Congratulations to "American Idol" Season Nine champ Lee DeWyze - not since Kelly Clarkson won in the first season has a winner seemed so totally blown away by taking home the title. Lee's astonishment was there for all to see on TV - but quite a bit was going on off-camera at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
1) It was obvious Lee was going to win by his in-house support. The ratio of Lee signs to Crystal Bowersox signs were about 25 to 1. And during the in-between-commercial chatter, audience warm-up comedian Cory Almeida was running around asking attendees who they voted for Tuesday night. Not a single person over the course of the two-hour show said Crystal.
2) Christina Aguilera enchanted the audience. How do you bounce back in the public's heart the day after you cancel your tour? Knock 'em dead on "Idol." All 7,000 people at the Nokia were pin-drop silent during her performance, and she seemed to have even stunned the swaybots in the front row into submission. Several of the girls just stopped with their hands raised over their heads in awe and forgot to sway.
3) Janet Jackson wowed everyone by showing some skin. There was an audible gasp the first time Miss Jackson turned to the side and showed off the racy netting on the side of her outfit. Also amusing: her backup dancers were wandering around the courtyard of the Nokia before the show in their street clothes but with their eye makeup already done. It caused quite a few double takes outside the Starbucks.
4) Bret Michaels got a wave of adulation - literally. Michaels came on stage from the left wing, so the right side of the Nokia saw his backlit cowboy hat first and started screaming. The more he came towards centerstage, the rest of the auditorium caught on and erupted in cheers. It was so loud inside that you couldn't heard Michaels sing the first several lines of the song.
5) Kelly Clarkson's new 'do fooled them all. As the former "Idol" winner tribute to departing judge Simon Cowell started with Clarkson walking solo down the stairs, the audience at first didn't recognize her with her shorter locks. As soon as they put her up on the big screens to the sides of the stage, the audience started applauding.
6) Speaking of Simon, guess who was the very first person in the audience to leap up and give him a standing ovation at the end of his tribute? Kara DioGuardi.
7) Pretty in pink Paula Abdul won Simon's heart. During the commercial break after her farewell speech to him, the two stood centerstage hugging and chatting for several long moments, then walked off stage still embracing. Aw, they like each other - they really like each other.
8) Crystal almost took a spill during "You Oughta Know." The choreography of Alanis Morissette' and Crystal's duet consisted of circling around each other as they were followed by a cameraman, and Crystal got a bit caught up by the cord of the camera. She stumbled a bit and leaped over it - and didn't miss a beat.
9) The crazy thing with Dane Cook? The "Idol" famewhores that clustered around Dane Cook and grabbed the mic obviously weren't supposed to be quite so eager. The quick cut to commercial wasn't intentional - and I'm sure it wasn't planned that security would have to escort them off stage after a few started milling around and yelling at Simon. Someone from the audience shouted "Get the crazies off!" "Perfect, just like we planned it," Almeida sarcastically mused to the audience after the stage was cleared. "Live TV."
10) It's really hard to get through life with your pants on the ground. Especially if you're a dancer. After "General" Larry Platt sang "Pants on the Ground" and his back-up dancers dropped trou (stay classy, Fox) they all hopped offstage with their pants around their ankles instead of pulling them up and walking offstage. I don't think the General approved.
More 'American Idol' on Billboard.com: