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The audience was larger than usual, as the American Idol set moved from CBS Television City in Los Angeles to the Nokia Theatre, downtown at L.A. Live for the top two performance finale. But, as always, there were things you didn’t see if you weren’t inside the venue. The Hollywood Reporter observed them for you from a reserved seat.
1. There were Idols from seasons past scattered throughout the theater. Only 24 people in the history of mankind have competed in an American Idol season finale and one of them, season four’s Bo Bice, was seated in the second row. Season 11’s Colton Dixon had a visit from a gentleman in a neon yellow jacket: Joshua Ledet, also from season 11, who was seated across the aisle. Way down front, seated together, were the other season 12 finalists: Angie Miller, Amber Holcomb, Lazaro Arbus, Janelle Arthur and Paul Jolley, Curtis Finch, Jr., Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez. They were joined by Aubrey Cleland, who will be traveling with them on the summer tour.
2. A bevy of other Idols were seen inside the Nokia before showtime, including Taylor Hicks, Kimberley Locke, Carly Smithson, Didi Benami, James Durbin, Stefano Langone and Casey Abrams. They were there to do interviews with radio DJs from all over the country.
3. When Candice Glover sang Adele’s “Chasing Pavements,” the first person inside the 7,000-seat Nokia Theatre to stand up was Miller.
4. Lots of people brought signs, including one pre-teen named Ryan who had a sign that read, “Ryan S Is Awesome!” Presumably he meant host Ryan Seacrest and not himself. Audience members were encouraged to hold up their signs – except for the folks sitting in the front part of the center section. Warm-up comedian Cory Almeida warned them if they did, they would be blocking the prompter. No prompter, no show.
5. Some lucky fans sitting down front had a chance to slap hands with Glover and Kree Harrison when the two finalists spent a few minutes during a commercial break out in the audience. It wasn’t a random visit – Glover and Harrison began the next act talking to Seacrest while they were standing out in the audience.
6. An audience member from Las Vegas named Diane who said it was her birthday was promised a “birthday handshake” from a judge by Almeida. He led her over to the judges panel and walked her right up to Keith Urban, who surprised Diane with a birthday hug. Diane was so flustered she had a little trouble finding her seat when it was time to return to her place in the audience.
7. When Nicki Minaj commented on how big the Nokia stage was, she knew what she was talking about, having performed on the same big stage a few times on the American Music Awards.
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