'American Idol' Top 3 Perform: 11 Things You Didn't See on TV
THR had eyes and ears inside Stage 36 at CBS Television City on Wednesday night, where former contestants gathered, one fan won a free pizza and judge Keith Urban made a mad dash during a commercial break.
The season 12 top three show of American Idol offered nine outstanding performances, but if you watched it at home, you missed a lot by not being part of the live studio audience. Here’s what The Hollywood Reporter observed from a reserved seat ...
1. If audience members walking into Stage 36 at CBS Television City looked around to spot a star in the audience, they would have recognized seven familiar faces. Seated audience left in one row were Amber Holcomb, Lazaro Arbus, Janelle Arthur and Paul Jolley, while right behind them in another row were Curtis Finch Jr., Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez. The seven finalists from this year’s top 10 were back in town to begin rehearsals for the finale.
2. Barbra Streisand in the house: No, the diva wasn’t there. Warm-up comedian Jay had control of the house music heard in the studio before the live show began, and he encouraged everyone to get up and dance to his iPod selection, “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce.
3. On the first commercial break, stage manager Debbie Williams called for quiet so Ryan Seacrest could pre-tape an introduction to be used later. When Ray Chew’s musicians continued to play, she silenced them -- for a moment. Just as Seacrest was about to tape his segment, the band started up again and this time Williams had to shout, “Stop playing music!”
4. Everyone loves a good shout-out, but warm-up guy Jay had special instructions for the audience tonight: “Do not yell out ‘I love you’ to a judge during the show.” No one did, though people were encouraged to do their shout-outs on the breaks (except for the one noted above).
5. Jay had more instructions for the audience, reminding them to hold their signs up every time the show came back from commercial breaks and later, telling them not to forget to applaud going into commercials.
6. An audience member named Sonia was offered a prize if she could name all of the series’ winners, season by season. She started with Kelly Clarkson and went right though to Phillip Phillips without missing a single one, earning herself -- wait for it -- a coupon for a free pizza.
7. Audience members were clearly moved by the home stories of the top three finalists -- so much so that executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had to tell them it was fine to cry during the video packages, but when the Idols were performing, he wanted to see more energy ... happy energy.
8. This one might come under the heading of things you didn’t hear. One of the songs performed Wednesday night was written by a top 10 Idol finalist. Kree Harrison sang Rascal Flatts’ “Here Comes Goodbye,” composed by season six’s Chris Sligh. There was no acknowledgment for Sligh on air, but THR let Harrison know about the Idol connection after the show.
9. When Randy Jackson said this year’s top three was one of the best top threes ever, season 12 finalist Curtis Finch, Jr. leapt to his feet and began to applaud quickly.
10. On the next break, Randy headed up to the audience and joined THR in a chat with the seven visiting finalists. One break later, Keith Urban ran up to the same section and hugged Amber, Lazaro, Janelle, Paul, Curtis, Burnell and Devin.
11. When Simon Cowell was on the judging panel, he would dash outside on commercial breaks -- almost always for a smoke. Eventually, Paula Abdul and Randy would also take off, but just for some fresh air. This season, the judges usually stay in place during the breaks, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. On one of the last commercial breaks, Keith bolted from the studio. Where did he go? Let’s just say that we have an eyewitness who says that while standing at the urinal, he sings.