The Idol block this week was decidedly Jenny’s. Wednesday night found the diva wearing the hottest heels in the universe, and in case you were wondering, she continued the streak last night in a pair of red-soled Louboutins. But truly, her pumps weren’t the story last night in the Idoldome: It was all about her sizzling performance of certified-hit “On the Floor,” as you can see in the photo here. But there was a secret to Jenny’s “Floor’-filled show: Even though the show masqueraded it as otherwise to you television viewers, J.Lo’s singing was totally pretaped.
Granted, she did sing it live at some point last week, but in the tradition of Idol performances from Sugarland to Katy Perry so far this season, Jennifer belted “On the Floor” at a different, previous time and producers simply stuck video of the spectacle into last night’s live show. “As far as I’m concerned,” warm-up comic Cory told the audience in the dome, “you saw it live.” We were encouraged to act like we saw it live!
And even though it wasn’t technically a “live” performance, it was hilarious to watch producers, other judges, and host Ryan act like it was. Ryan announced that Lopez would need to leave to get ready for her song, and inside the Idoldome, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe even went to the trouble of whisking her away backstage before they cut to tape that had already been shot. The whole intro bit with Ryan, Steven, and Randy in the audience (complete with popcorn!) was indeed live. Needless to say, this one here (that’d be me!) was disappointed to not experience the glass-shattering, literally on-the-floor performance when it actually happened. But, I will say that the whole thing was still pretty hot. I was impressed, and constantly am, with J.Lo’s fabulousness.
Elsewhere in the Idoldome lots was going on that you likely didn’t see. Here’s a rundown of 12 highlights from my perch, which I’m happy to report was much closer to the action than it was on Wednesday evening:
• Love for Jacob: One of the first signs I noticed being toted in by an audience member last night was one that showed three pictures — Jordin Sparks, Chris Brown, and Jacob Lusk — and the simple words: “Jacob Just Be You.” The little boy holding it seemed to be telling the ill-fated singer that his questionable rendition of “No Air” was good enough for him. The sign ended up winning its owner, little Dawson, a spot on the stage during a commercial break, where audience-wizard Cory gave him a Jacob-branded prize. And then Jacob himself came over and offered several high fives and fist bumps to the very excited child. Awww.
• Bridesmaid Realness: It’s clear we are getting close to the season finale of American Idol because the fashion in the audience has started to ramp up. Errr, maybe ramp up isn’t the right word choice? Ramp down maybe? This week there was seemingly a bridesmaid theme going on, as I spotted one lady wearing a shiny red number that’d be perfect for a traditional ceremony somewhere in the Midwest. Elsewhere, an older woman sported a dress with fabric flowers that cascaded down from one shoulder. Find a bride and groom! Those gals seemed more ready for a ceremony rather than the Top 5 results show of Idol.
• Jennifer Lopez’s Coke Cup of…Orange Juice?: I know it might be difficult to believe, but it’s very unlikely that what’s in those uber-sponsored Coke cups the judges sip from is actually Coke! Here’s my totally scientific, totally investigative report: I spied an assistant of some sort who was toting a to-go cup of orange juice come out and snatch Jenny’s cup and head backstage with it. Is Lopez sipping juice instead of Coke? I’m not suggesting that, but I’m just suggesting what I saw go down. We’ll probably never know, but it seems likely. For shame!
• Idols Learn to Work the Crowd!: After the five Idols were introduced at the top of the hour, they were quickly shooed over to their couch during the first commercial break. And what was instantly noticeable was how much more comfortable these kids were with working the crowd. They were waving to their fans so much that stage manager Debbie had a hard time corralling them over to their new spots. The kids love these kids! It’s a marked change from the early days of the live shows, when they’d all sit there looking more scared than anything else during the breaks.
• The Idols Meet Their…Idols?: Well, maybe the three folks in Lady Antebellum aren’t idols for all the Idols, but they certainly were — surprise, surprise! — for one of the contestants: Lauren Alaina. After the trio performed their new song “Just a Kiss,” the countrified gal ran over to greet them all very excitedly. It wasn’t until after Lauren lavished them for a little while that the other four Idols came over to say hi. (Lady Antebellum also went to greet the judges, too. Steven kissed the hand of Hillary Scott.)
• Steven’s Fresh Breath: During an early commercial break, I spied one gal from Steven’s hair and makeup team giving him a little boost in the fresh breath department: an Altoid. She took one, too, and offered one to the other hair and makeup gal there with her. The always-jovial rocker took an extra, too, and threw it over to his big, burly body guard who always sits just a few feet from him.
• Scotty’s Sign: During a commercial break, Scotty spotted a sign in the audience that he liked. The small child was holding a sign that hilariously said: “Beam Me Up, Scotty!” The country singer asked Cory to bring the kid up to the stage, and he took home an iPad case signed y Scotty himself.
• A Dark Moment in the Idoldome: When Ryan asked Scotty to pick the group he thought was safe, how’d that play on television? In the Idoldome, it felt like a burst of icy cold air. How could he ask Scotty to do such a thing? Actually, several in the audience around me uttered just that thought. It was even crazier when Scotty actually walked over to stand with Haley and James, who did indeed end up being safe with him. (Shouldn’t he have done the I’m-gonna-sit-down-right-here-in-the-middle thing?)
• Continued Darkness: The commercial break between when Scotty was asked to choose who was safe and when Ryan delivered the news to Jacob might have possibly been the most awkward minutes I’ve ever experienced in the Idoldome this season. “This is a hard time for these guys, everybody,” stage manager Debbie said over the PA system to the crowd, as she comforted Lauren and Jacob, who were still standing in the middle of the stage awaiting their fates.
• Ryan’s Embrace: While Jacob was doing his final performance of “A House is Not a Home,” I spied Ryan off to the side with the safe contestants. Who was he embracing? Randomly, it was Scotty. And it was just a few seconds before Jacob finished “Home” that stage manager Debbie dutifully appeared at the safe couch, too, to shoo the four remaining Idols out onto the stage for a little dancing and whatnot.
• Jacob Plus the Judges: After that party on the stage at the end of Jacob’s performance, everyone stuck around past Ryan’s sign off, as per usual. And the most noticeable thing was the seriousness with which Randy and Steven were talking to Jacob. Especially Steven, who intensely grabbed the voted off contestant’s face and seemed to be doing everything in his power to keep his spirits up. I would love to know what Steven was saying to Jacob in that moment.
• The Left Behind: Ryan might have plugged Steven’s memoir, Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?, during the show, but the judge couldn’t have seemed to care less about the book, as he left a copy of it sitting on the judges table when he exited the Idoldome. I suppose he might have a few copies elsewhere, but I’m surprised the constant crowd-pleaser didn’t sign it and pass it on to one of his many cougarific fans in the crowd. They were, as always, out in full force last night.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky