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Best S.C. Singer/Performer 2011

bo_picks_durbinIn a year when Santa Cruz could use a little more emotional sunshine, look who comes along to surprise us all—the most brightly lit star (literally) of all in the Cruzan bunch. Kudos to you, James Durbin, for giving Santa Cruz something to root for. It’s enough that Durbin had the chops to make the cut to be among the top contenders on the über hit American Idol; quite another that he’s proven he actually has creativity and—this is good—longevity. Oh, how The Durb has impressed. We raised our eyebrows when he belted out “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” (by Judas Priest). We sat back and watched, rather amazed actually, by how well he wielded his vocal strength—with enough restraint—to deliver a winning rendition of Paul McCartney’s soulful “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Bon Jovi? Stevie Wonder? Bring it.  The Beatles? Please—his rendition of ”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” made some Cruzans do just that. He killed—for folks over 40 (like myself), that means,“really did well”—Elton John’s “Saturday Night” and, more recently, done up in modern garb, he really gave us something to remember with his unique take on Muse’s spirited “Uprising.” That’s all rockin’ and wild, folks, but Durbin stands out for other reasons.  Sporting both Tourette’s and Asperger’s Syndromes, he’s raised the level of awareness for those with “disabilities.” “I have Tourette’s and Asperger’s, but Tourrette’s and Asperger’s don’t have me,” he recently shared. “I don’t let it take advantage of me. It’s not who I am.” With weekly Durbin TV nights now standard around town, our attention remains on the man—all the way till the season finale, where Durbin actually stands a great chance of nabbing that Idol crown. In the meantime, this force of nature not only deserves the title of Best Local Singer/Performer, he’s also our very own hometown hero. Here’s to ending on a high note, James! (Follow our Idol updates online twice a week!)

Best of Santa Cruz County 2011 index:bo_2011_star
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Feature: James Durbin >

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