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'American Idol' Elimination Night: 12 Things You Didn't See on Thursday's Show

Hulk Hogan gives Ryan Seacrest a kiss, Nigel Lythgoe bear hugs James Durbin, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony make googly eyes at each other, and more off-camera observations from inside the 'Idol'-dome.

steven tyler idol birthday
Michael Becker / FOX
Steven Tyler

It was an exciting and incredibly nerve-wracking Thursday night in the Idol-dome, the first hint of which came at the beginning of the show when Ryan Seacrest said the magic words: “surprising results.” 

And this time, he wasn’t just exaggerating: the beloved Casey Abrams got voted off and in looking around at a room of aghast faces, people were clearly surprised. Actually, shocked is a more apt description.    But Idol has delivered the unexpected for much of the season, and this episode was no exception as the judges opted to use their one-time “save” power. Casey not only stays, he goes on the road this summer in what will be the first ever Idol Top 11 tour.    Seated some six rows back from Steven Tyler’s chair, we had a great view of all the elimination night action, which included performances by Jennifer Hudson, Stevie Wonder and Sugarland. Read on for 12 things you didn’t see on Thursday’s broadcast.    1) Ever the jokester, Lauren Alaina pretend plops her face into Steven Tyler’s birthday cake as a nervous Pia Toscano hangs on to the hefty confection with all her might.    2) After Hulk Hogan tosses Ryan Seacrest into the crowd, the two kiss and make up. Literally, Hulk grabs Ryan’s forehead and plants one on it. Who knew they were so tight?    3) Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony indulge in a full-on cute fest as the in-ears segment airs. We’re talking blushing, eye batting and other silent transmissions of love from across the Idol studio. Simply adorable.    4) Steven Tyler didn’t get to eat his birthday cake (he turns 63 on March 26), but it’s become customary for the rocker to munch on a small snack (like a granola or protein bar) at around 5:45 p.m. on show days. This one was no different: a quick bite and check of the teeth and it's back to the races...    5) As far as everyone was concerned, the true idol on that stage was Stevie Wonder, and each of the judges dutifully stepped up on the riser to say hello and have their picture taken with the Motown legend.    6) Once the bottom 3 is revealed, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe gives James Durbin a huge congratulatory bro hug. A visibly relieved Haley Reinhart and Naima Adedapo get a snappier embrace.    7) James Durbin tries on the ripped shirt Hulk Hogan gifted to him and it fits perfectly over his shirt and jacket. He, of course, demonstrates this with a classic Hulk-like flex.    8) While Jennifer Hudson performs, Casey Abrams, seated in the bottom three stools off to stage left, fidgets with his beard nervously as Naima leans over to offer some words of encouragement.   9) The smoke effect for Hudson’s performance bewilders Scotty McCreery, who kicks his feet into the plume to see if he can rustle up the vapors.    10) After she finishes singing her new single “Where You At,” Jennifer Hudson stands stranded at center stage unsure of which way to go. Seacrest, meanwhile, has continued with the elimination process. Finally, stage manager Debbie Williams comes to the rescue and escorts the former contestant offstage.    11) When Casey’s name is called, there is an audible collective gasp in the room.    12) Minutes later, Casey is saved, drops down to the floor, then shakes with green-ish hands as he goes in to thank the judges. Truth be told, he was starting to look a little peaked for a moment there. Here’s hoping there’s not another hospital stay in his near future. Take care of yourself, Casey, there are nine more weeks to go!