If you watched American Idol at home, you didn’t get to experience all of the things the studio audience saw during their brief stay in the Idol dome. But don’t worry — Billboard had eyes in the house, so here’s a recap of what you missed:
One of the perks of being a VIP guest at Idol is the catering. The green room, set just steps from Stage 36, is filled with trays of hot food, platters of cheese, crackers and fruit and a generous spread of desserts. Plus, there are stands for hot drinks and cold drinks. Want a latte while you wait to enter the studio? No problem.
Or, at least, there’s never been a problem until now. The green room is gone, no doubt a victim of budget cuts. The space is being converted into an area exclusively for press, and it’s not ready yet. But you can forget enjoying a freshly made cappuccino this season.
The seating for guests has been slightly revised — no big deal for the home audience, but if you’re a regular Idol visitor, you had to work out some new pathways to get to your seat, if your seat is still where it was last season.
The crowd goes wild for the first celebrity they see — Ryan Seacrest, who enters to thunderous applause. He’s in a playful mood, asking a teenage girl from El Toro High School her name. She’s Carly, and she’s standing next to one of her friends. “Is that your best friend?” Ryan asks her. “Or do you have a better friend?” Wisely, she doesn’t answer.
After his first intro, Seacrest heads backstage but has to quickly duck to get out of the way of a moving camera. Fortunately, he is agile and moves just in time to avoid a serious injury. But it’s the first time anyone can remember the host coming that close to traveling heavy equipment.
There’s no rest for the top 12 Idols, who stay on the stage as the audience files out, so they can pose for photos as the dozen finalists who remain in the competition. From there, it’s up to their third-floor hangout to speak to Billboard, as well as Fox Radio and AmericanIdol.com. Then it’s right to rehearsals with the vocal coaches for Thursday night’s show. Time off? Not until Easter.
With the field narrowed to a top 12, four competitors have to pack their bags and go home. Backstage and later, up in their third-floor retreat, the ones who remain give big hugs and encouragement to the quartet who didn’t make it. Emotions run high as goodbyes are said to the people they’ve spent the most time with over the last few months.