Commentary

'Idol' star James Durbin tunes in to NFL

Originally Published: January 24, 2012
By Alex Prewitt | Special to ESPN.com

James Durbin never really followed football growing up. His primary sport was always wrestling. But over the past two years, one of his best friends -- his current guitarist -- turned him on to the NFL.

And now the "American Idol" star has an anthem for the sport he's only recently learning about from a fan standpoint.

How quickly things accelerate.

On Tuesday, Durbin's music video for "Stand Up" will be released to the public (with the sports-specific version above released on ESPN.com). The song is on Durbin's debut album "Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster" and was played on JumboTrons throughout the NFL this season.

"It's cool, I'm just gonna say that," said Durbin, calling from the lobby of the Conan O'Brien studios during a promo tour. "It's a pipe dream to be the anthem for the NFL. 'Stand Up' is just what it says, it's that song to get you pumped. It's the fun, get the f--- out of your seat kind of song."

Following the conclusion of "Idol" season 10, in which Durbin finished fourth, the NFL approached him to gauge interest in recording a song for its "Gameday Volume 2" soundtrack. Needless to say, he jumped at the opportunity.

Though he's performed at halftime shows in San Francisco and Atlanta this season, Durbin still considers himself to be in the baby steps of football fandom. He's still hammering down the game's intricacies, like referee signals, but after watching a 49ers game at Candlestick Park, Durbin shook off any notion that someone more in tune with the NFL should have recorded the league's anthem.

"I'm becoming a fan of the way the 49ers play, rather than just the name, the likeness or the image," he said. "Any brand and company is all about expanding its audience. ... There are so many rules, so much so that you can always learn more."

Alex Prewitt

ESPN Playbook
Alex Prewitt is a contributor to ESPN Playbook.