Many apologies if some of the things that I’m saying here sound irrelevant, or maybe even a little bit silly. In my defense, stepping into The X Factor‘s Adam-B.-Vary-christened Xanadome causes immediate side effects of hearing loss, confusion, mass hysteria — just total sensory overload. In other words, it’s fun!
A lot of this fun (and plenty of heartbreak) was delivered straight to your television for your viewing pleasure, but, as always, there were plenty of things that you didn’t see on TV last night. To get the full scoop you should probably consult the two diehard “Simon groupies” from Iowa who were sitting next to me, because those ladies made the Idol junkies look amateur. They each donated $2,000 to charity for their tickets! But for now you’re stuck with me, and I can tell you that most of the judges were feeling the heat last night. Simon Cowell could barely sit still, and Paula Abdul was giving out group hugs as if they were candy. Candy, I tell you! Read on for all the details on those things and more inside the studio at X Factor last night:
At a (hearing) loss As EW’s Tanner Stransky reported Wednesday night, Bill the warm-up guy is constantly telling everyone to go crazy. As a result, it gets pretty eardrum-shattering loud in there. So loud, in fact, that they’ve started handing out earplugs to audience members before the show even starts taping. But what can they do for the poor judges, who can’t wear plugs during the show? Well, nothing. Bill told us that the judges couldn’t hear very well on Wednesday, so we needed to tone it down. (Side note: Could this be the reason why everyone was earning universal praise?)
Astro sees the world through the eyes of his mentor Whenever we cut to a commercial break, a dedicated team of hair and makeup professionals would flock to the perfectly plucked judges to make sure that they still looked their best. When L.A. Reid stood onstage with his boys during the first dramatic commercial break, his bald head groomer handed L.A.’s glasses to none other than Astro, boy wonder, to hold. Would Astro still be Astro if he didn’t vamp it up and pose dramatically on stage? No, he wouldn’t. L.A. loved it though, so it worked.
Rachel-Drew mania! It must have been great to be Rachel Crow or Drew Ryniewicz last night, and pretty embarrassing to be, well, anyone else. “How many people does Rachel have here?” Bill asked. “It’s ridiculous!” Indeed, every time one of the two teen songstresses spoke, performed, or was merely mentioned, the house went crazy. Rachel had the majority of signs, but Drew won the prize for most friends and family in attendance.
Those jabbing judges We’ll probably never know just how serious the judges’ banter really is, but I can say with certainty that they think their own remarks are pretty darn funny. When the giant jumbo-screens replayed some of their sharpest cuts from last night, all four judges giggled at the things they said. Nicole Scherzinger gave Paula props for her “like I should take fashion advice from Simon,” comment, while Paula and Nicole both clapped and cheered at L.A.’s dig at Simon’s less-than-impressive musical library. “We could have used one of yours [songs], but… eh,” he deadpanned.
Simon the flirt Anyone watching the show could probably guess this already, but Simon certainly loves the ladies. The first few rows behind him were (coincidentally?) made up of screaming, die-hard Simonites, and he was more than happy to share winks, hugs, and cheeky comments with them. A wink from Simon can soothe the soul, ladies.
Nerves? What nerves? Before the bottom two were revealed, Bill asked the judges how they were feeling. Paula claimed to be “a bit nervous.” Nicole said she was “very nervous,” and didn’t know what to expect. But L.A. Reid, ever the epitome of Astro-esque confidence, wasn’t sweating it because all of his acts were great. “Don’t you agree that they’re all great?” he asked the audience. (We agreed.)
Beauty is pain Paula’s flowing dress and manageable heels had her prancing around the studio like a pro, but poor Nicole’s unwieldy footwear made things difficult. In fact, she needed assistance taking basic steps. Fortunately this didn’t deter a lovelorn teenaged suitor, who flew from Virginia to talk to his favorite star. His original plan was to take her to a tropical island to “stare at Nicole’s beauty all day,” but this, unfortunately, did not happen. Bill promised to hook him up backstage as a consolation prize.
Close for comfort As you saw on TV, all four judges stood with their contestants in the tense final moments. When we cut to commercial after Marcus and Drew were announced safe, Simon and L.A. played it cool while the ladies interacted warmly with their mentees. Paula individually hugged each member of all three groups, and seemed to be giving them words of encouragement. Nicole joked around nervously with all of them, but she spent the most time with LeRoy Bell. In fact, there seemed to be a genuine connection between the two, and the sweet hug they shared when he was announced safe only confirmed this.
Tragedy strikes the Xanadome The final moments for InTENsity were intense, and actually pretty painful to watch. After the adorable youngsters were cast off into the bottom two, Bill asked the crowd to start cheering for the group they wanted to see next week. Bad idea, Bill. What group did the entire crowd unanimously start cheering for? Stereo Hogzz. Who was still on stage, crying, hugging, and looking completely shocked and miserable while this was all happening? InTENsity. Can you spell “uncomfortable”? Well, some of the kids from InTENsity probably aren’t old enough to, so let’s go easy on them, people!
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