By WALLACE BAINE
James Durbin’s chances of finishing on the top of the “American Idol” heap got much better on Thursday. Not only did Durbin survive the show’s winnowing down of six performers to five, but the one sent home was widely considered one of Durbin’s strongest competitors.
Southern California neo-beatnik Casey Abrams was sent home on Thursday, bidding farewell with a frantic performance of Screaming Jay Hawkins’s classic “I Put a Spell on You.”
Durbin impressed judges and audiences on Wednesday with a blue-eyed soul rendition of the Carole King-penned “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”
The remaining contestants include Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreery.
Also, “American Idol” announced the dates of its summer tour, featuring the top 11 singers. The closest date to Santa Cruz will be July 13 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The 45-date tour will begin in Utah July 6 and close Sept. 10 in Rochester, N.Y. Tickets for the San Jose show will go on sale May 13, with Internet pre-sales to take place on May 12. Ticket prices will be $56 and $78.50. Details: http://www.ticketmaster.com.
“American Idol” will air on Wednesday, May 4 at 8 p.m. on Fox.