Hello, Idoldome. Hello, John. This is the third season of American Idol that I’ve covered in person, and by now the Idoldome — EW’s nickname for the Idol studio at L.A.’s CBS Television City — is sort of like a second home to me. Except my second home has gone and remodeled itself. The most noticeable difference between last year’s set and Idoldome 2012 is the size of the audience, which has been cut roughly in half. As a result, the noise level has been reduced from “airplane taking off” to “Gilbert Gottfried.”
The stage itself is larger, with tentacle-like walkways protruding into the audience. There are also Burtonesque spirals on the ceiling, though they appear to be an afterthought in terms of the show’s overall design scheme. What isn’t an afterthought is the addition of cubes, cubes, and more cubes. Both sides of the stage now feature giant video-screen blocks that display various looping footage throughout the show. When I first entered the Idoldome yesterday, these screens were all orange, and I felt as if I had somehow become trapped inside the world’s largest, all-orange Rubik’s Cube. But I quickly grew to accept the cubes. They may be Idol‘s attempt to add a bit more razzle-dazzle to the set, à la The X Factor, but they aren’t so overwhelming that they distract from the performances.
But enough about the set. It gets the job done, even if its components may one day be used to rebuild the Aggro Crag in a revival of Nickelodeon GUTS. Last night was all about the Top 12 Girls, who easily surpassed what the Guys delivered on Tuesday. Here are some things that you didn’t see on TV: READ FULL STORY