Last night, The X Factor pulled off its second live show of the season without any wardrobe malfunctions. Viewers watching at home saw some stellar and some not-so-stellar performances, Mario Lopez daring to correct Simon Cowell, a recently announced safe Jason Brock awkwardly struggling to pick between hugging the eliminated David Correy or embracing host Khloé Kardashian, and some over-eager Emblem3 boys tripping all over each other. But what didn’t make it onscreen last night? EW was on the scene for Thursday’s live taping. Read on to learn five things that were going on in the studio during the show that you didn’t see on TV.
1. Even though Thursday is results night and not the Wednesday night of wild performances, that stage is still quite the sensory overload for anyone witnessing the show in person. It seems like a demure, light, family-friendly place when you first walk in 45 minutes before the show starts, and dozens of teenage girls in the pit (it really did look like it was all teenage girls down there – I saw no guys in the pit) are singing along to “Oops!… I Did It Again.” (Though they are teens today, so far more of them sang along to Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break.”) But when the overhead lights go off, that place turns dark and sleek. And then the spotlights, flashing lights and giant panels of black, blue and pink turn on, and the studio starts to feel far less American Idol, far more VMAs.
2. Watching from home, if you count the number of times Britney Spears uses the word “amazing” to describe an act, you’ll easily get into the double digits. (I think Wednesday night’s count was 10 or 11.) But it’s not so easy to reach high numbers for any in-house audience member counting the number of times the pop superstar actually acknowledges her fans. While Simon spent the majority of his time during commercial breaks waving to fans, flashing a peace sign at fans, shaking hands, fist bumping fans, Britney wasn’t so quick to get out of her chair unless it was to get her hair touched up. We got to see a sweet moment between Demi and a fan: The man in charge of revving up the audience told Demi that this girl is a huge fan and came all the way from Brazil to see her. With fewer than 30 seconds left of the commercial break, Demi waved the fan on down to the judges’ table, gave the teary-eyed girl a big hug and signed an autograph for her. But when that audience-energizer directed Britney’s attention to a group of fans from Australia, with more than two minutes left of the break, all the Aussies got was a brief swivel of Britney’s chair, a wave and a smile, and then the back of her head again.
3. Any audience member in the studio gets to see plenty that isn’t seen on TV, but the trade-off is that we get to hear a lot less than you can on TV, especially for anyone sitting in the nose-bleed section. The cheers and yelling is so loud that I could barely hear most of what Khloé and Mario were saying. And I definitely couldn’t hear Demi when she announced which act she was sending home – though that’s something that the audience-energizer actually set out to remedy. During the next commercial break, he told the crowd that they actually need to dial it down just before the mentor announces the elimination. “That’s the first time I’ve ever had to tell an audience to quiet down,” he said.
4. Viewers at home saw that David Correy’s words post-elimination earned him a “spoken like a gentleman” from Mario. What the press got to see backstage after the show was David thanking Simon again for the opportunity. “Sorry it didn’t work out,” Simon told him. And the always blunt Simon didn’t hesitate to tell reporters how those chats with eliminated contestants feel: “It’s very awkward,” he said. “Uncomfortable.”
5. When Simon announced Emblem3 had made it safely into the Top 12, viewers at home saw Drew Chadwick drop out of frame before the editors cut back to the judges’ table. What was that crazy kid doing? Maybe in all the noise, I missed someone yelling “drop and give me 10!” to the 20-year-old – either that or good news motivates Drew to leap into a few mini-pushups. The crowd really does love them. During the next commercial break, some girls in the pit flagged down the audience-energizer to ask him a question. “What’s that? Where’s Emblem3?” he said with a chuckle. “Don’t worry – they’ll be back.”
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