Shaunna Murphy
December 16, 2011 AT 06:47 AM EST

Viewers — did you enjoy watching Florence and the Machine rock the house on your big fancy television screens last night? Well, so did the crowd at the Xanadome. Unfortunately, Florence’s performance, as well as the majority of last night’s taping of The X Factor, was pre-recorded. The audience spent a lot of time sitting through pre-packaged recap segments, while Steve Jones paced nervously on stage. Top man, that one.

Luckily, things picked up when the judges finally came out of their caves at the end of the taping. Once it was time to send someone home, the drama got real. From Nicole Scherzinger’s war with Simon Cowell to Chris Rene’s belly tattoo, there were some things that you simply couldn’t see on TV. [For Annie Barrett’s recap, click here.]

WORDS WITH FRIENDS Clearly, the major rivalry to emerge this season is the one between Cowell and Scherzinger. When Cowell’s contestant Melanie Amaro was announced safe, the smug judge shot her a taunting told-you-so look that had Scherzinger (jokingly) steaming. They continued to banter when the cameras stopped rolling after Scherzinger’s performance,  and only stopped when Scherzinger’s Josh Krajcik was announced safe. At this point, Scherzinger was the one shooting the nasty looks. Save it for next week, guys.

CHRIS’ YOUNG HOMIES Rene’s fans were numerous, and coincidentally, absolutely terrifying. They sat in a large group directly to my right, where they loudly heckled anyone who disagreed with their pick. It felt like the Eagles were playing the Cowboys, or the Lakers were playing the Celtics, or just any competition where the fans get threatening and insane. My favorite part was when a little girl (roughly age 6) stood on a chair in front of a Rene-head, and the disgruntled Rene-head called over security instead of politely asking her to move.

THE NEVER-ENDING SMILE Despite his tragic descent into X Factor oblivion, Marcus Canty was all smiles, all the time. At first I thought that he was doing that thing beauty pageant contestants do, where they put Vaseline on their teeth to KEEP SMILING, but his friendly demeanor and warm personality after the cameras stopped rolling nixed that theory. Indeed, you could tell that everybody was going to miss the affable Canty. Cowell walked onstage and cupped Canty’s face in his hands, while the other three judges offered genuine hugs and words of encouragement. Even the camera guys joined in on the hugs. Aww.

TRAMP STAMP? Are lower belly tattoos considered tramp stamps? If so, then Chris Rene definitely has one. When the cameras stopped rolling, the final three remained onstage for some interviews. When Rene was finished with his, he walked up to center stage, lifted up his shirt, and pointed at the giant “LOVING LIFE” tattoo on his lower belly. Many of his intimidating fans had “loving live” written on their posters, so naturally they freaked when this happened.

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