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‘American Idol’ Behind the Scenes

[IMG:L]It was another action-packed night on American Idol as the top 11 contestants took the stage to sing their hearts out for America. Hollywood.com had the best seat in the house to catch all the behind-the-scenes excitement firsthand–from the celebs you didn’t see hiding in the audience to the secret tricks of the Idol staff. AI never disappoints!

Here’s what you might have missed…

[IMG:R]Leaders of the Pack: It was Beatles night part II, as the Idol hopefuls dipped back into the LennonMcCartney songbook to try their luck once more. Hands down, the crowd favorite was David Archuleta, who received a standing ovation for his brilliant version of “Long and Winding Road” (which judge Simon Cowell raved was “master class”). Even during the commercial break, people continued to cheer for the 16-year-old talent! Other studio-audience favorites included Jason Castro (cheered on by a group of “Dreadheads” in the mosh pit), Carly Smithson and David Cook (even though the judges told him he seemed a bit “smug” tonight during his rockin’ performance of “Day Tripper”).

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[IMG:L]Posh Guest List: Just two minutes before the live show began, none other than Victoria Beckham dashed into the studio with her three little boys in tow (and two bodyguards) to jump into their seats. She even let the smallest one come dressed as Buzz Lightyear and spent much of the show holding him in her lap. Too bad the gang left just after Carly performed… Ricki Lake caught some of the show, but made an early exit as well. Not to worry–Ricki was racing over to the studio literally next door to support her good buddy Marissa Jaret Winokur on Dancing with the Stars! Other celebs in attendance were Rumer Willis, Sex and the City’s Willie Garson and everyone’s favorite love-to-hate-them couple, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

[IMG:L]Rock ‘N’ Roll Nigel: Not only does producer Nigel Lythgoe have his hand in every aspect of Idol, but during Tuesday night’s Beatles show, Nigel parked himself only a few feet away from the crowded mosh pit and danced and sang along to every single performance. The man has some serious moves!

Set Secrets: To make sure no info gets leaked during the show, the Idol staff doesn’t allow any electronic devices into the studio–that includes phones, cameras, BlackBerrys, Palm Pilots and Sidekicks. No texting or early voting allowed! And if you’re wondering why no seat ever looks empty in the studio, even though some people (like celebs) might leave early during the show, here’s the trick: They have plenty of seat fillers on hand to sit in a seat if someone gets up and doesn’t make it back before the commercial break ends. Gotta love television magic.

Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll have more sightings, secrets and scorecards hot from the American Idol set.

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