He may come off as a tough rocker dude and his song choices are anything but sweet, but James Durbin showed his soft side when the cameras weren’t rolling on “American Idol” Tuesday night.
SPOILER ALERT! From out birds’ eye view from Section I, Row 1, Seat 1 at CBS Television City for the top seven results night – which saw Stefano Langone depart – we got to witness what it’s really like when one goes home.
Who knew James and Stefano were so close? When the bottom three - Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart, and Stefano – were pared down to just two – Jacob and Stefano- emotions overtook James, who was seen sitting on the couch on the sidelines with his head in has hands as Casey Abrams rubbed his back. On one commercial break, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe even came up to talk to Jacob, who was visibly upset for the last 15 minutes of the show.
James and Casey then locked into a bear hug on the couch with their arms clenched around each other for several minutes. A source tells XfinityTV.com, “James and Stefano are very close and it’s hard to see anyone go at this point, let alone the one you’re closest to.”
Once Jacob was deemed safe and the ax came down on Stefano, James wiped a tear form his eye as Lauren Alaina rubbed his arm in support. Jacob’s emotions still didn’t settle as he alternately wiped tears from his eyes, wiped his nose, and put his hands over his face. Ryan Seacrest got in the action, checking on James as well to console him.
That explains why James rushed the stage at the end of Stefano’s swan song and hugged his friend hard. “That is so sweet,” said one observer. “It’s nice to see guys bond like that.”
The second the big group goodbyes were over, James literally ran off the stage to the backstage area while Stefano and the rest of the contestants, judges, producers, and crew members lingered a while longer.
How did Stefano handle it? Like a pro. He threw his arms in the air, got the studio audience cheering for him again, and went out with a smile and a “Jersey Shore”-like fist pump.