A Look Behind the Scenes of American Idol

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People magazine filed the following report about last night's American Idol ...

Last Call: Each week it's usually the judges â€" especially Simon or Paula â€" who sneak into their seats seconds before the show goes live to the East Coast. But on Tuesday night the audience was wondering, "Where's LaKisha Jones?" All the contestants except her stood front and center on stage as Ryan Seacrest read over the show's opening lines on the teleprompter and a production staffer yelled "30 seconds!" That's when LaKisha ran onto the stage to take her place next to the other finalists.

Urban, Tim

Notice Me!!!: Jordin Sparks lingered on stage for a few seconds waving to fans following her stellar performance of "To Love Somebody." She was overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and the number of signs (many of which read "Jordin Sparkles"). One 6-year-old girl named Izzy yelled out, "I love you, Jordin!" in a squeaky voice that pierced through the din of the crowd. Jordin was being escorted off the stage for a wardrobe change when she stopped dead in her tracks to wave to her young admirer before being hustled back into reality.

Road Crew: It's no secret that Simon Cowell is a car aficionado. Most weeks he drives his Ferrari convertible to the studio. But this week he arrived in a new emerald green Morgan Roadster (which retails somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000). The two-seater convertible is a definite attention-getter.

All Rise: Judge Judy Sheindlin, who had a front-row seat Tuesday night, came face-to-face with Paula Abdul â€" literally. The diminutive pair were introduced during the show's first commercial break. Later, Paula held court with Sheindlin during another break and remarked, "You're so petite." Sheindlin replied to her fellow vertically challenged judge: "You're tall, but you give a short performance."

Sign Me Up: Every week Idol audience members try to out-clever each other with homemade signs, and this week was no exception. Standouts at Tuesday's show included:

"Melinda Doolittle Does BIG Things"

"I Can't Decide: Blake? Jordin? LaKisha? Melinda?"

But best of all was the Simon Cowell Mean-O-Meter, complete with a movable needle to rate the judge's comments from nice to nasty. Simon caught sight of the fan's sign and gave a nod of approval before asking her to return the needle to the nice side in time for the next contestant's performance.

Dance Fever: LaKisha's syncopated, soulful version of "Stayin' Alive" was killing Paula. In a good way. Despite a lukewarm review, Abdul couldn't stay in her seat. Not only did she dance, she waved her hands by her ears and turned her head side-to-side. There was so much movement going on that Simon pushed her chair out of the way so that Paula wouldn't hurt herself (or anyone else, for that matter).

Beat It: Blake Lewis, a fan favorite, had an off night and the judges â€" especially Simon and Randy Jackson â€" were quick to scold the very thing they once praised: Randy told Blake, an average vocalist with outstanding beat box skills, that a little beat boxing goes a long way. During the show's final video recap, Blake looked dejected and could barely eke out a smile for fans in the audience.

We're sure Antonella Barba still loves him, though.

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]
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