May 21, 2009 at 10:24 PM EDT

The American Idol winner and runner-up weren’t the only bold-faced names to appear backstage at the Nokia Theater last night. EW also caught up with singers Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, and Queen Latifah as they made their press rounds during the live telecast. Here are the highlights of what they had to say:

Cyndi Lauper, who performed “Time After Time” with Allison Iraheta: I tried to create a little band. I rocked it a little for [Allison], becauseshe has that rock-and-roll voice and it’s a really neat voice. Youknow, it’s hard to do that [show]. I probably would never been anybody if Ihad to come through Idol. I don’t think Bob Dylan would’ve either! It’sreally hard what they’re doing, so I give them all props. [Allison’s] aterrific little singer. She should have a record deal, that’s a nobrainer. Oh, I shouldn’t say ‘no brainer.’ I hate that expression!

Jason Mraz, who performed “I’m Yours” with Anoop Desai and Alexis Grace, backed by their fellow Idols: I did see the [Top 36] group performance of “I’m Yours.” I didn’t think my song could be embraced in this forum, and at that scale. I was really moved. It was inspiring! I haven’t really seen this season. Last week, I saw a Kris Allen performance, because, you know, he keeps getting referred to as Jason Mraz-y. So I checked it out; I thought he was fantastic. He holds his instruments well; he’s really with them.

Luckily, I’m not a contestant, because these kids go through some serious stuff here…. I felt judged [while performing], first of all. Simon was looking down. I said, Oh man, this is hell for these kids. What if your life depended on the outcome of what these judges say? Also, for me, that version of “I’m Yours” was the most amped, energetic version I’ve ever been a part of. We do it a little more laid back; the key’s a lot lower. So to be up there without my own instrument, just get into it, it was actually quite freeing. My favorite part, though? Coming down the steps. Never in my life have I had a chance to do that.

addCredit(“Ray Mickshaw/Fox(2); Kevin Winter/American Idol/Getty Images”)

Queen Latifah, who performed her new single “Cue the Rain” with Lil Rounds: We submitted a few songs from the new album [out July 7]. [The producers] liked all three, but they felt “Cue the Rain” would be perfect forLil Rounds and myself to do. So we just practiced, and I hired somedancers to spruce it up, make it really fun and edgy, and she deliveredand I delivered.

Lil Rounds really brought the soul to the show from a blackperspective. It was funny, because there were so many white guys on theshow who had soul! Danny was one of my favorites early on. I reallythought he’d make it to the finals, because I watched him own thatMichael Jackson night. Pretty much nobody else on stage was ascomfortable on stage doing those songs.

[On a nearby monitor, Latifah sees Adam come on stage in his Kiss performance outfit] There’s myguy! He is rocking out! It’s like David Bowie reincarnated! I live forit. It’s like Ziggy Stardust meets 2009. Wooooo!

More on the American Idol finale:
Kris Allen talks Queen, Adam Lambert, and, oh yeah, winning ‘American Idol’
Adam Lambert after the ‘American Idol’ finale: ‘I’m really happy for Kris’
Kris Allen wins ‘American Idol’: We live-blogged it!
Michael Slezak recaps the ‘American Idol’ finale
Whitney Pastorek on the scene at the ‘American Idol’ finale

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