Michael Becker / FOX
Bruno Mars' "Idol" performance was pretaped, which disappointed the audience.
I attended the "Idol" elimination taping on Thursday and have a few things to share from the experience:
1. There was an unusual amount of conferring among executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, Ryan Seacrest and one of the producers during the first commercial break. It was enough that even the "Idol" contestants seemed confused as to what was going on. It made me wonder if the group decided to make a last-minute change in announcing the bottom three (a phrase Ryan didn't utter tonight), which ended up being Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreery.
2. During one of the breaks, the crowd warmer compared rocker James Durbin to "Twilight" hunk Taylor Lautner. This did not get a big audience reaction.
3. The ushers each carried a small plastic cup. This is for your gum. If they catch you chewing gum, they'll ask you to spit it out on the spot. This doesn't even happen at Oprah tapings!
4. The audience was definitely disappointed that Bruno Mars was pretaped and not live. After the taped performance, the crowd warmer apologized to the audience and then said, "Don't go telling people on Facebook and Twitter that it was taped. You can say you saw Bruno Mars -- you don't have to say you saw him on a screen." I think this was meant to be a joke.
5. The audience seemed surprised to see that Jacob was safe, but people weren't as surprised to see Casey get eliminated.
All in all, the live "Idol" experience did not disappoint. It will be interesting to see how the Top 5 contestants handle the jump from this cozy studio to the Nokia Theatre when the finals roll around.