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'American Idol' Elimination Night: 25 Things You Didn't See on Thursday's Show

Lauren Alaina waltzes with Nigel Lythgoe, Casey Abrams air drums and Iggy Pop has a false start. Soon after, the Pia Toscano tears flow.

pia toscano elimination performance
Michael Becker / FOX

Thursday: What a strange night in the American Idol studio. From the expected appearance of Iggy Pop, to the long-awaited return of Constantine Maroulis, a painful bit with Russell Brand and lighter moments with the staffers at TMZ, all leading up to the shocker of the season: Pia Toscano’s elimination. It was certainly an action-packed episode, but there was plenty the cameras didn’t show. Read on for 25 things you didn’t see -- or hear -- on the elimination night broadcast. 

  1. Considering what was to come, Corey the audience warm-up guy did a great job keeping the crowd pumped. Still, when he revealed the night’s guest performers, it was a little surprising to hear that the claps for Iggy Pop were only marginally louder than those for Constantine Maroulis.    2. Just before the show is about to start, and the contestants take their positions in opposite corners of the studio, Lauren Alaina and Nigel Lythgoe do a quick waltz and twirl in the aisle.   3. After the rock-themed group number, Pia and Scotty McCreery pat each other on the back for a job well done.    4. While the show takes its first break, James Durbin and Paul McDonald get some meticulous hair primping involving lots of hairspray.    5. Stefano Langone thinks the week’s Ford music video is hilarious, judging by the cackles emanating from the blue velvet couches – or maybe it’s just the janky version of Kiss’ “Love Gun” that’s cracking him up. Jennifer Lopez also has a laugh at co-judge Steven Tyler’s expense, thanks to Rusell Brand.    6. With the first three potential victims in center stage, Lauren nods in agreement when Ryan Seacrest repeats the reference to a “better” previous Idol performance of “You make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (ahem, Kelly Clarkson).    7. When Lauren is sent back to safety, she trips on her dress and nearly falls off the couches while climbing up to her position on the top row. Once up there, Casey Abrams kisses her left hand and Lauren does the same to him.   8. During the commercial break, Casey and Lauren sign T-shirts to give away to audience members, while the rest of the Top 9 sign a pillow earmarked for a girl in front. And wouldn’t you know it, Corey gifted several copies of the official American Idol 10th anniversary book, written by yours truly.    9. With one minute left in a commercial break, Constantine takes his place on the Idol stage. Nigel comes over for a quick hello and handshake, clearly impressed by the shrieks of girls in the crowd.    10. Casey Abrams is feeling Constantine’s rendition of “Unchained Melody” and air-drums along. He’s also the first to stand for the season 4 finalist.    11. While Gwen Stefani’s style segment is shown on the giant video screening, Ray Chew and his band members are quickly shooed off the stage.    12. As Paul, Pia and Scotty get their verdict under the red lights, Jacob Lusk breathes deep knowing his turn is next.   13. When Pia’s name is announced, Jennifer looks slightly shaken -- the first of many emotional moments to come on Thursday night.    14. A tween fan of Scotty’s named Hadley comes up to meet her idol and is embarrassed to have spelled his name wrong on the sign she made, which read, “Scottie is a Hottie.” Curiously, on the back she had a second endorsement for Paul. It said: “Paul Will Take Them All.”    15. Lauren leans on Paul as the contestants settle in to watch the TMZ media training segment.   16. Another commercial breaks means more autographs for fans, including a poster which James signs with the Sharpie he (smartly) keeps in his pocket.    17. As the stage is set for Iggy Pop, things get a little chaotic in the studio, so much so that when Corey the warm-up guy introduces Iggy to the crowd (for informational purposes), the punk icon immediately launches into song as if a switch had been turned on. It's, of course, a false start and stage manager Debbie Williams has to cut the music, to everyone’s embarrassment.    18. Little surprise here, Iggy’s use of the S word is edited from the broadcast. No doubt plenty of parents with kids in tow wish they could do the same for the live show. James, Haley and Casey, on the other hand, look stoked.    19. Iggy gives Steven Tyler a hug then poses for a photo with Jennifer and Randy before bidding goodbye.    20. It’s the last dramatic buildup to elimination and Jacob is first to go back to the couches, where he’s embraced by Casey in a massive bear hug.    21. With only Stefano and Pia left standing, it’s safe to say most people expect the former to go, so when Pia’s name is called, the room literally freezes. Jennifer clasps her hands to her face in disbelief, Steven turns around as if to show his solidarity with the boos coming from the crowd and Randy may have thrown out the F word. For his part, Stefano stands with mouth open until he’s reminded to go take his seat.   22. Pia can barely keep it together as her exit video is played. Her mom is also crying hysterically, soon to be joined by Jennifer. Even Marc Anthony looks like he’s taking this particular elimination hard.    23. The band stammers through the opening to “I’ll Stand By You.” Randy, appropriately enough, is first to stand for Pia, still stupefied at the situation and throwing his hands in the air, as if to say, “I give up, America.”   24. As soon as Pia sings her last note, Randy is holding Jennifer’s hand and making a bee-line for the stage. Big hugs and words of encouragement are the order of the day, but in between, Pia can hear demands for a recount, or, as one guys screamed, “I’ll buy your record!”   25. In what was perhaps the sweetest moment of the night, Jennifer Lopez, who had just spent the better part of eight minutes encouraging the just eliminated hopeful to continue honing her talent, wipes the hair out of Pia’s eyes with the gentlest touch.