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American Idol’s top 7 were ready to rock on Wednesday night, as the show kicked out some old-timely jams — and one Evanescence song — for its theme this week. Most handled the challenge competently, which could make Thursday’s results slightly less predictable. Until that riveting moment, 15 things you didn’t see on TV to hold you over…
1. Ryan Seacrest sometimes has to pre-tape a variety of introductions — or “cold opens,” as they say in the biz — to satisfy the producers or for any number of reasons. Wednesday was one of those nights. Seacrest, ever the consummate pro, delivered his trademark line, THIS is American Idol, while audience members were tasked with jumping to their feet at different times. Television’s not always glamorous, nor spontaneous, but that’s how it goes with a well-oiled machine like Idol.
2. Virtuoso guitarist and 19 Entertainment artist Orianthi is directed to her spot by stage manager Debbie Williams, who also instructs those in the mosh pits to clap above their heads during the first number. The song: Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name,” performed by Burnell Taylor.
3. Burnell’s was a valiant effort to venture outside of his comfort zone, but even with the pyro ending, no one stood at song’s end.
PHOTOS: ‘American Idol’ Season 12: The Top 10 Finalists
4. This being rock night, there was all kinds of six-string noodling going on during the commercial breaks. It must be said: that Orianthi can shred — and the members of Ray Chew’s band are no slouches either.
5. Lazaro Arbos’ duet with Angie Miller was a virtual repeat of his group number from last week, when he forgot the words. You could almost feel a collective wince from the crowd during that “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” moment .
6. Nicki Minaj used her commercial breaks productively, furiously typing away on her phone and paying no mind to the “We love you, Nicki!” screams coming from the crowd.
7. Mariah Carey is a Kree Harrison believer. Not only was she feeling the Tennesseean’s take on Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” the diva sang along complete with stage-ready hand gestures. The performance also prompted the first standing O of the night.
8. Janelle Arthur is nothing if not adorable. Everyone knows it — especially stage manager Debbie, it seems, who took a moment before the cameras rolled to quickly fluff the finalist’s hair.
9. A commercial break reveals that Idol season 11 alums Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet are in the house. It was only a year ago that they were both on that very stage.
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10. While waiting for their cue to start, Janelle Arthur, Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb signed autographs for fans in the front rows.
11. A ridiculously endearing moment transpired during a commercial break as Keith Urban took an adorable little girl, presumably his daughter Sunday, to meet his fellow judges. As she departs with a minder, he blows her a kiss. Swoon.
12. Security must be costing the production a pretty penny this year — there were no fewer than nine ear piece-sporting suits creating a perimeter around the judges’ table. (And it should be noted: we have yet to see Minaj and Carey interact other than the more-than-occasional eye-roll.)
13. Candice Glover’s “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was the one time the studio audience truly leapt to its feet. Fitting, considering the pain she was in having broken her toe.
14. The judges also allotted but one enthusiastic standing ovation. The recipient: Amber Holcomb, who sang Heart’s “What About Love.”
15. As the recap clip rolls and finally reaches Angie Miller’s show-stopping “Bring Me to Life,” Janelle Arthur points to the goosebumps on her arm.
For more on season 12’s rock night, read Idol Worship’s recap.
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