'American Idol' Recap: Take Care of Yourself, James - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Take Care of Yourself, James

Cocky, uninhibited and ultimately super-fragile, he’s finally been released to the wide world

James Durbin sings his farewell song.

Michael Becker/FOX

It’s the end for the most childlike dreamer of the season – James Durbin, who truly believes in magical things. After watching concert footage of a half-naked Lady Gaga climbing her piano mid-song with an instinct that would make most aspiring performers cry with envy, James placidly called it “a cool thing” they’d all hope to be doing someday. That’s an unlikely idea to believe in and an even unlikelier one to voice on national TV. But then, James possesses a DSMV combo platter of unbridled thought and speech: Asperger’s and Tourettes, twin stars in his absurd hard-luck story.

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Another version of an Idol future arrived before the ax fell: former winner Jordin Sparks, whose new single, “I Am Woman,” celebrates the “hectic” life of people who wear stilettos. In the midst of some confident gyrations, Jordin stopped at Steven’s side to kiss him as calmly as if she were saying hello. Haley and Lauren: If either of you ever come back to perform, do not do this. It will be weird. Enrique Iglesias managed to look like he was hitting on an entire crowd of people during his single “Dirty Dancer,” Steven played with a monkey in the video for “Feels So Good” and Gaga mounted her piano in concert. Could the bag of stars on promotional tour have been fuller? Actually, where was Keith Richards?

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Meanwhile, James said goodbye with all the sincere self-awe of a diva. “I did so much stuff that’s never been done on the show before,” he said, presumably referring to the time he marched in with a drum team. Maybe James has forgotten, but Naima also did stuff that’s never been done on the show before (ahem, African dance), and where is she now? This is no time to celebrate. Take your waking slow, James. It’s a long and rocky road for the children of Idol, and you have to prepare.

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