James William Durbin (born January 6, 1989) is an American heavy metal/hard rock singer and guitarist from Santa Cruz, California, who finished in fourth place on the tenth season of American Idol. He is now the lead singer of the metal band Quiet Riot.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Durbin was born in 1989 to Judy Settle-Durbin and Willy Durbin. His father, a musician, died of a drug overdose when Durbin was nine. He announced during his aired audition on American Idol, he was upset he didn't get a chance to know his father well. He was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and Asperger syndrome shortly after his father died. He attended Musicscool, a music school run by Dale Ockerman in Santa Cruz. He performed with groups formed by Dale Ockerman The White Album Ensemble, and Guitarmy.

In 2006, he performed in a Santa Cruz children's theater group called Kids on Broadway and played the lead role in Grease and Beauty and the Beast. In 2007, he played the leading roles of Tony in West Side Story and Oscar in Sweet Charity—both productions produced by All About Theatre, a Santa Cruz community theatre company. In 2008, Durbin appeared in Alan Parsons' "Art & Science of Sound Recording" educational video series, recording a version of Parsons' "We Play The Game" at Ex'pression College for Digital Arts.

He was the lead singer in a metal band called Hollywood Scars, where he went by the stage name of Jimmy Levox. Influenced by bands such as Metallica, Pantera, Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue, Hollywood Scars drew their inspiration from the glitz, glam, and decadence of Hollywood's Sunset Strip in the 80's and early 90's. The band released a single entitled "Under The Cherry Tree". He was also in a band called Whatever Fits. He has also sung country music.

American Idol[edit | edit source]

Durbin first auditioned for the show in season 8 but wasn't chosen.

He later tried out for season 10 and made it to Hollywood by wowing the judges with his amazing vocal prowess. His incredible voice combined with his amazing stage performances such as a piano going up in flames during his rendition of Saturday Night is (All Right for Fighting), his use of a drumline on his performance of Muse's hit Uprising, & even having heavy metal/hard rock guitar legend Zack Wylde on stage with him made Durbin a fan favorite, & some considered him a favorite to win.

However, Durbin faced criticism from people claiming that he sounded "pitchy" on a few of his performances to accusations that he was nothing more then a vocal copycat of season 8 alum Adam Lambert despite some noticible differences in their vocal abilities, Lambert's voice being more smooth & polished while Durbin's is more gritty.

Durbin made it to the top 4 before being eliminated. However, despite being off the show, Durbin received a homecoming normally reserved for the top 3.

Post-Idol[edit | edit source]

After his elimination Durbin appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live with Regis and Kelly, Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He appeared on the American Idol Season 10 finale, singing "Livin' After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law" alongside British heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Durbin is currently being managed by Red Light Management, alongside fellow contestants Haley Reinhart and Pia Toscano.

On June 28, 2011 Durbin released a 5-song EP, sold exclusively at WalMart, featuring 4 of his best performances from Idol including his rendition of the Muse hit "Uprising" as well as an unreleased recording of the Green Day classic "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)". The EP has sold 60,000 copies to date & even peaked at #7 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.

Durbin has even recorded a track called "Stand Up" for the album Official Gameday Music of the NFL, Volume 2, which was released on September 27, 2011.

Memories of a Beautiful Disaster (2011-2012)[edit | edit source]

On September 5, 2011 Durbin announced via Twitter that he has signed a deal with Wind-Up Records. His first full-length album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, was released on November 21, 2011. The album debuted at number 36 on the Billboard 200, number 8 on the Rock Albums Chart, and number 28 on the Digital Albums Chart with 28,000 copies sold in its first week. "Love Me Bad" is the album's first single.

The album has sold 109,000 copies.

Celebrate (2014-2015)[edit | edit source]

According to Durbin in a 2013 interview, his second album, Celebrate, will be heavier metal. James Michael of Sixx A.M. produced the album, which will be released on April 8, 2014.

In July 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Durbin had been offered the chance to be the lead singer of the rock band Hinder due to Austin Winkler, the band's lead singer since it was formed in 2001, entering rehab for the second time. Durbin turned the offer down as did season 7 winner David Cook, who had also been offered the chance to do it. 

Durbin released his second EP, A Thrill of Hope, which consists of Christmas songs, on November 27, 2015.

Riot on Sunset (2016-2017)[edit | edit source]

Thanks to a PledgeMusic campaign, Durbin released his third album, Riot on Sunset, on July 15, 2016.

Quiet Riot[edit | edit source]

On March 4, 2017, the metal band Quiet Riot, who had achieved success with their 1983 album Metal Health, announced that Durbin is the band's new lead singer. His first album with the band, Road Rage​, was released on August 4, 2017.

Personal Life[edit | edit source]

Durbin married his longtime girlfriend Heidi Lowe on December 31, 2011. The couple have a son, Hunter, who served as the ring bearer at his parents' wedding, whose 85 guests also included fellow season 10 alums Stefano Langone, Casey Abrams, and Haley Reinhart. The couple's second child, daughter Kinzee Cruz Durbin, was born on November 21, 2014.

Durbin is also a fan of pro wrestling and was once overjoyed to meet pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan on an Idol results show.

Discography[edit | edit source]

​Quiet Riot:

  • Road Rage (2017)


  • American Idol Season 10: James Durbin (2011)
  • A Thrill of Hope (2015)


  • Memories of a Beautiful Disaster (2011)
  • Celebrate (2014)
  • Riot on Sunset (2016)
Season 10
Scotty McCreery · Lauren Alaina · Haley Reinhart · James Durbin  · Jacob Lusk · Casey Abrams · Stefano Langone · Paul McDonald · Pia Toscano · Naima Adedapo · Thia Megia · Karen Rodriguez · Ashthon Jones
Jovany Barreto · Kendra Chantelle · Robbie Rosen · Jordan Dorsey · Clint Jun Gamboa · Tim Halperin · Brett Loewenstern · Lauren Turner · Ta-Tynisa Wilson · Rachel Zevita · Julie Zorrilla
American Idol
1  · 2  · 3  · 4 · 5  · 6  · 7  · 8  · 9  · 10  · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19
Simon Cowell (Seasons 1-9)  · Paula Abdul (Seasons 1-8) · Randy Jackson (Seasons 1-12) · Kara DioGuardi (Seasons 8-9) · Ellen DeGeneres (Season 9) · Steven Tyler (Seasons 10-11)  · Nicki Minaj (Season 12)  · Mariah Carey (Season 12) · Jennifer Lopez (Seasons 10-11,13-15)  · Keith Urban (Seasons 12-15)  · Harry Connick, Jr. (Seasons 13-15)  · Katy Perry (Seasons 16-)  · Luke Bryan (Seasons 16-)  · Lionel Richie (Seasons 16-)
Ryan Seacrest (Seasons 1-16) · Brian Dunkleman (Season 1)
Kelly Clarkson · Ruben Studdard · Fantasia Barrino · Carrie Underwood · Taylor Hicks · Jordin Sparks · David Cook · Kris Allen · Lee DeWyze · Scotty McCreery · Phillip Phillips · Candice Glover · Caleb Johnson · Nick Fradiani · Trent Harmon · Maddie Poppe · Laine Hardy · Just Sam
Justin Guarini · Clay Aiken · Diana DeGarmo · Bo Bice · Katharine McPhee · Blake Lewis · David Archuleta · Adam Lambert · Crystal Bowersox · Lauren Alaina · Jessica Sanchez · Kree Harrison · Jena Irene · Clark Beckham · La'Porsha Renae · Caleb Lee Hutchinson · Alejandro Aranda · Arthur Gunn
Coronation Songs
"A Moment Like This" · "Flying Without Wings" · "I Believe" · "Inside Your Heaven" · "Do I Make You Proud" · "This Is My Now" · "The Time of My Life" · "No Boundaries" · "Beautiful Day" · "I Love You This Big" · "Home" · "I Am Beautiful" · "As Long As You Love Me" · "Beautiful Life" · "Falling" · "Going Going Gone" · "Flame"
From Justin to Kelly · Juniors · Christmas
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