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Some 500 people got to enjoy American Idol ’80s week in all its fluorescent glory from inside the Idol-dome. Among those in the audience: yours truly, who returns with this report on the six things you didn’t see on TV …
1. Before any of the contestants performed their ’80s selections, the audience sang — in unison. Their song choice? A classic that is over 100 years old: “Happy Birthday to You.” It was sung to C. J. Harris’ mother, Stephanie, who was indeed celebrating a birthday on April 9. Asked if he had plans to celebrate his mother’s birthday, C. J. told THR: “I’m going to take her to the Grove to get something to eat.” Had he picked the restaurant yet? “Wherever she wants to go,” he smiled.
2. There’s nothing unusual about the judges and host Ryan Seacrest taking selfies; it happens every show. But Wednesday night, Keith Urban amped up the process, taking lots of photos with members of the audience. The problem seemed to be that once he said yes to one fan, everyone surrounding that person wanted their own selfie with the country superstar.
PHOTOS: ‘American Idol’ Season 13: Fresh Faces, ‘Harsh’ Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez’s Return
3. Even when the contestants are seated in the lounge area on the far left side of the studio (that’s stage left), they are still close enough to the audience to pick out individuals. Dexter Roberts had a long-distance conversation with his girlfriend, Savannah Coker, and her mother, Tami Coker, as the two women were seated in the audience. Later on, Alex Preston posed for a photo taken from the audience by two family friends.
4. Just as Jessica Meuse was about to duet with Dexter, Harry Connick, Jr. gave Urban a signal and both judges jumped out of their chairs and raced to the third (and top) level of the set, where they joined audience members to watch the two contestants sing. It’s not a short walk, so in order to be up there in time, Connick, Jr. and Urban really had to run. When the duet ended, the two men took their time returning to the stage, hugging audience members as they walked, as the urgency had passed.
STORY: ‘American Idol’: Keith Urban on Season 13’s Inconsistency and Country Music Appeal
5. Coming out of breaks, director Louis Horvitz rolls video of the contestants speaking about their performances. Those videos are shot just seconds earlier, with contestants leaping up from their couches in the lounge to run to a spot just by the elephant doors where the crew and production staff enter.
6. Although he was a big presence in the show, season seven-winner David Cook was not actually in the studio. Serving as this week’s mentor, Cook spent Monday with the top eight (all of whom were not alive in the ’80s) and then took a red-eye flight back to Nashville, where he’s recording a new album.
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