Michael Becker / FOX
Scotty McCreery's deep baritone has so much more texture when heard live in the studio than on TV.
Wednesday night, I had the chance to attend the live taping of "American Idol," and as much as fun as the show looks on TV, it's an even wilder, energized ride in person. Considering how well crafted and carefully produced it is, the show pulses with organic energy in person.
With a bird's-eye view from just a couple of rows behind the judges, here are some of the things you don't get to see on TV:
1. The stage is much smaller than you realize. Think something a little smaller than your high-school stage, a little larger than your roomy surburban living room.
2. There's a lot of care put into the placement of those Coca Cola cups -- logos out, straws bent toward the judges, who then promptly move them out of their way.
3. There is a goofy pre-show warm-up, which consists of group dances, but even the celebs in the audience participate. Tonight's lineup included Penny Marshall, Lorraine Bracco and Brad Garrett and Marc Anthony, of course.
4. That first note the contestants must hit is really tough, so they deserve far more credit than they get when they do, and even when they don't, hit it. Why? The audience is still clapping and cheering when they begin their song, which makes it next to impossible for them to hear themselves.
5. The sound of the vocals in the studio are so much bigger and richer than they come across on TV. Scotty's deep baritone? Oh so much richer. You can really hear the texture in their voices. Now, are they better in the studio than on TV? Mmmm, not really, just richer.
6. The performers can see what you see on TV. There is actually a monitor of what is being aired into your living room right in their field of vision. It requires tremendous focus for each singer to not be distracted.
7. Commercial breaks are very chaotic. The show warmers are giving away swag. Everyone's makeup is being touched up. The musicians are tuning their instruments. The celebrities are trying to say hello to the judges. And it's all happening at the same time.
8. Ryan Seacrest looks like he's having the time of his life -- with the cameras rolling, during the commercials. He even cracks jokes with the judges during commercials if there's time. What a great gig!
9. The first row where you see the family after the performances? They rotate each singer's family into that position as each contestant sings -- equal opportunity cheering for your loved one!
10. Steven and Randy seem to have this cute little secret fist bump that they do off camera. It's quite sweet.
Do you have questions about what happens during the taping? Please join me and our "American Idol" correspondent, Craig Berman, during our live chat at 3:30 ET on Thursday and ask!
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