or tried to play on it in any way. But these conditions made him more vulnerable than the average contestant and he doesn't have the same filtering mechanisms in place. His emotional reaction to his elimination was one of the most "real" moments we've ever had on this show, and while it made for great TV, it hurt.

The judges (and producers) should have taken James condition into consideration before proclaiming him the victor. Someone should have seen his increasingly over-confident behavior and had a talk with him. It might have helped soften the blow.  I certainly hope he was able to talk to a professional after the results show. I wasn't his biggest fan, but I felt so bad for him.

In the end, James will probably do okay. I hope he gets picked up by an established band. I think that would be the best fit for him. He is a great frontman and certainly has the chops to succeed. He needs someone to guide him, though, and I hope he isn't taken advantage of.

James' elimination really dummies down the finals. We could end up with two country teens in what might be the dullest finale ever. Haley could spice things up, but in the end, it's Scotty's to lose. But that's what she said!!!

Hopefully, Blogger will get these issues resolved before next Wednesday.  Now, I'm off to watch 'CMT's Next Superstar!'

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