'American Idol' Battle of the Billboard Hits: What You Didn't See on TV
The top 10 tackled songs from the charts on Wednesday's show.
The top 10 contestants sang Billboard top 10 hits on Wednesday night’s American Idol, so it’s only appropriate to reveal the top 10 things you didn’t see in the studio -- or if you were one of the millions of viewers who watched the live performance show at home. Fortunately for you, fellow Idol worshipers, The Hollywood Reporter had eyes inside Stage 36 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.
1. The lounge on the stage left side of the set is where the finalists sit to observe other finalists sing but they don’t enter the lounge area until they’ve performed. That meant MK Nobilette had to endure a few minutes of extreme loneliness, as she was the only contestant in the lounge while Dexter Roberts sang in second position. We have to admit, Nobilette really did look lonely until Roberts joined her following his rendition of Florida Georgia Line’s mega-hit, “Cruise.”
2. Before the live broadcast began, some observant audience members noticed something under their seats. A gift? No, more like a prop. Beneath every seat was a glow stick and during a commercial break instructions were given: they were to be taken out and given a good crack in order to make them glow during Jena Irene’s performance of Zedd’s “Clarity.”
3. When the audience collectively screams, it’s time to look around the all-encompassing multi-level set and see what or who is causing them to react so hysterically. Tonight, after Jena Irene’s performance, it was the first in-studio sighting of Randy Jackson, though he was outside the studio before the show taking photos with fans near the credentials desk, unaccompanied by screaming.
4. After Malaya Watson’s performance, as she took her seat in the lounge, she looked into the audience and saw a man waving at her. She smiled back and waved at her father, professional musician Ron Watson. Since Malaya is a minor, she has to be accompanied during her Idol run by a parent or guardian, and Ron has been sharing those duties with his wife, Marian. Later on, Malaya had eyes on her dad again and they exchanged thumbs up.
5. Before the live show began at 5 p.m. PDT, audience member and top 31 contestant Jillian Jensen confessed to being nervous about boyfriend Alex Preston’s imminent performance. Maybe that’s because he was covering a One Direction hit. But she needn’t have worried. After singing “Story of My Life,” Preston received a loud, extended ovation from the studio audience, the strongest reaction of the evening.
6. As the gaggle of finalists in the lounge grew, the contestants mostly sat while watching their peers perform. But when C. J. Harris took on Hunter Hayes’ “Invisible,” the six competitors rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.
7. As Ryan Seacrest was signing off, the three judges stood but they didn’t leave. Harry Connick Jr. gave Keith Urban a hug, which led to a round robin of all the judges hugging each other in turn. There were more hugs exchanged in these couple of minutes than all of season 12.
8. When the live show ends at 7 p.m., it takes only a few minutes for the members of the audience to exit. But not on Wednesday night. Almost everyone stayed right were they are, as no one wanted to miss Jennifer Lopez perform her new single, “I Luh Ya Papi.” They didn’t want to miss it so much, they waited over an hour for cameras to roll. The performance will be part of the results show on Thursday night.
9. Look for thee former Idol finalists to form an all-star backing chorus for Lopez’ performance. Season eight’s Allison Iraheta, who is singing back-up vocals in Rickey Minor’s band this season, will be joined by two contestants from Lopez’ first turn at being a judge, season 10’s Pia Toscano and season 11’s Jessica Sanchez.
10. Here’s what usually happens on Wednesday nights: when the clock strikes 7, the contestants don’t get a break; they head immediately to the press tent, where they spend about an hour doing interviews with the media. But not on this performance night. Instead, the contestants were on stage, watching Lopez’ performance. And by the time it was over, they were overdue for dinner, leaving the press tent an eerily deserted space.