Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Judas Priest: James Durbin is our hero

A new heavy metal hero has emerged, thanks to an unlikely source: American Idol.

The reality series had never seen anyone like James Durbin before, as the 22-year old from Santa Cruz brought hard rock and heavy metal to the Idol stage for the first time.

Metal legends Judas Priest joined Durbin for the Idol finale, which was seen by 29.3 million viewers; USA Today reports that's a 21% increase over last year (24.2 million). The May 25 broadcast was also up 12% in young adults (18-to-49) compared to the Season 9 finale.

"It's just amazing, it really is," Priest vocalist Rob Halford tells's "Fox 411" (see video below). "We've gotta say thank you to James and to American Idol for putting heavy metal music into 30 million American homes week after week. He's become a hero of ours."

James rocked Priest’s "You've Got Another Thing Coming" back in March, marking the first time a Priest tune was performed on the series, sending shock waves in the metal community and with the band themselves.

"We had no idea that [James] was covering this song by Priest,” said Halford. “All of us back in the U.K. and various locations around the world, our phones [were going off] with texts. 'Can you believe what's happening?' We were absolutely thrilled."

"James is epitomizing heavy metal, because it's the type of music that we've always had to fight for, really,"
added drummer Scott Travis. "So the fact that he got eliminated quicker than some people wanted him to, and he's still around and he's probably gonna have a long career. And it's the same sort of thing we've had to deal with."

Judas Priest Judas Priest

Judas Priest – Livin’ After Midnight / Breaking The Law
With guest James Durbin

American Idol finale – May 25, 2011

See also:

Judas Priest talk about American Idol experience with James Durbin
VIDEO: Judas Priest rock American Idol finale with James Durbin
Judas Priest to play American Idol finale tonight with James Durbin?
Sebastian Bach almost became singer for Judas Priest
Judas Priest start Epitaph Tour rehearsals
Judas Priest: first photo of new lineup released
Judas Priest: K.K. Downing retires