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'American Idol' Detroit Tribute: 7 Things You Didn't See on TV

As season 12's top eight performed songs from the Supremes and Smokey Robinson, THR took notes from the front row of the "Idol"-dome.

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Michael Becker

The top eight finalists paid tribute to artists from Detroit on Wednesday night, which was a new way to salute Motown but also include hometown heroes like Madonna and Aretha Franklin. The hits kept on coming if you were viewing American Idol at home. But here’s what you missed if you weren’t sitting in the audience on Stage 36 at CBS:

1. Before the live broadcast began at 5 p.m. PDT, warm-up maestro Cory Almeida led the audience through a series of cheers and boos. It wasn’t rehearsal or a way to get everybody excited, it was for the cameras, to provide some footage of the audience letting the judges know what they thought of critiques that hadn’t been delivered yet.

2. Did you notice the woman sitting right behind Smokey Robinson? You may not have recognized her with long blonde hair and bright red lipstick, but that was season 11 finalist Erika Van Pelt, visiting Los Angeles for a couple of days.

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3. During the first commercial break, right after Candice Glover performed “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Randy Jackson and Keith Urban left their judges’ platform to walk into the audience and have a chat with (and hug) visiting living legend Robinson.

4. The second of three “group numbers” was a rendition of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” a No. 2 hit for Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations. Candice Glover, Angie Miller and Amber Holcomb channeled Motown’s most famous femme trio and at the end of the song, the in-studio audience was treated to a fireworks display. For the next 20 minutes or so, the studio was filled with smoke and the burnt odor of exploded chemicals. Were the air vents not working?

5. On the commercial break before the third “group number,” the trio of boys made up of Burnell Taylor, Devin Velez and Lazaro Arbus spent all their time rehearsing a move – not a dance move, but a jump off a platform and a dash to the microphones. It seemed strange at the time, but later THR learned the microphones had been moved and were a little further away from the finalists than they were in dress rehearsal.

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6. Were you wondering why Mariah Carey didn’t acknowledge Kree Harrison’s birthday wishes? Later, when members of the audience sang an off-key “Happy Birthday” on a commercial break later in the show, Carey said she appreciated their good wishes but that it wasn’t her birthday. She said it was her “anniversary.” Carey has been quoted saying that this March 27 was the anniversary of her 12th birthday.

7. There was no lingering in the Idol-dome when the live broadcast concluded. We were asked to exit quickly as the judges were going to tape a promotional spot for international viewers, and they didn’t want anyone visible in the audience.

Twitter: @Idol_Worship