Michael Becker/Fox/PictureGroup
March 11, 2011 at 08:55 AM EST

With 10 minutes to go before last night’s American Idol results show went liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive (that’s for you, Barrett), Cory the Warm Up Comic debuted a new audience participation salsa jazzercise element to his warm up routine. With 5 minutes to go, one of my fellow Idol journo’s informed our back row press gaggle that Casey Abrams was back in the hospital again. The Idol gods giveth with one hand, and taketh with another, I suppose. 

In comparison to Tuesday night’s marathon pre-taped performance show, the hour-long results show felt like a sleek, efficient sprint. Boom, Karen’s bottom three’d. Boom, Adam Lambert’s looking trim and sounding great. Boom, half the Top 13 never leaves the velvet benches of safety. Boom, Diddy Dirty Money shows us a selection of photos from his Facebook profile and paid tribute to his departed friend and mentor (again). Boom, Ashthon Jones pours her everything for a “save” that we all know isn’t coming. And boom, David Cook makes us think back fondly on Saturday detention. Forthwith, the highlights of what you didn’t see on TV, including why Adam Lambert > Diddy Dirty Money by pretty much every measurement possible.

“WE LOVE YOU, SCOTTY!!!” That’s what a pack of wild hyenas presumed teenage girls shrieked after the conclusion of the Top 13-minus-Casey’s group performance, a performance during which I was so transfixed by James, Jacob, and Stefano’s utter commitment to the choreography, even when they weren’t on camera, that I could scarcely pay attention to anything else. (Hey Casey James and Lee DeWyze, this is how you soldier through a quasi-lip-syncing, copiously cheesy group number.) So I wish I could tell you how Scotty “I’ll never change” McCreery managed to dance and “sing” through a Michael Jackson medley, but alas, I was too mesmerized by Jacob’s hip-checks. I can tell you, however, that Scotty did appear to dig the evening’s first musical guest…

Adam Lambert. [Cue mass hysteria!] I don’t know if it’s new gladiatorial arena seating, or if that smoky vapor I saw wafting down from the rafters before the show is laced with some military-grade psychological stimulant, but the Idoldome audience this season is quite trigger happy with the wild cheering. Should Steven Tyler or Jennifer Lopez merely glance at the audience behind them, for example, the entire place erupts as if they’re expecting the judges to, I don’t know, launch into an impromptu concert or make them a pancake breakfast. And whenever anyone merely said Adam Lambert’s name — be it Cory before the show, or Ryan during the show — the audience fell into spasms of happiness.

During Adam’s performance, I observed Lauren, Ashthon and Naima swaying to the music, and Scotty at one point drumming his hands on his thighs to the beat. The contestant who seemed the most subdued, actually, was James “the next Adam Lambert” Durbin. That is, until the show when to commercial break; then Adam made his way to greet the season 10 Idols, doling out hugs to the first row (starting with Lauren), and then moving up to the second row starting with Scotty. Yes, Scotty and Adam hugged happily, but perhaps thanks to the awkward height differential between them with Scotty on the higher bench, it was decidedly more of a one-armed, no-chest-contact, bro sort of hug. Next was James, who was too far for Adam to reach for a hug, so instead Sir Glambert reached out for a handshake. James was having none of it; he scooted off the benches to give Adam a proper two-armed hug. Flashbulbs went off, and Nigel Lythgoe swooped in to take a photo with his smart phone that he kindly waited until the show had aired on the West coast to tweet out. (It is pretty adorbs.) After stepping up into the benches to hug everyone else, Adam glided down to the judges table. He and J. Lo air-kissed, but she did not, unfortunately, did not teach him how to dougie. S. Ty, meanwhile, admired Adam’s necklace.

When exes don’t collide In the ad break after Ashthon and Haley were bottom three’d, the judges huddled for what I presume were their deliberations over whether they would expend their save (deliberations they did not have, by the by, after Ryan told Ashthon to wait for the judges to talk over their decision after her reprise of “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”). The crew trucked in those giant white screens and Skylar Grey’s grand piano, Stefano blew kisses to the audience, and Julie “The Girl From The Top 24 With All Those Party Dresses” Zorrilla jumped up to greet the judges. With about 50 seconds to go, Debbie the Stage Manager began calling for Ryan to go to his mark. No Seacrest. Debbie’s voice became rather insistent: “Twenty seconds, Ryan Seacrest! I don’t know where the hell you are!” With maybe eight seconds to go, Ryan raced in and took to his mark, to the audience’s audible relief/amusement.

So maybe it was all that hubbub that distracted everyone from the sight of Diddy Dirty Money stepping center stage. Then again, the same Idoldome audience that went bananas for a Stefano t-shirt barely managed a rote round of applause whenever DDM’s name was mentioned. The audience’s indifference to DDM’s slide show aside, though, it wasn’t until I noticed J. Lo’s head bopping along to “Coming Home” that I even remembered that she was once rather famously an item with a man named Puff Daddy who resembled quite closely the man performing in front of her on stage. When he finished the song and we were in our final ad break, however, Puff Diddy Dirty Daddy Money Combs did not linger; he briskly left the stage with not much more than a cursory wave to no one in particular. I can’t say I blame him — this is one of those times when being famous really is a net negative. Would you like to perform your hit song on national television while your wildly famous ex with her own hit song watches from 15 feet away?

No, really, I’m asking. And while I’m at it, how did you feel about last night’s outcome? Were you as unexpectedly happy to see Adam Lambert back in the Idoldome sporting a dashing (and sensible!) haircut? And is anyone surprised to learn that Steven Tyler was the judge who lingered longest inside the Idoldome after the show, handing out hugs and high fives (but no pancakes) to the throng of well-wishers?

Read more:

‘American Idol’ Central

‘American Idol’ recap: Lady Sings the Blues

‘American Idol’ singer Casey Abrams says he’s ‘feeling better’ after second hospital visit

‘American Idol’ on the scene for the Top 13: Jimmy Iovine cheers Stefano, sits for Scotty

‘American Idol’ behind the scenes: ‘Idol’ coaches dish on the Top 13 — EXCLUSIVE

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