There are probably more than a few Decibel readers who, like me, have never seen an episode of American Idol. Just never got around to it, and it's a good thing, too, because it saved us the trouble & heartbreak of boycotting the show when Steven Tyler, like, totally sold out, man and, perhaps tempted by a Hey, if a crazy looking fucker like Marc Anthony can seduce the star of Maid in Manhattan, I gotta have a shot mania, snubbed Joe Perry to act the rock n' roll equivalent of Judge Judy. But since Decibel prides itself on scanning the horizon for cutting edge extremities -- have you seen the June GHOST cover yet?! -- and I just saw the heavy-metal-by-way-of-musical-theater afterbirth that is James Durbin rocking out with Zakk Wylde during an Idol recap on some Entertainment Tonight-type show blaring at the gym, it seemed as good a time as any to bring what mainstream America and Jennifer Lopez consider heavy metal thunder to the attention of the Metal Militia writ large. Brace thine gentle souls, dear readers...
Here are my initial thoughts:
1. Zakk Wylde may strut into this gig like he just parked his Harley out back and thought this was an audition for a final scene cameo in a remake of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey but he must have known ahead of time he'd be jamming a Sammy Hagar song with some melon-headed goofball who almost certainly can and does drive 55 all the time. You played with Ozzy, brah! What gives? Is this a Mama, I'm coming home...so you can watch me make cutesy talk with J-Lo on the TV kinda thing? Whatever his excuse, seeing as Zakk did not take the opportunity to punch or puke on anyone, this appearance leaves the guitarist's metal cred at approximately the same level as Steve Stevens circa "Dirty Diana." Seriously, the next Black Label Society record better have a hidden track of Wylde drunk off his ass on black tooth grins and personally walking Durbin through the paces of a state of the art bondage dungeon if he wants to put this sorry episode behind him.
2. I'm no executive producer, but I do know exactly what would have sold metalheads on American Idol, if that's the new demographic they're shooting for: At the 50 second mark of the rendition of "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" below, which happens to be the precise moment when Durbin desecrates the throwing of the hand horns, someone should have taken whatever money they saved by Simon leaving to contract the ghost of Ronnie James Dio to claw through the Idol stage floor, drag Durbin to Hell for a quick and harrowing primer in the mores and standards of tru metal, and then immediately after the commercial break a triumphant, fiery return backed by the dudes from Watain or Behemoth for a set of Bathory covers.
Just a bit of free programming advice. Nevertheless, to be fair I think we can all agree even James Durbin is preferable to crabcore.