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'American Idol' Celebrates Queen, A Sick Ryan Seacrest Rallies: What You Didn't See on TV

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe was forced to step in for an ailing Seacrest during dress rehearsal before contestants belted out renditions of iconic tunes such as "We Are the Champions" and "Fat Bottom Girls."

joshua Ledet Queen performance L
Michael Becker / FOX

Wednesday night’s American Idol brought the drama alright, but much of it came before the show even started. That’s when rumors began flying (thanks to the insatiable TMZ) that host Ryan Seacrest was “MIA” with only minutes left to show’s start. In truth, he did miss dress rehearsal, and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had to step in for the contestant banter.

PHOTOS: Hollywood Honors Ryan Seacrest at LA's Promise Gala

Stage manager Debbie Williams told the half-filled audience that Ryan was feeling “under the weather,” but as sure as the sun rises every day, so does Seacrest when it’s a show day. Still, he did look a little green at the start of performance night and he was walking with less of a skip in his Seacrest step. THR kept an eye on the situation, and everything else you didn’t see on TV. Read on…

1. Ryan Seacrest’s first order of business upon hitting the Idol stage: a bottle of water, delivered promptly by stylist Miles Siggins. For the first half of the show, Ryan did look a little peaked and moved a little slower, with stage manager Debbie taking him by the hand from mark to mark. Lots of hugs, even an ice pack made its way over to the host during the show’s early minutes. But as Queen (and Skylar Laine) declared in song: the show must go on. And so it did.

2. In fact, it didn’t take long for Ryan’s energy to return – by the end of the opening number, he along with judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler were singing along to “We Are the Champions” with enthusiasm and hands in the air. As if there’s any other way.

3. Randy grabbed warm-up guy Jay’s microphone during the first break to introduce “rock royalty in the house – Little Steven of the E Street Band!” In town for Bruce Springsteen’s run of shows, he was sitting in what can only be described as the power section to Steven’s right alongside Jimmy Iovine and Ryan’s girlfriend Julianne Hough.

4. As Ryan prepared to introduce Skylar’s performance, he had to take a moment to clear his throat. Ryan later tweeted, “Feeling better now. Thanks throat coat.”

5. During the three-minute break before Joshua Ledet’s performance of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” the soul man practiced the chorus to get it just right. As the video segment showed, he really does sing all the time – no wonder he’s that good.

6. The power seats were totally feeling Joshua, as a row of bobbing heads peeked out among the crowd.

7. “Everyday I’m shuffling.” The line from LMFAO’s party rock is an apt description for Phillip Phillips in the seconds preceding his take on “Fat Bottom Girls.” Shuffling his feet and pacing in place, you could say he was  -- gasp! -- nervous.

8. Randy got big boos for his less-than-enthusiastic assessment of Phillips performance. Even Ryan got in on the action, flailing his hands in a classic gesture of “Gettouttahere!”

9. Hollie Cavanagh needed a little cleanup before taking on the power ballad “Save Me” – in the form of hand sanitizer.

10. Ryan and Phillip weren’t the only ones feeling sick on Queen night. During Hollie’s performance, a show medic had to tend to an audience member who was looking like she might faint. No wonder, with the unusual humidity (for LA), the studio felt more like a boiler room. Even Steven had to fan himself constantly.

11. Indeed, even as Jessica Sanchez went for her second turn onstage, Ryan still had to take a deep breaths before delivering his introduction – perfectly, mind you.

12. The video segments where contestants poked fun at each other got hearty laughs from the audience and the finalists. Skylar, especially, “big bones” comments and all.

13. Joshua has had 12 standing ovations, by Skylar’s count, and Wednesday made 13 only this one was extra long.

14. Curiously, Randy looked like he was totally feeling Elise Testone during her rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love,” but his comments didn’t show that same enthusiasm. It seemed the audience was confused as well – only half stood up for the rocker (yours truly was among them).

15. In a rare moment of verbal PDA, Ryan gave a shout-out to his girlfriend Julianne Hough who, like countless others, seems to have a bit of a crush on Phillip Phillips. The dancer laughed it off from her studio seat then went up to the judges’ table for a quick hello.

16. Hollie Cavanagh seemed so jazzed after her second performance of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb,” that she was literally jumping in place. For this British import by way of Texas, it’s all in America’s hands now…

17. Katy Perry pretaped her Thursday night performance of "Part of Me" with full military regalia. Perhaps taking her battalion shtick a bit too far, the 500-plus audience members let out a collective gasp when one of her dancers, who was rappelling from up above, hit her head on the descent. Ouch.

Dress rehearsal bonus: We have to hand it to Nigel Lythgoe who expertly played understudy to Ryan Seacrest during the afternoon dress rehearsal. The saucy Brit had several noteworthy moments, like when he took a jab at a certain NBC singing show, explaining to the audience that Idol was “looking for the complete package – not just the voice.” Later, he complimented Jessica Sanchez by observing her sincerity on the stage. Said Nigel: “If you can fake that, you’ve got it made, darling.” Ain’t that the truth, Idol Worshipers.