SANTA CRUZ -- James Durbin will get his day in Santa Cruz after all. A day after he was eliminated from competition on "American Idol" and his official "Idol" homecoming to Santa Cruz was canceled, Durbin will come to town after all, as originally planned. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk announced an agreement with "American Idol" that will allow "Durbin Day," scheduled for Saturday, to proceed even though the 22-year-old Durbin is no longer in the competition. The event was canceled after "Idol" said Durbin would not be available to travel to Santa Cruz because of commitments to the show. But Friday, "Idol" agreed for the first time in its history, to allow an exception and to bring an eliminated competitor for a homecoming concert. Traditionally, the show only sponsors hometown trips for the top three. Durbin finished fourth in the competition. Though some details may change, the event still will include a visit to the Louden Nelson Comunity Center, a processional to the beach and a concert on the beach bandstand at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. "American Idol" has confirmed that it will allow Durbin to come to Santa Cruz. The homecoming event will not, however, be broadcast on "Idol." The new schedule includes a press event at the Louden Nelson Community Center from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.; a kids rally from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. followed by a walking processional to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. At 5 p.m., Durbin will sing with the White Album Ensemble at the Boardwalk's bandstand.
Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty said the City and the Boardwalk received many calls in the wake of Durbin's elimination urging them to reconsider. Coonerty said it was never a local decision to cancel the event. "American Idol" made that decision based on Durbin's various media and publicity commitments, including an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Friday. "We had been in contact with 'Idol,'" said Coonerty, "To give them the pitch that we would love to still have him come. There is so much interest in him, and they understood that."
Kris Reyes of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk said Boardwalk staff communicated with "Idol" shortly after Thursday's broadcast, expressing their hopes that Durbin could come to Santa Cruz even in light of his elimination. "And we went to bed not really sure if he would come," said Reyes. "But by 9:30 (Friday morning), we were on a conference call working out the logistics."
Local officials agreed to a scaled-back "Durbin Day" event. An initial visit to the Capitola Mall and a motorcade down Pacific Avenue have been canceled and Durbin will have less time in Santa Cruz than originally planned. Christina Glynn, Communications Director for the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council, said that the CVC has gotten calls from far away as Singapore responding to Thursday's results. "We're really so incredibly overwhelmed by the community reaction," she said. "We've gotten a tremendous outpouring of support nationwide for James."
IF YOU GO:
2:30 p.m.: Press event with James Durbin at Louden Nelson Community Center. Durbin will visit with media, local civic and community programs where he developed his vocal and performance skills. The Santa Cruz Teen Center, Kids on Broadway and All About Theatre will host Durbin for short visits (and possibly a short performance) plus autograph signings with the current members of the groups. The Louden Nelson events are for participants of the programs Durbin is visiting. The public is asked to rally outside, in preparation for a procession to the beach.
About 4-4:30 p.m.: Walking procession to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The marching procession to the beach will be led by the Santa Cruz High School Marching Band with an escort by the Santa Cruz Police Department. Durbin will be driven in a convertible to the Main Beach. He will be followed by participants from the Teen Center, All About Broadway and the Kids on Broadway. Fans are welcome to line the procession route.
During the procession, Santa Cruz Police will have a rolling street closure on Center Street, Pacific Avenue and Beach Street to the Main Beach. Roads will re-open as the procession passes. Drivers should anticipate traffic congestion in the area. The roads to be closed until about 5 p.m., police said. At Beach and Westbrook streets near the Cocoanut Grove, Durbin will transfer to a Santa Cruz Lifeguard truck with police escort on ATVs. He will proceed to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk bandstand on the Main Beach to take the stage.
4 p.m.: White Album Ensemble performs on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk bandstand
5 p.m.: Durbin will be honored by Santa Cruz City Mayor Ryan Coonerty and then will give a short performance with The White Album Ensemble as his backup band. The White Album Ensemble will begin playing at approximately 4:00 p.m., prior to the arrival of Durbin.