If you watched “American Idol” closely Thursday night, you saw a tear-drenched Lauren Alaina crying hysterically when Paul McDonald was deemed safe and Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia were sent packing in the double elimination. But, what you didn’t see was that Lauren’s waterworks started 15 minutes earlier and were quite dramatic, with several people trying to console her.
We were in the audience Thursday night to see what went down when the cameras weren’t looking and witnessed the 16-year-old Georgian overwrought with emotion the second Paul was in the bottom three. Sources say that the young contestant feels close to the 26-year-old rocker from Alabama in a big brother way and that she’s been very emotional over the past few weeks.
Tears were rolling down Lauren’s face and she was visibly shaking, often times putting her head in her lap with her hands on her face and shaking her head. Fellow contestant Jacob Lusk sat to her right and tried to comfort her, stroking her arm, speaking to her gently, and holding her hand. Casey Abrams, who sat two people to her left with an unaffected Haley Reinhart in between them, would reach over to Lauren and touch her arm to offer support, looking concerned for the upset singer.
The hysterics didn’t stop for the rest of the taping even when McDonald was deemed safe. She hi-fived her pal when he returned to the benches, but continued to cry. The emotional teenager even cried throughout Will.I.Am and Jamie Foxx’s performance of “Hot Wings” from the movie “Rio.” When the entire top 11 were on their feet dancing and grooving to the performance, Lauren stood there still crying and shaking and unable to groove along. Lusk was trying to tell her to wipe her eyes, but she didn’t seem to listen. Even Steven Tyler got in the action in trying to calm her down by hugging her and at then end of the show, where she was still crying.
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Here’s what else you didn’t see on Thursday’s show:
Steven Tyler’s Soft Side: From putting a little girl on his lap and spinning her around in his chair during a commercial break to wiping a tear from Thia Megia’s eye at the end of the show, the bad boy rocker showed off his soft side between breaks.
The Real Signage: Sure, you see signs that say “I’m Burning for Durbin” or “I love Casey,” but we counted and there were more signs for Steven Tyler than for any of the top 11. Our favorite was from a guy sitting just three people away from the Aerosmith singer that read, “Steven Tyler-Walk this way and give me a hug.” Not only did Steven never walk his way, he didn’t even look his way. Other great Tyler signs included “Steven Just Give Me a Kiss” and “Slay me Steven.”
Did You See? In the audience were Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS-FM sidekick Ellen K. (who recently said she hopes to be a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” soon), past winner Kris Allen, and past contestants Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens. They all chatted with the judges on a commercial break.
Hello, Entourage! On every commercial break, at least 10 people would rush to the judges’ table to fix makeup and hair and/or chat. The 10 people included a makeup artist and hairdresser each for all three judges. Yes, even Randy Jackson.
Crowd Faves: The loudest screams of the night came when Casey Abrams was found safe. Can we say new frontrunner? And, maybe not so surprisingly, there were no boos when Thia and Naima were put into the bottom three.
Ryan Can’t Dance: Everyone was on their feet grooving to Thia, Haley and Pia’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” but as Seacrest stood right next to Stefano, Casey, and Paul, who were all getting their groove on, he was stiff as a board. Not even a good toe-tapping!
Judges’ Lovefest: This reporter’s been to years of “American Idol” tapings and this is the first time that on a commercial break all of the judges didn’t bolt out the door the second they could. In past years, Simon Cowell would go for a smoke. Paula Abdul would scurry out fast and barely make it back to the judges’ table, and Randy would make himself scarce too. But this night, Randy, Steven and Jennifer sat at the table, talked to each other, talked to fans, hugged fans, and seemed to really enjoy just being there. Nice.
The Sad Goodbyes: High schoolers Lauren and Thia shared a long hug at the end. Tyler wiped a tear from Thia’s eye. Jennifer cornered Naima – who was actually laughing – for a chat. And, Lauren and Paul hugged it out once more.