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MAR
6
8 MOS

'American Idol': 5 Things You Didn't See on Top 12 Night

Three Amigos from season 10 reunite, while Harry Connick, Jr. checks off a fan’s bucket list.

Caleb Johnson American Idol P
Frank Micelotta/FOX
Caleb Johnson

So you watched American Idol at home Wednesday night? No problem. The Hollywood Reporter was your eyes and ears inside Stage 36 at CBS Television City. Here are five things that happened on the stage that you didn’t see in the comfort of your living room:

1. Before the live show started at 5 PM PST, there was an Idol reunion in the studio. Season 10 finalists James Durbin and Casey Abrams arrived separately, but were seated together down front on the right side of the audience. That gave them a chance to catch up before they started watching the season 13 finalists perform.

2. Every audience has its own personality, but this gathering almost didn’t have one at all. Most days, Idol audiences stand for every performance – granted, they are asked to do so by the man who does the pre-show warm-up, Cory Almeida. Wednesday night, the seated portion of the theater remained in their seats for every contestant, rising to their feet only at the end of some select performances. Surprisingly, that even included the family and friends section of the bleachers.

3. To be fair, the audience did demonstrate their approval of one contestant. After lukewarm reaction to the opening performances, the crowd gave an extremely loud ovation to Dexter Roberts’ rendition of Montgomery Gentry’s “Lucky Man.” And that was before Harry Connick, Jr. said it was the best performance of the night.

PHOTOS: 'American Idol' Season 13: Fresh Faces, 'Harsh' Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez's Return

Speaking of loud, there was a pounding sound after Caleb Johnson’s performance that one doesn’t usually hear inside the Idol-dome. Looking around, THR discovered the source of the noise -- James Durbin was stomping his feet in approval of Johnson. No surprise -- Johnson and Durbin were in the same small group during season 10’s Hollywood Week. Durbin went through to the top 10 and Johnson was cut.

Durbin was not the only Idol in the audience who knew Johnson well. Casey Abrams was Johnson’s roommate during that same Hollywood week. Abrams, of course, also made the top 10 after Johnson exited. The three amigos were reunited after the live show in the press tent.

"I was stoked to see Caleb,” Abrams told THR moments after talking to Johnson. “Today was the first time I’ve seen him in person in three years. We both have longer hair now.” Citing Johnson’s “powerful voice,” Abrams predicted, “No matter what happens, whether he gets cut or wins, he’s going to be big. Any audience that goes to see him is going to be entertained.”

STORY: TV Ratings: 'American Idol' Leads Fox to Wednesday Win, 'Mixology' Drops 5

There’s one thing you can predict with 100% total accuracy: during every Idol show, at least one member of the audience will ask Cory Almeida if they can hug/kiss/get an autograph/take a photo of Ryan Seacrest or one of the judges. But today there was a new twist on the request, something no one had tried before. Almeida noticed that one young girl in the audience was upset and he asked her what was wrong. She tearfully explained that her friends were able to take selfies of themselves with Seacrest, but she had missed out. Almeida sized up the situation and, sensing something was not quite right, told the fan that phony tears weren’t going to get her a photo op with the show’s host.

Two audience members in the balcony had more luck. They had a large sign, readable from the stage, saying they had already hugged Keith Urban and wanted to “complete their bucket list” by hugging Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez. Almeida invited them down to the stage and Connick and Lopez obliged. Connick even personally checked off their printed bucket list.

Twitter: @fredbronson