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There may have been fireworks (and not the good kind) between Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato just 24 hours prior, but all seemed forgiven on Thursday as the X Factor judges left the infamous “300 million records” in the past. The duo were spotted whispering in each other’s ears during the show’s opening credits in what appeared to be an endearing exchange between the constantly-sparring judges.
But it wasn’t all good news for Lovato, as one of her final two contestants was sent packing in the first few minutes of broadcast. The audience watched in shock and awe as single mom Paige Thomas was sent packing without the opportunity to sing for survival. Later, the consistently top-ranked Vino Alan performed a rousing version of Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” that seemingly fell short with Lovato and Cowell, who cast the deciding vote to send Alan home.
But that, you watched on TV. Below, read on for THR’s view from inside the studio.
1. Before X Factor alum Josh Krajcik and Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys hit the stage, it was Psy who had the rafters shaking. No, the K-pop phenom wasn’t in the house, but audience warm-up guy Frank Nicotero enlisted the help of his hit “Gangnam Style” to pump up the audience prior to broadcast.
2. Judges LA Reid, Britney Spears and Lovato are introduced to rousing cheers a few minutes before going live, while Frank joked that Cowell has “carte blanche to show up when ever he wants. ”Indeed, Cowell made his grand entrance just 30 seconds before showtime.
3. At the break, after learning Thomas’ fate, several audience members could be heard shouting “We love you, Paige!” The eliminated contestant seemed in good spirits, however, taking the news in stride and later telling reporters that she hopes to get back into modeling and plans to be pitching Reid in the near future because “that’s where I’d like to be signed.”
4. As Krajcik hit the stage, Reid got up from his seat to give a hug to the former contestant. During his performance, the singer blew kisses at the audience and afterward, he could be seen waving hello (and goodbye) to Cowell.
5. So much for that friendly banter. Just before the bottom two were revealed, Cowell and Demi could be seen engaging in what looked like a heated discussion. Maybe it was that “bad feeling” Cowell acknowledged earlier in the broadcast.
6. You know the celebrity audience members are in short supply when Frank starts calling attention to future reality personalities in the crowd. On Thursday, Frank plugged OWN’s upcoming Six Little McGhees as its star, mom Mia McGhee, and her sextuplets were in the audience.
7. When girl group Fifth Harmony were proclaimed safe by the hosts, hilarity ensued. The songbirds have grown increasingly close throughout the competition, and in that moment it became abundantly clear that Cowell is definitely not involved in their tight-knit clique: the Brit awkwardly hung on the outside of their group hug as the gals celebrated.
8. If this week’s guest performers were on the mellow side, next week will be a serious change of pace. Frank informed the audience that Ke$ha and last year’s X Factor victor Melanie Amaro will hit the stage next Thursday when the top six are whittled down to four.
9. Cowell and Lovato, hot and cold, returned to their seats arm-in-arm as Ms. Keys hit the stage to perform “Girl on Fire.” “Start the rumor mill,” quipped Frank.
10. All that attention paid to Cowell must have made the Lovatics in the audience jealous. One boy in the back repeatedly screamed out to the songbird: “Demi, I have a stay strong tattoo! Demi, I have a stay strong tattoo! Demi! Demi! Demi!” And, repeat. Thankfully, she eventually obliged with a wave and a smile so the rest of us could go back to our business.
11. When it came down to the bottom two elimination showdown between Diamond White (singing Beyonce’s “I Was Here”) and Alan (singing the aforementioned “Trouble), the audience decision was clear. Alan’s powerhouse, soulful voice shook the crowd to its core and was greeted with deafening cheers. Lovato’s decision to send Alan home was met with gasps, while Cowell’s remarks resulted in palpable shock.
12. Backstage, host Khloe Kardashian waited patiently for the eliminated Thomas to finish with her interviews before giving the singer a big bear hug and snapping a photo together with her cell phone.
13. As Krajicik chatted with reporters, his eyes lit up at the mention of the forthcoming Star Wars films, going full fanboy: “We all know Lawrence Kasdan wrote the best Star Wars and [George Lucas] didn’t direct Empire! I’m hoping that we get an amazing fanboy that just knows exactly – let’s get a dirty, gritty Star Wars!” Asked whether he’d ever be on the soundtrack, “I’d love to be!” was his response.
14. The judges were not in the mood to speak with press after the broadcast. Spears bypassed the press tent to care for her sick child, while Reid and Cowell both said they weren’t up for interviews. Lovato made a quick stop by the tent to speak with only two outlets before bolting for the door. Was she afraid to face Alan, whom she so unceremoniously voted out just minutes earlier?
15. Rumor had it that Alan was furious about his exit from the show, struggling to control his temper backstage. But when he hit the press tent, the 40-year-old turned on his signature charm and appeared just as positive, friendly and happy as he does each week. Alan gushed about his new girlfriend, telling reporters that he had “fallen in love” in the past few months with reality TV chef Lindsay Crolius since starting the show. “It’s one of those things, you just know. I hope I didn’t just jinx it,” he said. “The universe just lined up. We have an ongoing joke that she’s just so perfect, something’s gotta happen. She’s so not Hollywood but she knows everyone in Hollywood.“
16. Alicia Keys sipped through a straw from a Styrofoam coffee cup secured by an ill-fitting lid and electrical tape. Backstage she had changed into nude-colored leather pants and a black and white houndstooth sweater with black leather boots. She was all smiles as she chatted about music and motherhood, and lit up when she heard that Emblem3 had covered her weeks earlier. “Which song?!” she excitedly asked, before wondering aloud if she could watch their performance on YouTube.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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