Days after spending a few hours behind bars after a judge ruled she stole a designer necklace and violated her probation, Lindsay Lohan was embraced by the audience of The Tonight Show with a standing ovation. Lohan taped an interview with Jay Leno after yesterday’s show, and the segment will air tonight. According to the Associated Press, the host reportedly asked Lohan about her legal troubles, her time in jail, and what she’s learned from it all, as well as her role in an upcoming John Gotti film.

But about that standing ovation. What does it represent exactly? Is she truly beloved despite all her mistakes? (Or because of them?) Or is a standing ovation just something you do when a celebrity graces you with his or her presence? Watch a short ovation-free clip below.

There’s no denying that many people are still rooting for Lohan: among the herd of celebrities whose troubled personal lives overshadow their work, Lohan is one with actual talent. So maybe that standing ovation was just the fans’ way of saying that they like her, they really really like her, and that they hope she can get her legal woes behind her and get back to work. (Last week, a judge reduced Lohan’s charge from felony grand theft to a misdemeanor and sentenced her to 120 days in jail and 480 hours of community service. She appealed the ruling and posted $75,000 bail. A pretrial hearing has been set for May 11.)

That said, last night’s reception has to go down as one of the cheapest standing ovations since the last presidential State of the Union address. Even Charlie Sheen had to exhort Jimmy Kimmel audience to get up, and he came with free t-shirts.

So does a standing ovation mean anything anymore? And do you think Lohan’s warm welcome represented anything more than reverence for an ailing celebrity?

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