Imagine that you were one of American Idol's top thirteen finalists — all of them young, still relatively new to appearing on live TV, and completely terrified — stepping out onto the stage of the Kodak Theatre last night for the first time ever. Ryan Seacrest calls your name, the lights go up, and you think to yourself, "I hope I've picked the right song!" The band kicks in, you open your mouth to sing, and then — holy shit! It's a barn-sized image of your face on a humongous, upside-down flat-screen television sticking out of the floor!
Did Idol producers just think this season's contestants looked too comfortable performing in front of 25 million people? We can't think of any other possible reason for this hilarious innovation — the screen looked awful on television, since Fox's cameras couldn't seem to find a good viewing angle, and nobody in the Kodak Theatre (besides the singers and judges) could even see it.
But while nerves definitely factored into most of last night's performances, there were no clear train wrecks or onstage freak-outs, despite producers' best efforts (it was Michael Jackson night, even!). Everybody sang well enough, and the night was marred by only occasional pitchiness, so we'd imagine it'll be the two most boring contestants eliminated tonight — Jorge Nuñez (who did "Never Can Say Goodbye") and Jasmine Murray ("I'll Be There").
Depending on how you heard it, Adam Lambert's performance of "Black or White" (see below) either cured the world of hatred or set back race relations by decades (the judges loved it). And you know who honestly sang pretty great last night, even though he got his first-ever half-negative feedback from Simon? Scott MacIntyre, who presumably was the contestant least distracted by the giant TV at the bottom of the stage.
Here's Adam Lambert, who Simon said was in "a totally different league" than the other finalists. We'll certainly agree with that much.